Plantain Cacao Bread

My guilty pleasure is definitely making breads that should really be called cakes. In the last few months, I've spent a lot of time mastering recipes by great chefs like Deb Perelman and Yotam Ottolenghi. In the process, it's renewed my desire to experiment once again. With that, here is my recipe for plantain cacao bread. 

While plantain is a food that I grew up eating regularly, I've only recently been introduced to cacao.  Cacao (pronounced "cu-COW") refers to the Theobroma cacao tree from which cocoa is derived, and is used when referring to unprocessed versions of the cacao bean. Cacao is the purest form of chocolate, and it is much less processed than cocoa powder or chocolate bars, and contains a large amount of antioxidants like flavanols. 

In this recipe, I used overripe plantain, which is quite sweet, and balanced it with the slightly bitter, rich cacao. The result: one of the most delicious breakfasts (or, let's be honest, desserts...) that I've made in a while. I used applesauce and vegetable oil instead of butter so that I could pretend I was being healthier. Enjoy! 

Plantain Cacao Bread

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Yield: 1 8 x 4-inch loaf

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 over-ripe plantains, mashed
1 cup raw cacao nibs
1 tbsp brown sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon for topping and slivered almonds (for topping, optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together, and set aside. 
  2. In a separate bowl or stand mixer, whisk eggs then add oil, applesauce and vanilla. Mix until combined. Add sugars and continue to mix until smooth.
  3. Add the flour mixture in batches to make it easier to mix. Fold in the mashed plantains and cacao nibs, and pour into a lightly greased 8 x 4-inch loaf pan.
  4. Optional: Top batter with sugar/cinnamon/slivered almond topping.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.