Many years ago, when I first started collecting recipes, I allowed my obsessive compulsive tendencies to run wild and began to organize the recipes by type: entrees in one folder, desserts, vegetables, and appetizers their own folders. As the collection grew, I began to divide the recipes into subsets of those categories, separating the chicken recipes from the fish recipes in the entree folder, and clumping together the cakes, pies, cookies and so on in the dessert folder. What can I say — I like to create order in a world driven by chaos.
But then my collection grew. And grew. And grew. And before I knew it, dividing desserts among cakes, pies, cookies and custards didn’t really do the job. “Cake,” for example, could describe any number of recipes — layer cake, cheesecake, coffee cake, fruit cake. Imagine having to sift through a disorganized pile of all of the above. Perish the thought! So I started grouping those recipes together as well.
(If you’re wondering, no I don’t group my underwear by color. I’m not *that* crazy…or at least I’d like to think I’m not…)
Needless to say, I have amassed a rather large and unwieldy recipe collection. I think it’s safe to say I will probably never get to half the recipes in those folders, as organized as they may be. But one sub-subset that I love and have yet to bulk up with recipes is the “snack cake” section.
Ah yes, the snack cake: perfect for when you want a nosh of something at, say, 3:30pm, when dinner is hours away but your stomach gets the rumbles. In my opinion, a good snack cake should be more substantial than a coffee cake, less sweet than a cupcake but less wholesome than a granola bar. I like snack cakes with some texture: maybe some nuts or bits of chocolate, or some oats or dried fruit.
I have a handful of these recipes, but recently I decided I wanted something new and merged a few recipes to come up with my own: chewy banana-oat snack cake with coconut. I basically threw together three of my favorite ingredients — bananas, oats and coconut — and hoped the result would be equal to or greater than the sum of their parts. It was.
Chewy, sweet and filling, this cake is just the thing when all you need is a little nibble — a smackerel, as Winnie the Pooh might say — to make the afternoon hunger pains go away. But you don’t have to stop at a smackerel. Sometimes my appetite is as big as my recipe collection, and the only way to bring that into order is to turn a small smackerel into a cake-filled afternoon feast.
Chewy Banana-Oat Snack Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 shredded unsweetened coconut
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (from about 3 very ripe bananas)
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
Center rack in the middle of the oven and prehead oven to 350F. Spray an 8″x8″ square pan with non-stick spray or coat with butter.
Combine the first six ingredients in a medium bowl (the flour through the salt). Mix well.
In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugars until the mixture is light and fluffly. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the bananas, yogurt and vanilla, mixing at low speed.
Continuing at low speed, mix in the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear into the batter. To be safe, stop the mixer when there are a few patches of flour left and fold in the remainder by hand.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. In a small bowl, stir together the ingredients for the topping (oats, coconut and brown sugar) and sprinkle the mixture over the cake. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan until it is room temperature or just slightly warm.
Yield: One 8″x8″ cake, enough for several smackerels