Banana Chocolate Walnut Cake

        From the blog For Love of the Table

2 1/4 (9 oz.) cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons, melted and cooled

1 cup sugar, divided

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/4 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 medium)--see note

2/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (4-oz)

1 cup walnuts (3 oz), toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch square cake pan; set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.  Cream the butter (1 stick) and 3/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in eggs 1 at a time until blended. Combine the bananas, yogurt, and vanilla and add to the creamed mixture alternately with the flour mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Toss together chocolate, nuts, cinnamon, melted butter, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl. Spread half of banana batter in cake pan and sprinkle with half of chocolate mixture.  Spread remaining batter evenly over filling and sprinkle remaining chocolate mixture on top.  Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 30 minutes, then turn out onto rack and cool completely, right side up.

Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine February 2008

Note:  Do not bother making this cake unless you have very ripe bananas...the skins should be well-spotted and the flesh very soft.  If the bananas are just a bit over-ripe the cake will not seem very sweet and will also have a slightly tough texture.