Banana Cake for Tu Bishvat
A fruity cake recipe for the birthday of the trees.
This moist banana cake is a tasty way to celebrate Tu Bishvat. Colloquially known as 'the birthday of the trees,' Tu Bishvat was once a tax holiday--and now has become a chance for Jews around the world to think about the ways in which trees, plants, and the fruits of the earth sustain us.
Tu Bishvat is connected to the natural world and to the land of Israel. Many people celebrate the holiday by attending a Tu Bishvat Seder, a practice with origins stemming from the Kabbalists of 15th century Safed. Today, it can be a chance to learn about environmentalism and Judaism. At Tu Bishvat Seders, the consumption of fruits, nuts and wines are symbolically understood to create a spiritual journey linking people to the land of Israel. Many of those fruits have connections to the traditional "seven species" found in Deuteronomy 8:8. Wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates--the actual word used is honey, but scholars believe the biblical honey mentioned is a syrup made from dates rather than the honey from bees--are all traditionally associated with the land of Israel.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and your mixture of dried fruits, nuts and chocolate. Set aside.
*I like to use a varied mixture of: pecans, golden raisins, cranberries crystallized ginger, chopped dates, chocolate chips or odd ends of chocolate bars that I chop up into chunks. Each time I make the recipe I vary the exact proportions, but the key is you want a total of 2 cups of treats, all roughly the same size, though the crystallized ginger chunks can be made pretty small.
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