There is a cafe in West Vancouver called Trafiq. They serve this cake/bread thing called Chunky Monkey, and it is, I kid you not, a little slice ‘o’ heaven.
I have been obsessed with reproducing the recipe, and, while more research is required (meaning, I need to go there and eat lots more of it–all in the name of research–I hate my life!), this is pretty darn good.
It is, in essence, a bread pudding (cake) with roasted bananas (jungle monkeys) and dark chocolate (love).
Bread Pudding is a very humble dessert. It’s essentially a way to use up stale, left-over bread, but it also makes a beautiful blank canvas on which you can paint many yummy flavors.
I made this from a baguette I got at PICA. Because their stuff is so good and so reasonably priced, it wasn’t day-old when I got it, so I left it on the counter overnight and made the recipe the next day. Erin at PICA pointed out to me that stale croissants (also available at PICA) also make excellent bread pudding.
Jungle Monkey Love Cake
- 3 bananas
- 1 baguette, day-old if possible. Dry bread absorbs custard more easily
- melted butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup whipping cream (plus more for garnish)
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 cup good quality dark chocolate bar, chopped
- Peel the bananas and slice them length-wise in half. Line a cookie sheet with parchment, and place the bananas, cut-side down, on the cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter. Place in a hot oven (400 degrees) for about 10 minutes, or until the bananas are caramelized. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Slice into chunks.
- Cut the baguette into 1 inch chunks, and place in a large bowl.
- Make the custard: crack the eggs in a bowl and beat. Add the milk and cream and sugar and again, whisk until combined. Finally, add the vanilla and nutmeg, and again, whisk to combine.
- Pour the custard over the bread chunks, and stir well until combined. Add the chocolate chunks and mix.
- Place a dinner plate over the custard/bread mixture to weight it, and cover the entire bowl with saran. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (I left mine overnight) to allow the bread to soak up all the custardy goodness.
- Pour the custard mixture into a parchment-lined, buttered standard loaf pan, and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until the top is golden, and the middle is set.
- Allow to cool, but slice and serve warm with whipped cream and a sprinkling of icing sugar and grated chocolate.