If you’ve ever taken a big sniff from a bag of quinoa (grain or flour), there’ll be no doubt as to what you are smelling. To some people it smells like grass or hay or dirt. To me, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) smells like freshly pulled weeds. Appetizing, no? Fortunately, when cooked, that smell is toned down. Still, quinoa does take some getting used to.
So I had my doubts when making this banana walnut cake that uses a mix of quinoa and all-purpose flour. There are some strong flavors going on here. Fortunately, they all work together, with the quinoa and walnut flavors toning down the banana flavor and sour cream adding some sourness. The end result is a moist, homely little cake with big flavor.
The recipe starts off by toasting several cups of walnuts. Some of these walnuts are ground into a coarse meal, while the rest of them get finely chopped to use as a topping on the cake. After the walnuts are toasted, butter and sugar (both granulated and brown sugars) are creamed together. Ripe bananas, eggs, sour cream and vanilla are added to the bowl, followed by the flours, walnut meal, salt and leavening. The thick batter is spread into a nine-inch round cake pan and the chopped walnuts are sprinkled over the top. The cake bakes for 50-60 minutes, then cooled before cutting.
This cake is a great alternative to banana bread. I really liked the quinoa flour in it and thought it added an unusual flavor; the weedy smell completely disappeared. Now, if I could only get the weeds in my yard to disappear as well.