You haven’t heard from me in awhile. It’s because I’ve been kitchenless. I’m back now and I want to tell you my little story.
Never live in your house while it’s being renovated. My husband and I are architects and we tell our clients that all the time. Somehow we didn’t heed our own advice and thought an exception would be made in our case since we have so much experience with construction projects.
We began our little journey with our 64 year old ceiling finally failing. Our house was built in 1951, before Hawaii was a State. The ceiling was made out of canec which, interestingly enough, is sugar cane fiber (a standard at the time). So we decided to bite the bullet and get the house fixed. We had the ceiling torn out and replaced, reroofed, put in new wiring (parts of the house had the original knob and tube wiring!) and repainted. Of course, as these things go, when the ceiling came down we discovered that our framing was being chomped on by a horde of termites, so we had the house tented as well.
Figuring that we could handle this since we were architects, we moved the kitchen outdoors (one of the benefits of the good weather here) and have been basically camping out in our house for the past 8 weeks. The kitchen consisted of the following: a 2 burner hotplate, the worlds greatest toaster oven, a gas grille, and lots of plastic bins to store stuff in
What did we cook on you might ask? Our washer and dryer, which are oddly enough located outside the house. (A fun aside: in Hawaii people pay serious money for houses that have some of the major appliances outdoors).
I could go into great detail about what listening to power sanders for 8 hours a day does to the nervous system. However, despite the fact that I would never want to repeat the experience, there were some great moments – like eating dinner under our lychee tree in the yard with family and friends each week, and the bevy of toaster oven cakes, one of which I will share here!
This recipe is a tribute to our grit and noise filled experience. This delicious cake was made in our wonderful Panasonic toaster oven, a gift from our friend David. Warm chunks of this cake cheered us up as we ate dinner in beach chairs outside in the yard. Of course you can also make this cake in a normal oven with a tad less fuss, but for those of you who do not have access to a full oven, I’ve included the toaster oven work around hints. Even if you actually have a kitchen, I think you’ll enjoy this one bowl, dairy free, gluten free cake. It’s a cinch to throw together and is quite yummy.
- 3 cups almond flour (also called almond meal)
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups mashed bananas (make sure they're very ripe)
- 6 Tablespoons ghee melted, also known as clarified butter (see Note), may substitute coconut oil
- 1/2-1 cup sweetener: honey, xylitol, or erythritol (start with the smaller amount and adjust to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup currants (optional)
- If using a conventional oven, preheat it to 350°, or make sure a 9"x9" pan fits in your toaster oven.
- Grease a 9"x9" baking pan with ghee or coconut oil.
- In a large bowl add almond flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir to combine well. A large spatula works well for all the stirring.
- Add eggs, bananas, ghee or oil, 1/2 cup of sweetener, vanilla, and currants if using. Combine well. Bananas vary in sweetness so taste a bit of batter and add more sweetener as required.
- Turn batter into baking pan and smooth top.
- Put in oven or toaster oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes until cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Toaster oven notes:
- • The cake will most likely start to burn on the top after about 15 minutes of cooking. Watch carefully and when the top is nicely brown place a square of tinfoil lightly on top of the cake until cake is finished baking.
- • Toaster oven temperatures are not very accurate nor is the heat even. So the cooking time may vary a lot. Keep your eye on it
- Cake may be eaten at room temperature or hot out of the oven. Keeps covered in the refrigerator for about 5 days (assuming it lasts that long!)
- Ghee: Ghee is clarified butter, meaning that the protein and sugars have been removed. So even though ghee is a dairy product, people with dairy intolerance can generally eat it because it does not contain casein (a type of milk protein) and lactose (milk sugar) which some people find difficult to digest. It can be bought in jars. I prefer the taste of homemade. It's easy to do and I'm planning on explaining how in a future post.