Have you ever had someone rave about a book or movie to you only to be completely let down when you finally read or watched it? This friend (or in my case a family member- you know who you are) means well, but you can’t get back those precious minutes of your life. It’s a hit or miss out there in the review world. We all have our own tastes and interests, but every now and then you’ll encounter something truly magical. Something that’s excellent, across the board, and that all people will love. That’s what today is about. Something excellent. In this case a cookbook: The Clever Cookbook.
Emilie Raffa is the incredibly talented creator of the popular food blog The Clever Carrot. Her work has been featured in Oprah Magazine, Food & Wine, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Food52, and she was a finalist for ‘Best Food Photography’ in the annual Saveur Blog Awards. She is also the author of The Clever Cookbook that is officially released in stores today! I’m honored to have been invited to help her celebrate this happy occasion and to share it with you. This book is stunning. It’s stuffed full of delicious and beautifully photographed recipes. A cookbook deserving of the phrase “drool-worthy.” One of my favorite aspects of this cookbook is how flavorful the dishes are, yet they’re completely stress-free to make. Plenty of pro-tips on planning ahead and short-cuts to simplifying the cooking process. Which I fully appreciate since I tend to be a bit of a lazy cook. We’re all tired after a long day at work, right? Knowing that this book is now a “go-to” resource for me every day is exciting and a relief. I’m looking forward to all the fantastic meals that are in our future, such as Spring Tortellini Minestrone, Make-Ahead Garlic Bread, Market Vegetable Baked Ziti, Asparagus and Goat Cheese Fritatta With A Crispy Rice Crust, or Honey Roasted White Peaches. It’s not often that one comes across a cookbook where they’ll want to make every single recipe. You will with this one.
It took me days to decide on what I wanted to make and share. In the end, the Banana Cloud Cake won. Oh this banana cake. The name says it all. It’s moist, tender, fluffy, and bursting with bananas and crunchy walnuts. It’s also simple and quick to make so you don’t have to wait long to dig in. The perfect snacking cake. You won’t be disappointment when you buy this book for yourself. Don’t just take my word for it, check her out and give her a follow on Instagram, Facebook, or visit her blog at The Clever Carrot. The Clever Cookbook is available in stores and also on Amazon. Not only is she brilliant, but she’s also the sweetest (and funniest) woman you’ll ever meet. A true beauty inside and out. Just like this cookbook.
Banana Cloud Cake
Makes 12 snack squares
1 1/4 cups (156g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
2 very ripe, brown-speckled bananas
1/3 cup (78ml) oil
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1 1/2 tsp (7ml) vanilla
1 heaped cup (117g) walnuts, roughly chopped
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line an 8×8-inch (20 x 20-cm) square baking pan with parchment paper. Leave excess paper to hang over the sides for easy removal.
In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk well to blend.
To a food processor, add all the wet ingredients. Run the processor until the bananas are creamy and smooth. Add the dry ingredients (don’t dump) evenly around the bowl. Pulse in quick, short bursts, only 2-3 times. Resist the urge to over-pulse or the mixture will toughen up and become dry when baked.
Pour all the batter into the lined baking pan. Scatter the chopped walnuts over the top. Bake, on the center rack, for about 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted. The cake will be golden, puffed, and deliciously fragrant.
Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Using the over-hanging parchment paper, transfer the cake to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Dust with powdered sugar, cut into squares, and enjoy!
Recipe reprinted with permission from The Clever Cookbook by Emilie Raffa.