Lowfat Banana Cake recipe

I’ve been cooking my way through Nick Malgieri’s Perfect Light Desserts which I featured in a recent interview, and have had a great time making many of the recipes from the book, including this towering chocolate cake I made for the first Thanksgiving I had. (Yes, we celebrate Thanksgiving twice in Paris. Once on Thursday and the other on the weekend, because some people have to be at work Friday morning.)


Since I’ve been on the subject of leftovers around here, I confess much of this baking was due to a surplus of applesauce I’d made from an apple-picking I did when my friends who live in the countryside complained they had too many apples and didn’t know what to do with them all. So I thought I would be a very good person, and help them out.


Luckily, my benevolence gave me a good excuse to try a rather good selection of cakes and cookies from Perfect Light Desserts, including the Easy Spice Cake (page 86), Holiday Fruitcake (page 75), Oatmeal Cranberry Bars (page 268), Chocolate Rum Cake (shown above, page 22), and my favorite, a batch of Chewy Oatmeal Cookies.

The Easy Spice Cake was a big hit…especially with me, since it was really simple to make, but was even a bigger hit with my French friends, who loved the fragrant spices and toasty crunch of slightly-exotic Texas pecans. (Although I did have a hard time explaining to Parisians the concept of a low-fat dessert, the results certainly won them over.) I added a big handful of chopped dates too, which I’m sure tipped the calorie scale a bit, but the extra fiber had a decidedly healthy ‘effect’ so I’m sure I’ll be forgiven.

Due to many requests from readers, I’m sharing his Banana Loaf Cake. Nick advises mashing the bananas with a fork so they stay a bit chunky, but is especially adamant about using bananas that are so ripe they’re covered with spots. Or even a bit beyond. Because the cake falls into the ‘light’ category, it has less than 300 calories per slice. But if you’re not watching your weight (or if no one’s watching you) perhaps you can sneak in a handful of chocolate chips as well, like I do.

Low Fat Banana Cake
Print Recipe
One 9-inch cake
Adapted from Perfect Light Desserts by Nick Malgieri and David Joachim
2 1/2 cups flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 or 5 large very ripe bananas. Mash, then measure)
One 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan sprayed with vegetable cooking spray coated with fine, dry breadcrumbs or a dusting of flour
1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350ºF (180ºC) degrees.
2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites to break them up, then whisk in the sugar and the brown sugar. Whisk in the butter and vanilla, followed by the mashed bananas.
4. Sift the flour mixture over the banana mixture and thoroughly fold it in. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
5. Bake the cake for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.
6. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then unmold it and cool completely on a rack.

Storage: Keep the cake wrapped in plastic at room temperature after it has cooled. For longer storage, double wrap and freeze for up to a month.

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  • November 28, 2006 7:43am

    David, damn it, why must you professional types make baking look so delicious and easy? It’s just not fair! I thought this davidlebovitz.com joint was to make me feel good about food and not like some insecure lil man who could never bake something so delicious and perfect himself.

    Le sigh.

    But seriously, picking apples and baking them had to be such a fun endeavor. Probably not as fun as what REALLY happened with the chase and the needles,but then again, that kind of stuff happens every weekend. Apples are seasonal!

  • November 28, 2006 8:09am

    What if you did Rum Flambeed Banana filled Chocolate Cake with white chocolate rum sauce? A fusion of both.

  • Henriette
    November 28, 2006 10:25am

    But…But…WHAT happend to the oh so delicious looking super-rich Chocolate Rum Cake? Now that’s the recipe I want! ;-)

    Oh-and I think the Baker’s Edge pan is now oficially on my Christmas wish list…

  • November 28, 2006 10:55am

    Those close-ups look so pretty. Especially the chocolate. But why no picture of the Banana Cake?

  • November 28, 2006 11:29am

    Jeez Luisa…Do I have to do (ie: bake) everything around here?
    ; )

  • JD
    November 28, 2006 11:49am

    Yes, what happened to the Chocolate Rum Cake recipe? Errr, what a tease!!


  • Mel
    November 28, 2006 1:27pm

    Please post the wonderful chocolate rum cake recipe, pretty please?

  • November 28, 2006 1:51pm

    May I have some more, Please? Of the Chocolate Rum Cake recipe.

  • Connie
    November 28, 2006 4:35pm

    I want to hear the real story ……..but the chocolate cake recipe will do or how about both!

  • Elizabeth
    November 29, 2006 2:05pm

    First, thanks to Nick Malgieri and to you for posting the recipe. This evokes a birthday long ago when I requested a beloved banana cake that became the subject of scorn at school the next week–among classmates whose moms baked strawberry pink cakes from mixes and cans. They may have only been practicing to grow up to be Republicans and bankers, but that cake was really, really amazing. I have to try this! Second, what kind of apples are those please? They are beautifully photographed. Third, EVERYONE ELSE, hush. A guy’s got to promote a book for someone gracious enough to submit to an interview. Go buy it and turn to page 22–or you with access to lending libraries, march down and make the lady at the desk order a copy or two!

  • November 29, 2006 3:11pm

    Oh…duh… silly me! ;)

  • Elizabeth
    December 1, 2006 4:30pm

    I found the name of the apples on an earlier recent post. See, I’m a resourceful, close reader even though I do not fit this blog’s single criterion for being a winner.