Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ponderosa Cake | Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free Chocolate Banana Cake

To those who attend the University of British Columbia (UBC), Ponderosa Cake is a well-known treat; I however only had the pleasure of tasting this moist, chocolate chip banana cake once in my pre-gluten-free life.  I was at a barbeque and I found myself amazed that this cake, which by ingredients simply sounded like a glorified banana bread, could taste like so much more.

Once I returned home I promptly Googled the recipe and when I first started experimenting with gluten-free recipe adaptations Ponderosa Cake was at the top of the list.  I'm still not exactly sure how this recipe got its name, and I tend to simply call it chocolate banana cake, but regardless, after many iterations, I am confident that I have this recipe ready for gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free mass consumption.

The last time I made this recipe was at Colin Jack's Celebration of Life; his brother suffers from gluten and dairy in tolerances and I wanted to make sure that there was a treat he could safely enjoy during his time of grief.  I wish that I could share a photo that truly displays the texture and deliciousness of this desert, but instead I have only a snapshot of my Ponderosa Cake taken on this unforgettable day.  But please trust me when I say that this cake, complete with a chocolate chip and brown sugar centre, is absolutley delicious and must be made if you love the combination of banana and chocolate.
ponderosa cake

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free Ponderosa Cake
(Chocolate Banana Cake)

  • 3/4 cups of mashed ripe bananas (approximately 2 large bananas)
  • 1 tsp baking powder  

  •  1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  •  1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup dairy/soy/gluten-free shortening*
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup plain coconut yogurt**

  • Preheat oven to 350F, line (or lightly grease) your baking pan with parchment paper. 
  • In a small bowl, mix together bananas and 1 tsp of baking powder.  Set aside. 
  • In a small bowl mix together cinnamon and brown sugar.  Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (sorghum through cinnamon). Set aside.
  • Cream together the shortening and sugar until well combined.
  • Mixing thoroughly between each addition, add the egg, vanilla and finally the banana & baking soda mixture to the wet ingredients.
  • Alternate adding the dry mixture and the coconut yogurt to the wet ingredients, ending with the coconut yogurt.  The batter should be fairly thick.
  • Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle half of the chocolate chips over the batter then sprinkle half of the cinnamon & brown sugar mixture on top.
  • Repeat the batter, chocolate and cinnamon layers with the remaining ingredients.
  • Bake for 40-45minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Allow to cool before cutting and serving.
  • Enjoy.
yield: One 8x8 cake - this recipe can be doubled for a 9x13 cake

* if you are not concerned with 'soy-free' I recommend Golden Crisco.  For those that can tolerate dairy, I find shortening gives a better texture to the final product than butter.
**Original recipe calls for sour cream, I imagine soy yogurt would also work.