Banana Cherry Pecan Cake

Far too often I buy fresh fruit with every intention of eating it as a snack or on my cereal, but then I see that same fruit in the bowl a week later – soft, brown and sad.

In most cases this means a silent curse and a trip to the trash for the mealy apple or pear, but not so for the banana.  For the banana, there is a chance at redemption in the form of baked goods, which do better with overripe bananas.

This weekend I had a few (okay, five) overripe bananas on my counter, so I made it up to them by throwing three into the batter for this cake, which also has dried cherries and toasted pecans.  As you should know by now, I like my cakes dense, studded with nuts and dried fruit, and sans frosting.

This cake is dense and moist and not too sweet.  It would be fine with a cream cheese glaze or generous dusting of powdered sugar, but I left it as-is.  If it looks more like a slice of muffin, I won’t feel so bad when I eat it for breakfast all week.

I also know bananas and cherries aren’t very Christmassy, hence, the snowflake napkin.

See what I did there?  Instant holiday cheer.

Banana Cherry Pecan Cake
Adapted from Bundt Classics by Dorothy Dalquist (2003)

1 3/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour a 10-12 cup Bundt or tube pan, or generously spray with baking cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the bananas, eggs, and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to batter until combined.  Fold in the dried cherries and pecans.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, then bake for 70-80 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Print Version

cherry pecan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Cherry Pecan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

If there was ever a perfect cookie for me, this is it.

These gifts from heaven are chewy, brown sugary, the size of hamburgers, and loaded with tart dried cherries, toasted pecans, oats, and chocolate chips.

cherry pecan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Truth be told, I would have liked these just fine without the chocolate chips, but since I was bringing them to a picnic, I thought I should be courteous and include them…since most people seem to like chocolate.

Did you know that?

 Bakers and lunch ladies agree that the ice cream scoop delivers consistent perfect portions, though I prefer using mine for cookie dough versus mashed potatoes.

The picnic was with some of my favorite Boston food bloggers (and ladies in general)…Fiona from A Boston Food Diary and Jen from Beantown Baker.  We met up in a Brookline park last week, along with Jen’s lovely friend Katie, to enjoy the late summer sunshine. 

Naturally, there was A LOT of delicious food.  This doesn’t even include the desserts.

We washed it all down with Jen’s homemade Blueberry Lemonade, which I am sure will be making an appearance on her blog sometime soon.

During our lunch there was a squirrel that wouldn’t stop coming right up to the table.  It would approach, then rock back onto its haunches like a meerkat and watch for any indication that it was going to be fed.  At first we laughed, but then the laughter got a little nervous, until Fiona and Katie started scooting away.

“Excuse me, ladies.  Care to share?”

Naturally, I befriended the squirrel and gave in after an hour and threw it some Maple Pear Tea Bread, which it thoroughly enjoyed.

I wasn’t about to share these cookies, though…they were too good.  Make some yourself and see!

Cherry Pecan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1 cup dried tart cherries, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup good quality chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli) or 4 oz. of chopped bittersweet chocolate
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), slightly softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In another medium bowl, mix together dried cherries, toasted pecans, oats, and chocolate chips.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary.
  • On low-speed, slowly add the flour mixture until just combined.  Then turn off the mixer and fold in the oat/cherry mixture with a rubber spatula.
  • Using a scoop or measuring cup, divide the dough into 16 even portions.  Form each portion into a ball, then place it on the cookie sheet and lightly flatten it with your palm or the bottom of a glass to 1 inch thickness.  Place the balls 2 1/2 inches apart on the cookies sheets.  I could only fit 6 of each on mine, so I had to re-use a cookie sheet once it had cooled for the final 4 cookies.
  • Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, then remove the baking sheets and rotate them front to back and top to bottom.  Continue to bake until the edges are golden brown 8-10 minutes longer.  It’s okay if they look a tad underbaked in the middle.
  • After a few minutes, transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield:  16 large, delicious cookies.

Print Version

Washington Tribute: Dark Chocolate Cherry Scones

In honor of President’s Day (and because I am a total history nerd), I decided to pay tribute to our first president by adding cherries and bittersweet chocolate chips to my latest batch of scones. 

You remember why we associate cherries with Washington, right?  In 1800 author Parson Weems spread the tale to America’s youth that a hatchet-happy young George chopped down his father’s cherry tree (which was bad), but then confessed to it (which was good) and was rewarded for his honesty.

The story is total baloney…but it turns out Washington actually did enjoy cherries, so I stand by calling it a tribute.

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