Next time you’re browsing the produce section casually, as one does, I hope you pause just a little longer by the large banana-looking fruit that isn’t a banana. Whether they be green or very ripe and sweet with black spots, plantains are are worth that extra look. If you haven’t discovered them, now is the time. Really. Plantains are the only fruit I know of where you can use them at practically any stage of ripeness and make something delicious.
When green, you can fry for tostones or plantain chips or boil to make mofongo (a Puerto Rican mashed plantain dish). When they’re ripe and sweet, you can fry them up to make maduros (which is actually a “clean” Whole30 approved dish), or you can make this cake with fresh apples and pumpkin (optional) and feel all fall festive without gluten or refined sugar.
Oh, and no mixing bowl either. I mixed the batter in the blender! Since we purchased a refurbished Vitamix a few months ago I’ve experimented using it to make a variety of things, but it wasn’t until I decided to experiment with plantains as a flour substitute that I decided to give it a whirl in cake baking! As much as I love plantains, the though of chunks in my cake bothered me, especially since I really wanted the crunchy bites of fresh apple to shine through! So use your blender or a food processor or something to make the plantains extra smooth.
This recipe took a lot of testing, and I came up with two options for you, one with oil and one without, and both are delicious. Just promise me you’ll do me one favor… DON’T refrigerate this cake. You’ll think it’s a good idea, but the cake is really moist to begin with, and if you do what I did with the last one and refrigerate it, you’ll be very sad the next morning and not at all happy with the texture until it sits out a few hours and dries out. So… don’t. Just leave it at room temperature and eat it within three days when it tastes its best. None of the test cakes lasted any longer than that anyway in our house. So whether you choose to make this with oil or pumpkin, just take my word on the storage.
Paleo Plantain Apple Cake
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup avocado or other neutral-flavored oil or use pure pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large ripe plantains
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups peeled and chopped apples
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9" cake dish or springform pan.
- Place everything except the apples in the blender. Blend until smooth.
- Stir in the apples and pour into your baking dish.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes until the cake is set.
- Allow to cool completely in the pan before removing.
- Slice and serve when completely cool. Store loosely covered at room temperature up to 3 days.