Updated: May 15, 2018
If plantains had a #1 fan, I'm pretty sure it would be me! I could (and probably some day will) write a whole book on plantain treats, filled with all the delicious grain-free cakes, pancakes and muffins a GF real-foodie could ever imagine! This versatile fruit provides a great texture for baking without the use of processed flours - and it makes grain-free living a whole lot easier.
When plantains are available, I use them daily. We stock up, keep them on the counter until they reach the desired ripeness and then store them in the fridge until we're ready to use them.
If you aren't familiar with plantains, they are available at most larger grocery stores (Superstore, Walmart, No Frills, Sobey's, sometimes Co-op). If you're living in the Dauphin area, we buy them at No Frills. They carry them at Co-op too but for about triple the price.
They look like a large banana and range in color from green to yellow to black. When they are green, they are very starchy, not sweet, and great for savory dishes. They can be blended up into plantain wraps or used as a topping for shepherd's pie. We enjoy frying them up like hashbrowns or using them in stews.
Like a banana, the more yellow (and then black) plantains get, the sweeter they get. This recipe can be made with plantains that are newly yellow (for a Pancake Texture) or yellow with black spots (for a Cheesecake Texture).
Pancake Texture: When made with newly yellow plantains (plantains that have just turned from green to yellow), the cake has a fluffier, pancake-type texture, more cakey/grainy. This version has a bit more height to it. Once it sits overnight in the fridge, the flavors really meld and it gets a bit denser - SO GOOD. At this ripeness, the cake is sweet enough for me, but if you're more like my hubby - you might want to drizzle it with maple syrup!
Cheesecake Texture: When made with plantains that have been yellow for a while, with a few black spots, the cake is a totally different texture - more like a cheesecake-type texture. It takes longer to bake and doesn't stay puffed up once it's cooled; it's smooth and delicious, and a bit sweeter than the fluffy pancake version described above.
Both versions are delicious, but the Pancake Version is probably my fave! The next time I have yellow plantains, I'll snap a few more pics of this version.
Pancake Texture: made with newly yellow plantains
Cheesecake Texture: Made with yellow black spotted plantains
Whichever version you pick, this recipe is really easy!
Five minutes of prep, even with a toddler's help. The blender does all the work.
Lemon Blueberry Cake
*See highlighted areas above^ for the differences in cake texture when using newly yellow plantains or plantains that are yellow with black spots*
1.5 plantains, peeled, cut in quarters (medium-sized, yellow OR yellow with black spots)
1/2 cup coconut oil, plus 1 tsp for greasing the pan
zest of 1 lemon, medium-sized
juice of 1 lemon, medium-sized (approx. 2-2.5 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1 cup blueberries
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Grease a glass pie plate or small baking dish (8x8) with 1 tsp coconut oil.
3. Blend the rest of the ingredients except blueberries in a high-powered blender** until smooth.
4. Pour batter in the greased baking dish.
5. Evenly sprinkle blueberries on top.
Pancake Version (Yellow Plantains): Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the middle is slightly firm to the touch, evenly browned, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cheesecake Version (Yellow with Black Spots): Bake for 37-45 minutes, or until the middle is slightly firm to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
7. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing. Enjoy! Store in fridge.
**You must use a high-powered blender. I use a BlendTec. I've tried this recipe with a regular blender and it didn't turn out well. The batter needs to be totally smooth.
Cheesecake Texture Version, ready for the oven