Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread + Tales From Mount Kenya Safari Club

Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread - This elegant Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread is moist & delicious & sure to impress with juicy cherries, bits of chocolate, & a chocolate honey glaze.

This elegant Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread is moist and delicious and sure to impress with juicy cherries, bits of chocolate, and a honey chocolate glaze.

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Take a good look at those fancy Prada sunglasses I’m wearing because it will be the last time you see them without bite marks and scratches.

Those were my brand spanking new sunglasses. . .barely a week old when this photo was snapped.  You can imagine how precious they were because getting your hands on even basic necessities in Kenya was difficult enough and usually were acquired via long weekend trips to Europe or South Africa.

These sunglasses were a splurge during a quick jaunt to Switzerland and, after months of depriving myself of any sort of fashionable niceties, you can see why I would be anxious to wear them at each and every opportunity that presented itself…even if that opportunity was a short trip to the slopes of Mount Kenya where playful monkeys danced from tree to tree all the while curious about any shiny new trinket that caught their eye.

Colobus Monkey at Mount Kenya Safari Club

From the constant threat of terrorist attacks to horrendous traffic jams that transformed a 15 minute commute into a 6 hour nightmare, to the never ending worry of potential car jackings, living in Nairobi had it’s fair share of trials and tribulations.  But in the end these were all just minor inconveniences when you considered that the magnificent Rift Valley could all be yours after just a 1 hour car ride and a quick rendezevous to the Masai Mara was just one bush plane away.

To get away from the hustle and bustle, the Mr. and I found ourselves frequently visiting the Mount Kenya Safari Club (you can find it HERE)  as it was just a few hours drive from Nairobi.   Sure, it’s an award winning resort with magnificently manicured lawns, stunning views of Mount Kenya – the second highest mountain in Africa, and the sweet sounds of lions beckoning you from a distance;  but perhaps my favorite part of sneaking away to this once upon a time playground to movie stars and prime ministers was spending an afternoon at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy and Animal Orphanage (you can visit them virtually HERE and HERE).

Caracal at Mount Kenya Safari Club

Ostrich at Mount Kenya Safari Club

Sykes Monkey at Mount Kenya Safari Club

Marabou Stork at the Mount Kenya Safari Club

The animal orphanage is a neat little place tucked quietly beside the Mount Kenya Safari Club.  Their mission is to provide orphaned, injured, neglected, or abused animals with the care they need to ultimately be released back into the wild.   This conservancy also has a breeding for release program for the endangered Bongos, a type of antelope with a striking reddish-brown coat.  As a matter of fact, during one of my visits I had the pleasure of seeing a baby Bongo nursing peacefully on the conservancy’s grounds.

Any visit to the animal orphanage is a guarantee that you will see various animals such as baby buffalo, caracals, wild cats, pygmy hippos, ostrich, and even a tortoise named Speedy up close and personal.

While some of the animals are safely recovering in enclosures, many of them, such as the bongo and ostrich, roam the grounds freely.  The keepers that lovingly care for the animals will proudly give you a tour of the sanctuary and even ask you to help feed the animals if you so happen to wander through during meal time.  On my last visit I was lucky enough to bottle feed a baby cape buffalo who tragically had lost her mother.  As sad as her story was, it was very comforting to know that she had been spared an equally tragic fate and would soon enough be reintroduced into the wild.

Pygmy Hippo at Mount Kenya Safari Club

Marabou Stork at Mount Kenya Safari Club

Monkey at Mount Kenya Safari Club

Bongo at Mount Kenya Safari Club

 

As you meander your way through the orphanage, giggling at the playful antics of the wildcat kittens, admiring the beauty of the caracals, and wondering how in the world a llama ended up at a conservancy in Nanyuki, you ultimately find yourself in an open area that houses the sanctuary’s monkeys.  Most of the monkeys are in protective enclosures;  however, there always are a couple of Sykes and Colobus monkeys roaming freely and on the ready to entertain visitors.  

As these monkeys jump up on your head and shoulders and clamber about, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all their cuteness and not even notice that they are eyeing up your fancy camera and sparkly new sunglasses.  Don’t let their charm fool you.  This is all in their plan to distract you so that they can effortlessly pull off the greatest heists in monkey history.

And wouldn’t you know it. . .I fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Remember those pristine sunglasses I was wearing?  Yeah. . .

With an ear-to-ear grin plastered across my face, I was in my joyful bliss as I fed the Colobus and Sykes monkeys little bits of bananas.  One of the Sykes monkeys noticed I was heavily distracted and jumped up on my shoulders, making his way to the top of my head.  He was playfully rummaging through my hair as monkeys do. . .when, with the blink of my eye, I found that my world had suddenly became a little bit brighter.  Wouldn’t you know?  That little booger had grabbed my brand new Prada sunnies and excitedly darted up the tree at a speed that would give any cheetah a run for its money.

The keeper looked on in horror as the monkey gleefully played with his new treasure.  All I could do was look up and witness the monkey displaying the exact same joy that I had felt when I had purchased those sunglasses.  I almost felt bad when the keeper finally was able to coax the monkey into dropping my sunnies, now artfully decorated with bites and scratches.

Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread

In remembrance of these cherished days spent at the animal orphanage, feeding monkeys bits of banana, I made you a Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread that is surrounded with an indulgent cloak of chocolate lightly sweetened with honey.  And if that weren’t sexy enough, I decided to bejewel this loaf with a crown of ruby colored cherries.

While this loaf looks quite fancy, I can assure you that it is very easy to make.  And as tough as it may be, I recommend that you allow the loaf to sit for 24 hours before slicing into it because it becomes moister, and more delicious, with age.

ChoChocolate Cherry Banana Bread

In addition I recommend that you make sure that you use bananas that are at their prime squishiness as this will insure your loaf is as sweet and irresistible as can be.  In the event that your baking schedule and your bananas achieving prime squishiness do not align, you can learn how to speed up the ripening process HERE.

Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread

Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread

Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread

Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread

 

Here’s to building up the will power to never wear designer sunglasses around ever curious monkeys.

XOXO-

Lynn

 

Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread

Total Time: 70 minutes

Yield: 8

Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread

This elegant Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread is moist and delicious and sure to impress with juicy cherries, bits of chocolate, and a chocolate honey glaze.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large, very ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • For the Chocolate Glaze
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Spray cooking spray into a bread pan, then coat it with flour. Set aside.
  3. Combine dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl.
  4. Peel the bananas and use a spoon to mash them up. Note: The squishier the bananas the better your bread will taste.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until they are well blended and light in color.
  6. Stir bananas, oil, yogurt, and vanilla into the sugar & egg mixture.
  7. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until well combined.
  8. Fold the pitted cherries and chocolate chips into the batter. Note: The batter will be somewhat thick.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Cool completely, then remove from the pan.
  12. Drizzle with the chocolate glaze (recipe follows) and top with fresh cherries.
  13. For the Chocolate Glaze:
  14. Finely chop the chocolate and place it in a small bowl with the raw honey. Set aside.
  15. Heat the heavy cream & sugar on medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  16. Once dissolved, remove from the heat and pour over top the chocolate and honey.
  17. Stir until the chocolate and honey is fully melted.
  18. Drizzle over top the banana loaf.
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Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread - This elegant Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread is moist & delicious & sure to impress with juicy cherries, bits of chocolate, & a chocolate honey glaze.

28 thoughts on “Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread + Tales From Mount Kenya Safari Club

  • August 5, 2015 at 10:42 am
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    Such beautiful photos! I never would have thought to use cherries and banana together. Such a great idea and stunning presentation!

    Reply
  • August 5, 2015 at 10:58 am
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    Thanks Lori. Glad you liked it. The cherry, chocolate, and banana flavor combination sort of reminded me of a banana split.

    Reply
  • August 5, 2015 at 1:53 pm
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    Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear about your glasses. The pictures are stunning though and so is this banana bread! Love the chocolate and cherry combo! That chocolate glaze is definitely calling my name!

    Reply
    • August 5, 2015 at 5:18 pm
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      Thanks Kelly. Fortunately sunglasses are replaceable and in the end they brought that monkey so much joy. I think he loved seeing his reflection in the lens.

      The chocolate glaze on this cake is heavenly and I am trying to resist the urge to drizzle it onto everything.

      Reply
  • August 5, 2015 at 2:02 pm
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    Omg, the chocolate dripping on that cake is making me drool! Amazing photos! I would just die if a monkey took my Prada sunglasses, but it does make for a funny story! I especially loved “the monkey displaying the exact same joy” Hahaha, too funny!

    Reply
    • August 5, 2015 at 5:22 pm
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      Oh well hey. . .here’s a napkin for ya then. The glaze is pretty drool worthy though so I completely understand. 🙂

      As for that darn monkey. . . it’s times like these when I wish I would have had on a nice inexpensive pair of Target sunglasses. . .c’est la vie. 🙂

      Reply
  • August 5, 2015 at 5:17 pm
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    Your photos are incredible! That monkey obviously has a taste for couture! Maybe we’ll see him sportin’ them on Paris runways this fall 😉 In any event, this cakes is GORGEOUS! My, my look at that chocolate drizzle! I would totally devour this!

    Reply
    • August 5, 2015 at 5:25 pm
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      Lol. Yes. . .those monkeys do seem to have a thing for the finer things in life and wouldn’t it be a hoot if they did show up on the runway?

      The drizzle is pretty sexy. . .almost as sexy as grilling that corn naked (he! he! couldn’t resist).

      Reply
    • August 7, 2015 at 6:47 pm
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      Yes. . .one can never have too much chocolate drizzle in one’s life, can they? 😉

      Reply
  • August 7, 2015 at 12:46 pm
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    Must have that bread! I also need to visit a place where I can interact with monkeys some day.

    I love your photos.

    Reply
    • August 7, 2015 at 6:48 pm
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      Monkeys (and lemurs) are the best. Our home in Kenya backed up to the forest so they stopped by our place every day. Hoping you get to experience these cuties in the flesh in the not-so-distant future.

      Reply
  • August 7, 2015 at 4:43 pm
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    That is a monkey with fashion sense! I’m sorry that he ruined your designer sunglasses. Your photos of the animals and bread are beautiful! I’m wondering why I have never had cherries and bananas together before. It sounds so good! This bread is gorgeous and delicious!

    Reply
    • August 7, 2015 at 6:50 pm
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      He certainly does enjoy the finer things in life, doesn’t he? I’m glad you enjoyed the photos Thao. I printed a few of them out and used them as props in my photography class yesterday.

      As for cherries and bananas. . .a match made in heaven if I do say so myself. 😉

      Reply
  • August 10, 2015 at 4:20 am
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    OK, I don’t even know where to start. The bread – stunning. Your life – exotic (though also a bit edgy scary!). The sunnies – I burst into laughter! The same happened to me in Nepal – the little BUGGER! I feel your pain!

    Reply
    • August 24, 2015 at 4:03 pm
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      Oh Nagi. . .I haven’t even told you the really scary stories yet. 🙂 I’m glad I am not the only one who had her sunglasses lifted by a monkey. BTW. . . I’m jealous you’ve been to Nepal. . .it’s on my “must visit” list.

      Glad you liked the bread. It didn’t last very long in my house.

      Reply
  • August 27, 2015 at 4:42 pm
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    Ohhh this looks so delicious!
    And thanks for the heads up, we are going to Bali in a month and planning on visiting the monkey forest there. I will be careful not to have any loose things!!

    Gina
    Pink Wings

    Reply
  • October 17, 2015 at 7:30 am
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    This is stunning. The recipe. The photos. Your storytelling. Very nice meeting you! 😄

    Reply
    • October 17, 2015 at 7:49 am
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      I’m glad you enjoyed the stories. These memories will always hold a special place in my heart. As for the banana bread. . .it is a must make. . .of course I may be a little partial given my cherry addiction. 😉

      Reply
  • October 17, 2015 at 1:12 pm
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    Such a bummer about the sunglasses, but holy cow–those adventures you were able to experience…So.Cool! And this bread? AMAZING. That drippy chocolate glaze has got my stomach growling!! 🙂 Pinned!

    Reply
  • October 17, 2015 at 2:29 pm
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    Love that you shared your trip and your sunglasses story. what an interesting way to get your sunglasees kyped! Mine all fell pray to toddlers I’m afraid. Your loaf looks extremely enticing. I think this is going into my recipe box for the future. Love the cg\hocolate cherry combo here. Yum!

    Reply
  • October 17, 2015 at 4:31 pm
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    I don’t know what to look at first in this post, the amazing animals or your incredible cake – it’s just stunning.

    Reply
  • October 17, 2015 at 5:10 pm
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    Wow, that bread looks glorious! Love the photos, especially the chocolate drips going down the loaf. Trying not to lick the screen.BTW, the sunglasses are fab 🙂

    Reply
  • October 18, 2015 at 3:37 am
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    Such beautiful pictures you have here! The combination of cherry and banana is really interesting too. Thanks for the share! 🙂

    Reply
  • January 3, 2016 at 12:25 pm
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    What a beautiful post! I laughed out loud at your Prada misadventure (sorry! They WERE fabby, though). I had something similar happen in Sumatra – I was visiting a Orang Utan orphanage and a naughty baby climbed me and stole my water bottle from my backpack then scooted off with it much like you described. Rather than suffering the embarrassment of trying to play keep-away with monkeys (apes I should say), I let them have it. Not a loss like your sunnies, but I did really need that water in the jungle, haha! Gorgeous bread!

    Reply
    • January 3, 2016 at 12:46 pm
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      You can only laugh when things like that happen Emme.. .as you well know. As for the water bottle. . .I think it was far more valuable than my sunnies. . .especially when you consider your location and how necessary it was and how impossible it was to replace. I’m sure that the people that worked at the orphanage were used to seeing visitors play keep away with the orangatangs (i’m sure they’ve probably played it a few times themselves). . .so likely no embarrassment there. That said, the bottle probably proved to be great enrichment for the little (or shall I say big?) guys.

      Reply

Grab a slice of cake & let's chat. . .