In lieu of pancakes, I bring you something else breakfasty!
Last night, I started to make a cake for someone. I had grand plans of spreading pliable, freshly made ice cream across thick banana bread French toast cake layers coated in magic chocolate-coconut oil shell, chocolate chips, nuts, etc.
…this isn’t my first banana bread French toast rodeo, but this time, unfortunately, I used the most tender, crumbliest vegan banana bread recipe known to man and half of my egg-sogged, meant-to-be-French-toasted layers instantly crumbled.
So then I was like “ugh” freak out *huff huff* wring hands “ugh!” *roll eyes*smash bread with spatula before I was like duh!
Are you picking up what I’m putting down?
French toast banana bread was instantly chunked, layered with cinnamon coconut cream, sliced bananas and chocolate chips and a way-too-involved parfait was born. Or would this be trifle? According to google, this is perhaps not a trifle because there is no custard. Just cake, cream and fruit.
Good ‘nuff for me.
For the sake of ease, I could recommend that you use a sturdier banana bread that won’t fall apart during the French toast process, like this one. But truthfully, this vegan banana bread recipe from Babycakes is so amazingly plush and spiced (no, that tablespoon of vanilla is not a typo) and just all around delicious that I really hope you make it despite its nightmarish reaction to French toast batter. These parfaits could be just as good with simple cubes of banana bread.
You don’t even have to make the parfaits if you just make the banana bread. But seriously, these parfaits are perfect spring party food. Something about blooming flowers and towering sunshine just screams a need for piles of cool, sweet cream over lush cake chunks studded with chocolate chips and banans, no?
This vegan banana bread is incredibly sweet and moist. One of the best I've made!
- For Babycakes' banana bread:
- 3/4 cup spelt flour
- 3/4 cup oat flour*
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/3 cup neutral oil (canola, vegetable, etc.)
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon good quality vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (about 3 large)
- Cinnamon French toast batter
- For the coconut cream:
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 2-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
- dash of vanilla
- dash of cinnamon
For the banana bread:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a standard 13x18" cookie sheet (or loaf pan) well and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, chia seeds (if using), salt and cinnamon. Add oil, maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla directly to the dry ingredients and mix again. Fold in bananas (the smoother the mash, the better).
Pour batter into sheet pan and spread evenly. Bake for 14-17 (40-45 if using a loaf pan) minutes, or until banana bread springs back under your finger (it will feel a tad spongy). Remove from oven and cool completely.
Once the banana bread has cooled, prepare the French toast batter. Cut off squares of banana bread, dip in French toast batter, and fry for two minutes on each side in a lightly greased, preheated skillet over medium heat, until golden.
For the coconut cream:
Place the coconut milk in the fridge overnight (do NOT use milk that has not been thoroughly chilled).
Remove the milk from the fridge and turn the can upside down. Remove the lid. Use a spoon to scrape off the solid coconut mass at the top (reserve the liquid at the bottom for another use).
Using a hand mixer, beat the coconut cream until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and continue to whip until combined.
Cut banana bread French toast slices into cubes. Layer cubes with coconut cream, sliced bananas, chocolate chips and repeat as desired. I layered some into glass mason jars and some into a 6" springform pan. With the pan version, I layered the banana bread, bananas and chocolate chips and popped it into a preheated 350 oven for about 10-15 minutes to get everything warm and melty, then topped it with the coconut cream like frosting. Delish.
*The original Babycakes recipe called for 1.5 cups of Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour, specifically. I used half whole spelt flour and half oat flour (ground from rolled oats), but use gluten-free flour if necessary, obviously. I also subbed chia seeds for xantham gum and maple syrup for the agave, with delicious results. I don't think the chia seeds make a big difference if you want to leave them out, though.
I originally baked the banana bread in a cookie sheet in order to make flat cake layers of French toast. This method will take much less baking time, but you will end up with thin layers that crumble easily if you try to make French toast with them. As an alternative, you can bake the banana bread in a loaf pan, which will take longer, but yield thicker slices that may stand up better to being dipped and fried.