banana pecan quinoa cake

banana pecan quinoa cake | the vanilla bean blog
banana pecan quinoa cake | the vanilla bean blog
banana pecan quinoa cake | the vanilla bean blog
banana pecan quinoa cake | the vanilla bean blog

‘Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.’ – Mark Twain

(I ran into these words by Mr. Twain this week. They were much needed after some unkind voices from the past spoke loud and clear unexpectedly. Letting go is never an easy task, aye?)

good to the grain | kim boyce

Banana Pecan Quinoa Cake
adapted from Good To The Grain by Kim Boyce

I didn’t stray much from the original recipe – I used pecans instead of walnuts, and added cacao nibs as an option (I loved them in there). I think a tablespoon or two of bourbon would be nice here, too. The quinoa is noticeable, but not overwhelming, and it pairs nicely with the bananas and pecans.

2 cups pecans, toasted
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup cacao nibs (optional)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
3 ripe bananas (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Butter or grease a 9-inch round cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment.

In a food processor, pulse 1 cup of the toasted pecans for about 15 seconds. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, and cacao nibs if using. Set aside.

In a bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup sugar together until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.  Add the bananas and mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds (batter may appear to be a bit curdled at this point). Add the eggs and mix until combined (be sure to scrape down the sides as needed). Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined.

Add the ground pecans and the flour  mixture to the standing mixer bowl and mix on low until just combined. Scrape down the sides again, and finish stirring the batter until well combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the top, and then sprinkle the remaining cup of pecans over the sugar.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack (remove the parchment from the bottom) to finish cooling. Move to a serving platter and slice and serve at room temperature.
banana pecan quinoa cake | the vanilla bean blog


  • Reply
    Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Dear Sarah,
    I just baked your recipe and the cake turned just perfect. My only question is: do you think reducing the sugar

  • Reply
    Monday, July 21, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    This was delicious! We loved how dense and flavourful the cake was.

  • Reply
    Tad Davis
    Friday, July 18, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Ingredients list “baking powder.” Instructions say “baking soda.” ???

    • Reply
      Friday, July 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Ah! Thanks for catching that. It is baking powder, the ingredient list is right.

      • Reply
        Tad Davis
        Friday, July 18, 2014 at 5:48 pm

        You’re welcome. I assumed correctly and the cake is great! Thanks for sharing.

        • Reply
          Monday, July 21, 2014 at 10:06 pm

          I’m so glad it turned out for you!

  • Reply
    Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 4:27 am

    This cake looks very tasty! I must to try it, thanks!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Your pictures are stunning and this cake looks just fabulous, I can’t wait to try it. I have not yet done any baking with quinoa flour, can I find it at a typical market (where all the Bob’s Red Mill Flours are perhaps)? I am so happy to have stumbled upon your beautiful blog, looking forward to reading back through your previous posts.

  • Reply
    Mary Ellen
    Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 10:07 am

    So glad to have found you and voted for you on Saveur!

  • Reply
    Friday, March 28, 2014 at 4:27 am

    Quinoa is the flour in my arsenal that gets used the least frequently. So, I appreciate this little recipe and the gorgeous photos! Especially the first one and that sweet plate 🙂

  • Reply
    Brian @ A Thought For Food
    Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

    A quote we should all live by. Thank you for sharing. Now, as for this cake. I’m smitten. Seriously, as soon as I saw it yesterday I could just imagine how wonderful it smelled while it was baking. An inspired recipe… one I hope to try soon.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    I am loving your use of quinoa flour the pecan are perfect. I bet this takes amazing and it is just gorgeous!

    • Reply
      Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      Thank you so much Tieghan!

  • Reply
    Nickie Gorsky
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Has anyone noticed how expensive QUINOA is right now? I have taken it off of my weekly shopping list and have gone back to plain old wonderful rice. Anyone know what has caused the price hike? I am assuming that is is economics…demand is higher than supply. So, I will use rice flour because I never let one of your recipes go untested! Thanks for the great blog…Nickie

  • Reply
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Sarah, this cake is calling my name… Beautiful pictures!

  • Reply
    Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Absolutely beautiful! I can only imagine how amazing this cake tastes. I’ve been dying to start baking with quinoa. This is just the recipe to make it happen!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Can I simply subsitute the quinoa flour for all purpose flour? I love quinoa but I find the flour quite strong tasting.

    • Reply
      Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 9:57 am

      Hi Jennifer – I’m sure that would work just fine. The quinoa is subtle here, but it is noticeable. Let me know how it works for you!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 5:16 am

    Gluten free!!!!!! Thanks

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    I have that cookbook – the olive oil chocolate chunk cake is delicious! I haven’t tried any of the quinoa recipes – this has got me intrigued though. Looks lovely!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Oh, Sarah. This is just the most beautiful cake, accompanied by a beautiful quote.

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    The idea of a quinoa cake is so intriguing! This looks lovely.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    This is such a great cookbook, one of my favorites for sure. Beautiful cake!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Gorgeous. I love the quote, too. Forgiveness is a hard thing to master, and I’m not sure that anyone ever truly does, but we can all aspire to do it better.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Hi there, if we wanted to omit the all purpose flour for gluten intolerance, is there something else you would recommend in its place?

    • Reply
      Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 9:56 am

      Hi Beth! I would think a all-purpose gluten flour blend would work (like Bob’s or cup-4-cup), but I haven’t tried it, so I can’t guarantee 100% success. 🙂 If you try it, let me know!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Hey Sarah the pics u post are just amazing n mark twain words are really helpful for peace of mind thanks n keep going on.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Beautiful images! And “Good to the Grain” is one of my absolute favorite cookbooks 🙂

  • Reply
    Rochelle @ Oh So Sweet Baker
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Such beautiful photos and the cake looks gorgeous. Love all the textures

  • Reply
    Iris - Writer/Photographer
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 10:15 am

    This looks interesting… My mom would like this!
    Country Girl’s Daybook ~ recently: How personal is too personal?

  • Reply
    Sini | my blue&white kitchen
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Lovely quote, Sarah. Perfect at this very moment. I fell in love with this cake instantly. I saw it on Instagram and was like “I need to make that!”. I’m sure it tastes as lovely as it looks.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 8:36 am

    This cake is absolutely gorgeous. I am loving the addition of quinoa and your choice for pecans! Oh my word. YUM. What a gorgeous book!

  • Reply
    Kate @ Veggie Desserts
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 6:48 am

    This looks utterly divine. Beautiful words; beautiful cake.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Really lovely Sarah, I have a bag of quinoa flour in my pantry and haven’t yet come up with a use for it. I think this might be it.

  • Reply
    Sarah | The Sugar Hit
    Monday, March 24, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Beautiful pictures as always, Sarah. And that quote, I’m so struck by it. Powerful words.

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