With Christmas just around the corner, there's going to be a lot more sweet treats in my posts, but naturally it's going to be the healthy kind. You must be wondering what a plantain is! As you can see in the pic below, there are several varieties of bananas, one that our kids at home call 'baby banana' is the Lady Finger banana, since they are small in size, then you have the usual Chiquita banana which are found almost everywhere and then the larger green variety is called 'Plantain'.
Plantains are much bigger in size and they tend to ripen up to be really sweet. Plantains can be found in tropical regions of Africa, Asia and South America. The strange thing of this particular fruit is, it's never eaten raw, it's always consumed in a cooked form.
With high levels of Vitamin A, C and B6 , Potassium, Magnesium and Iron, Plantains also they contain far less sugar than bananas! Food for thought, isn't it? Vitamin B6- also called pyridoxine, generates several important neurotransmitters that carry information from one cell of our body to another. A serving of plantains can provide up to 24 percent of your daily amount needed of Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 aids healthy brain function This vitamin in plantains is one of the eight B vitamins that aid in processing food into energy and metabolizing fats. Similar to vitamin A, B6 also helps slow the onset of eye diseases like macular degeneration. It works with B12 to produce red blood cells and cells in the immune system. Boosted levels of vitamin B6 are also linked to prevention or decrease of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Here's a link for more info on Plantains.
My kids love munching on banana chips, how about you? The millions of so called 'banana chips' sold worldwide actually are 'plantain chips' and boy are they addictive. They are easily available for purchase online and in the speciality section of supermarkets everywhere. I thought that making a Plantain cake would be perfect lunchboxes option for the kids since I love indulging them (in every healthy way) and they can easily be cut into bite sized squares. This is not your typically sweet cake, it's wonderful for diabetics or for those who wish to control sugar and you want to make something special for them. Feel free to top the cake with swirls of honey, maple syrup or even for breakfast! So let's get started with the recipe.
2 large really ripe plantains
1/2 cup dairy of choice (almond milk, camel milk, soy milk, oat milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 melted butter or margarine
2 tbsp date syrup
1/3 cup honey
1 cup glutenfree flour
1 .5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp arrowroot or cream of tarter
1 pinch Celtic or Himalayan salt
Preheat your oven at 180°c. Grease a 9x9 inch pan or a cake loaf pan. Now mix together the last four dry ingredients in a large bowl. Peel the plantain and cut them into roundels. Break the eggs and for the sake of convenience and speed, place all the wet ingredients along with the plantain into a blender and blend away until there are no bits remaining to get a smooth creamy texture. Now mix the dry ingredients with the wet one, bit by bit until all of it is well incorporated and no lumps remain. This last step needs to be done with a whisk manually or on with a cake stand blender as the air helps the cake to attain a nice and soft texture.
Ladle the batter on the greased cake tin or the loaf pan. If your loaf pan is small and you have extra batter, go ahead and fill up a few muffin liners as well with the excess batter, and makes for a great on-the-go snack. I topped my cake batter off with a plantain cut lengthwise and placed on the centre of the loaf tin. The cake should take around 35-40 minutes for baking, do the toothpick test to check if it's completely done. Serve warm slices with swirls of honey or like below, topped with some un-sweetened cream cheese, honey and bee pollen.
Tip- The batter needs to be of a typical pouring consistency of a cake batter, so depending on your plantain size and sweetness level, add more honey or dairy to reduce the thickness. If you don't have access to date syrup, then add more honey or maple syrup, but the rich caramel colour of the cake comes from the dark date syrup. If you are baking in a small loaf pan or muffins, the baking time will reduce to 25 minutes. Do a toothpick test to check if it's done.
Below is the same cake baked in a round cake tin and topped off with Pumpkin seeds, crushed Cashews and served with more honey.