For the smoothest frosting, use extra-smooth ricotta cheese.
For the most intense walnut flavor, use walnut oil in the cake and toast the walnuts for garnishing the cake.
If a recipe contains both oil and a sticky ingredient such as honey or molasses, measure the oil first. The small amount of oil left in the cup or spoon will help the honey slide out smoothly.
Barb's Nutrition: The fat found in nuts and seeds is primarily the desirable monounsaturated type. Like other fats, however, it also contributes calories. To get the most out of nuts when using them in baking, finely chop them to distribute their flavor and texture throughout the dough or batter.
Nuts and seeds are even more flavorful when they are lightly toasted before they are combined with other ingredients. Spread them evenly in a pie plate or cake pan and toast in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 7 to 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted and fragrant. The timing varies depending on the type of nuts or seeds, so watch them carefully to make sure they don’t burn.
Makes25 slices (1 slice per serving)
Total Timeunder 1 hour
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionBuffet, Family Get-together
Mealbrunch, dinner, tea
Taste and Texturecreamy, fruity, nutty, sweet
Type of Dishcake
- 1¾ cups (425 mL) whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
- ¾ tsp (4 mL) baking soda
- ½ cup (125 mL) buttermilk
- ½ cup (125 mL) liquid honey
- ¼ cup (50 mL) walnut oil or vegetable oil
- 3 ripe bananas
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup (250 mL) 5% ricotta cheese
- 1½ tbsp (22 mL) honey
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) grated lemon zest
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
- 1½ tsp (7 mL) cornstarch or arrowroot
- ¼ cup (50 mL) chopped walnuts
- Lemon zest, cut into thin strips
- 13- by 9-inch (3.5 L) cake pan, sprayed with baking
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
Cake: In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and baking soda; set aside. In a food processor or blender, purée buttermilk, honey, oil and bananas until smooth; stir into flour mixture just until mixed. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.
Frosting: In a food processor, purée ricotta, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice and cornstarch until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until steaming hot. Remove from heat. Chill.
Spread cold frosting over cooled cake. Sprinkle with walnuts and strips of lemon zest.
2008 Barbara Selley, BA RD