RV Table Top

We have a Leisure Travel Van (LTV) Unity RV. Love it. But there is always something you can do to personalize, customize, or upgrade an RV. In this case, it is the dining area table top

Note: This post is part description of what I did and part advice on how to do something similar if you are so inclined. All of the measurements can be adjusted to whatever suits your project.

The Unity came with a functional table top that was about 24″ square and had two leaves that folded out from the top to give about 39″ width. It fits well between the seats and can be used with the leaves out or not. But there were a few things that led me make changes.

The Table Leg

The table is mounted on a fixed post between the seats. Even with the leaves folded up, it was inconvenient to go from the van driving or passenger seat into the back ‘house’ area.

So the first change was to install a Lagun leg. This is an articulated post arm that lets you rotate the top and swing it over to the side.

That solved the access problem.

Side note: This is a Lagun brand leg. LTV now provides their own version customized to their purpose. With the Lagun leg, the position of the table top ends up slightly more forward than desired. My solution was to insert a 1″ block of wood between the post mount and the Lagun leg mount. Good enough.

The Table Top

That was fine for a while but a few things about the top bugged me.

  • Because the leaves folded out from the top and rested on simple hinges, they developed a droop. Not huge but enough that the surface wasn’t flat.
  • If you were using the table with the leaves folded up, and then decided to open the leaves, you had to remove everything from the table, open the leaves, and put everything back.
  • The top was made of particle board with a laminated surface. Unsurprisingly, over time it began to show chipping on the edges.
  • Also because of the laminated particle board, the edges were square. That gets annoying and even painful if you are resting your wrists on the edge.

So… Time to make a new top.

These are the basic design requirements for the new top.

  • Dimensions to be similar to original table top. Roughly 24×24″ closed and 24×39″ open. Finished thickness of 11/16″.
  • Weight to be no more than original table top.
  • Construction to use real wood. No laminates, plywood, particle board, etc.
  • Leaves that fold under so that they can be opened without disturbing what is already on the table.
  • Leaves must not droop when opened. (Not when new and not over time.)
  • All edges to be softened (rounded) for comfort.
  • Must mount on the existing Lagun leg.
  • Oh, and it should look appealing.

The Build

I am a fan of laying up multiple strips of wood to form a panel. Not only do I like the look of it, but

  • I don’t have to find, and work with, 24′ wide slabs of wood, and
  • the resulting panel resists warping and cracking.


Here is a drawing of the general layout. The main top part of the table will be the area between the “cut lines”. The parts outside the cuts are the leaves.

Note that all dimensions are approximate. You want the table top to be about 24″ square when closed up and about 24″ x 39″ when opened. A half inch here or there isn’t going to make much difference.

Step 1: Select the Woods.

They should be all relatively hard woods to handle the wear and tear of a kitchen table. I’ve used a variety of woods that were lying around the shop: mahogany, oak, maple, and walnut. Plus one board purchased for the leaves which will be solid to maintain strength both in the leaf and at the joint.

Be sure to have your design consultant with you at this stage. I’m good with the engineering and construction but not so hot on colors and finish elements. The fact that the top looks so good is entirely down to my wife. She has an eye for this. I don’t.

Step 2: Prepare the Wood Strips

The strips of wood vary from about 3/4″ to 1-5/8″ width and are planed to roughly 1″ thickness. They must be planed or jointed to be co-planar to ensure a tight fit between them with no visible gaps. If they do not sit tightly together before being glued, there will eventually be cracks formed between them.

These strips form the main part of the table. They should be at least 24″ long to allow for trimming to final size of 21-3/4″. There must be enough of them to achieve the full table top width of 24″. I recommend making the outermost strips from the same board used to make the leaves. This adds a nice border effect to the top.

At least two of the strips should be closer to 30″ long. These will be protection against snipe when planing the panel.

Step 3: Initial Panel Glue-up

Unless you have a 24″ or wider plane, you will need to glue up two or more panels that will later be glued together. My plane can handle 12-1/2″ so I went with two panels.

For each panel, I used my 24″ panel clamps. (See this post for more info on panel clamps.) I glued up the strips for one half of the table top, inserted extra boards on the outside edges to spread the pressure, and clamped them tight. Note that I placed one longer strip in each, as mentioned earlier, to fight snipe.

After giving it overnight to cure, I did the same again for the other half. I could have done both halves in my larger clamps but gluing and positioning that many strips is pushing the limit of initial drying time.

Step 4: Preparing the Leaves

I rough cut the wood for the leaves to slightly more than the final dimensions. So, about 30″ long by 9″ wide. I then planed it to about 1″ thick–similar to the initial thickness of the strips for the main part of the table. It is important to prepare the leaves at this stage because all the pieces must be planed together in the next step.

Step 5: Thickness Planing

After using a chisel to remove most of the glue squeeze out, it was off to the plane to set the thickness.

I planed the wood down in small increments: initially 1/32″, later 1/64″. I rotated through both glued-up panels and both leaves. At each pass I turned the boards over so that both sides benefited from planing. Once the thickness was down to 11/16″, it was done.

Step 6: Main Top Panel

We still have two ~12″ panels for the main top and it is time to glue them together.

For this step, I converted my 24″ clamps to 48″ clamps. (These clamps have a slight bow in them to ensure pressure in the center where these two panels will meet.)

Using two wide boards on the outside to spread pressure and protect the work pieces, the two halves are glued and aligned as closely as possible. A rubber hammer helped to tap the center to get the joint completely aligned. Then it’s another overnight wait for the glue to set.

After removing the clamps, the center strip is cleaned of glue squeeze out and sanded to remove any remaining misalignment or glue marks. Getting this joint right is why it is important to plane the pieces together and to be meticulous about the alignment in the glue-up.

Step 7: Trim the Top

Now that the top is built, cut it to size. The ends of the strips will be various uneven lengths and have to be cut square and clean to allow for attaching the leaves. Using the table saw, I cut the ends off on each side to get a final width of 21-3/4″.

Step 8: Attach the Leaves

At this point, the leaves do not have hinges and haven’t been shaped. They are also probably slightly bigger than final size. Trim the width of the leaves so that the total width of the leaves plus main top comes to 39″.

Now is the time to attach the boards. So, back to the long clamps. Glue up the leaves to the outside of the main top with the main top rotated 90 degrees so that the ends of the strips are glued to the leaves.

Take all the same care as previously and let it set up overnight. Once set, clean up the glued joints and sand as needed.

Step 9: Cutting the Leaves

Before cutting the leaves loose from the top, carefully trim the ends of the leaves to match the width of the top. The boards for the leaves were originally cut extra long to allow for snipe protection. The final size should be made in this step.

The finished size of the leaves should be about 7-3/8″. Measuring in from the outer edge and cutting, this will leave about a 1″ piece of the leaf board attached to the main top. This provides a nice border effect to the top. It also provides strength to the ends of the strips that will need to hold the hinges.

Step 10: Prepare for the Hinges

Oh yes, did I mention the hinges? To get leaves that fold up from the bottom and make a stable flat surface, you need special hinges. You want the hinges used by restaurants to convert a square table into a larger round table. I found these in two sizes. As usual on Amazon, there are multiple vendors selling the same hinges. The larger size has the advantage of a clip that holds the hinge closed when the leaf is under the table. But it is large and very heavy. The smaller one is perhaps half the weight and, sadly, doesn’t have that clip. But the smaller one–at about 6″ when opened as in the picture–is the right choice.

The hinge mechanism requires a groove to be cut in the wood so that the wings can lie flat. Align the main top and the leaves as they will be when finally assembled. Determine hinge location and mark it across the length of the hinge. Mark the length of the needed groove on both the top and the leaf.

(The folding part of the hinge must be on the joint between the leaf and the top. How far in from the side is a balance. Too far apart and they may allow the center of the leaf to dip. Too close together and you will have trouble reaching under the table to close the hinge.)

Use your favorite tool to create grooves that the hinge can sit in. I made a jig and used a 1/4″ round nose router bit to make the grooves. Do not try to router it freehand.

Do not install the hinges yet.

Step 11: Rounding the Corners and Edges

Choose an appropriate radius and round the corners of the main table top and the leaves using a band saw, jig saw, or whatever works for you.

Using a router and a small round-over bit, round off the top edges or the main table top and both leaves. (A 1/4″ bit worked for me but size it to the hinge you have.) Next, round off the bottom edges of these pieces BUT do not round off the bottom off the joints between the main table top and the leaves. Those edges can be eased a small amount with sanding.

Step 12: Test Assembly

At this point, you can confirm the hinge placement and ensure that everything will fit properly. If you install the hinges, don’t tighten the screws fully and don’t exercise the hinge. This is just making sure the fit is right.

Step 13: Sanding and Finish

Sand all surfaces until smooth. Sand the corners and round-overs as needed to clean up any issues from rounding the corners and to get a smooth feel.

The choice of finish is up to you. I used a water-based, satin finish polyurethane. I usually like to go with tung oil or other natural finishes. But this is going to have to stand up to spills, sunlight, etc.

Step 14: Final Assembly

After you finish the finish, install the hinges fully and test that they work as expected. Install the Lagun leg mount–or whatever mounting system you are using. In my case, it goes in the center at one edge of the top. Your mileage may vary.

NOTE: Be sure to mount the hinges with the screws toward the middle and the raised part toward the outside edge. You will close the leaves by reaching under the top and pulling on the hinges.

Step 15: Install It

Well, that does it. Not a quick project but the results are so worth it.

A Final Note

Because the hinges don’t have a clip to keep them closed when the leaves are down–as in the photo above–the leaves do wobble a bit on bumpy roads. This is a minor annoyance. If I come up with a good solution, I will update this post.

Panel Clamps

A few years ago, I bought a set of hardware for panel clamps. They have been indispensable in several of my projects. So I thought I would write up some notes on how they work and how I have used them.

The clamps I bought go under several brand/seller names, such as DCT and Peachtree. They go for about $25 to $30 per set. I bought three.

What really makes these great is that they supply pressure in four directions. Not just from both ends, but top and bottom also. This is essential in keeping the panel flat while the glue dries.

Initially, I used 24″ pieces of 2×2 as rails to form the clamps. This gave a working area of at least 18″ which was enough for the projects I was doing. (One was a cradle that needed side panels glued up. Others were cutting boards made for family and friends.) For those applications, straight 2×2 rails were sufficient to provide the top/bottom pressure.

More recently, I made a table top that required me to clamp about 39″ in the final glue-up. So I needed longer clamps. Mostly, this simply requires removing the hardware from the existing boards and attaching to longer ones. However, I was concerned about the clamps exerting sufficient top/bottom pressure at the center of that longer run.

Curving the Rails

To ensure pressure at the center point, I needed to cut a gentle curve in the rails. Not something I wanted to try on the band saw.

The solution was to force a curve in the rail in the opposite direction and then cut that side flat on the table saw.

I took a full 2×4, drilled holes in the middle to allow me to ‘capture’ the center of the rail with long screws, and inserted a #12 screw at each end protruding enough to give the desired curve.

Next, I attached a rail and used the center screws to pull it tight to the 2×4. I ran it through the table saw cutting off the curve to match the center.

Removed from this jig, the rail now has the desired curve.

After attaching the hardware to each end of six rails, I have three clamps capable of handling over a 40″ glue-up.

The final step for both the 24″ and 48″ rails is to cover the working faces with painters tape. This prevents the clamp from becoming part of the work piece due to glue squeeze-out.

Using the Clamps

When using the clamps to make a panel there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Use extra, unglued boards at each end to distribute the pressure and reduce the chance of damage to your work piece. These boards should be slightly thinner than the work pieces being clamped.
  • Have the boards that form the panel machined to roughly the same thickness. But be sure to allow some extra so that the panel can be planed to remove any alignment problems and glue marks.
  • Don’t glue up a panel wider than you can fit in your plane or otherwise machine to final thickness and flatness.

Strawberry Ice Cream

A tasty, light ice cream, perfect for those hot summer days. This can be made with fresh or frozen strawberries. Simple and quick to make.

If you haven’t read my post on the ice cream base, check it out for more information.


2 cups whole milk
5 oz heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
2 – 3 cups strawberries


Put the strawberries and half of the sugar in a pot. Slowly bring to a boil and then simmer for up to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Put 1 cup of the milk in a pot with the remaining sugar and heat just enough to dissolve the sugar while stirring. Transfer to another container and place in the refrigerator to cool completely. Add the remaining milk, the heavy cream, and the vanilla and put back in the refrigerator.

Put about half of the strawberries, and any strawberry liquid, in a blender and puree them. Transfer to another container and place in the refrigerator to cool completely. Put the remaining whole strawberries in the refrigerator.

(There’s a theme here: Get everything very cold before putting it in the ice cream machine. Even a little time in the freezer helps.)

After the ingredients are cold, stir the pureed strawberries into the milk/cream mixture. Set up your ice cream machine, pour in the base, and start it up. Once the ice cream is ready, transfer it to a 2 quart tub while folding in the remaining strawberry pieces. (Don’t be too aggressive or you will lose the air that was churned in by the ice cream maker.)

Cover with plastic wrap on the surface of the ice cream and put the lid on the tub. Place in the freezer for several hours or overnight.

Ice Cream Base

There are fundamentally two types of ice cream base: the French style and the Philadelphia style. French style uses egg yolks to create a silky custard base. Philadelphia style does not use eggs and this makes it much simpler for the home ice cream maker, like me. The Philadelphia method was created by Eleanor Parkinson in 1818. She insisted that it must be only sugar, cream, and flavorings. Not being a purist, I use a blend of cream, milk, and sometime other dairy products.

(Side note here: To be called Ice Cream, it must be at least 10% milk fat. Heavy cream is typically 33% milk fat and whole milk is about 3.25%.

I am a big fan of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream based in Columbus, Ohio. I have her recipe book and have made many of the recipes. However, I have recently moved to the simpler Philadelphia style base for several reasons. The main one being simplicity. Jeni’s is a premium ice cream and no doubt uses the French method. The home recipes use corn starch as a thickener to simulate the texture. This requires boiling the mixture to activate the corn starch, then cooling in a ice bath or the freezer before churning. I am not fan of the texture that corn starch imparts to the finished ice cream. Also, I have found that some people can taste the corn starch.

Regardless of which base is used, Jeni’s book gives a lot of good advice on making ice cream and, more importantly, gives a range of scrumptious flavors and how to achieve them. Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Cherries is my favorite!

In the recipes I present, you will see a variety of milk products used depending on the desired end result. Heavy cream and whole milk will be typical but evaporated milk, half and half, yoghurt, and others may show up. Each has its own flavor profile. As long as the appropriate level of milk fat is there, the choice of dairy product is up to you.

Renovating a Plane

Last time I visited my brother, he handed me an old plane that he wasn’t using and that was gathering rust. Disused, but a good plane.

Here’s one view of the plane. It’s a Stanley plane, made in the USA. The markings on it say “Bailey No 4”. According to an online source, it is a Stanley Bailey Type 20 Handplane manufactured in the ’60s.

Viewed from the side, the rust is very obvious.

Step 1: Complete disassembly. The rust is everywhere and there is some other schmutz on some of the surfaces.

Step 2: The next move is to drop all the metal parts into a bath of rust remover. I let them sit for about 24 hours.

Rinsed and dried off, they look a lot better. The rust is almost all gone but there is still some surface stuff that wasn’t rust to start with.

Step 3: Some work with a wire brush and sandpaper has cleaned up the surfaces. Add a very light coat of oil to inhibit future rust.

I may have left some scratch marks in the surface, but I can live with that. This thing isn’t going into a museum; it’s going into my shop.

Step 4: Reassembly.

Looking good.

So, how well does it work?

Audio with Static Image as a Video File

I came across a need for this when I wanted to upload an audio recording of coyotes to Facebook. FB doesn’t allow simple audio files. Nor does it allow a video file with an audio track but no video track.

I picked up the needed ffmpeg command online and adapted it to my need.

ffmpeg -loop 1 -i imagefile.jpg -i audiofile.m4a -c:a copy -c:v libx264 -shortest result.mp4

The image file should be a reasonable size, not some 3k x 4k hi res image, otherwise the resulting file will be too big. I have used a jpeg file but not tried png although I would expect that to work.

The audio file also can be in any form that ffmpeg supports but m4a works well.

Output to x264 works well for compressing the static image. And FB is happy with it.

‘-shortest’ causes it to stop on the shortest of the input files. ‘-loop 1’ causes the image to be looped for the duration of the audio file. The audio file will always be the ‘shortest’ because it is finite whereas the image is looped.

Plum Pudding

This recipe is based on “Tiny Tim’s Plum Pudding” recipe at the Taste of Home website. I see this same recipe on many sites so I can’t give credit to the original author but I can link to the site where I first found it. My modifications have been minor because it is a fine recipe to start with. But I made a few changes and notes that made a significant difference.


1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 – 15 oz cans whole plums, drained, pitted, chopped
1-3/4 cups chopped Medjool dates
2/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried cherries
1 cup golden raisins (sultana raisins)
1/2 cup dried currants
1 cup shredded carrots
1 oz brandy


Mix all dried fruit ingredients in a bowl with the brandy.
Generously grease an 8 cup pudding mold or two 4 cup pudding molds.
Chop dates.
In a medium size bowl, mix bread crumbs, flour, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
Gradually add the spice/bread crumb/flour mixture.
Drain the brandy from the dried fruits. Add the chopped dates and mix well so that the dates are well distributed.
Fold the fruits into the mixture in the large bowl.
Transfer to the pudding mold(s). Cover tightly with heavy foil and tie the foil with string to secure it.
Place on a rack in a stockpot with about 2 to 3 inches of hot water. Bring to a gentle boil and steam the pudding for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Add water as needed to prevent the stockpot from drying out.
Remove the pudding from the stockpot and let cool for 5 or 10 minutes before removing from the mold.
If serving immediately, prepare the Hard Sauce, unmold the pudding onto a serving plate, and serve warm.


  • For best results, use fresh spices. Zest a whole orange instead of using dried zest from the store. Grate nutmeg from a whole nut. You get the idea.
  • Use light or dark brown sugar. I prefer dark.
  • For dramatic presentation, pour a couple of ounces over the pudding, turn out the lights, and set it on fire when bringing it to the table.
  • Don’t use dried, already chopped dates. Use ‘fresh’ dates. They are messy to pit and chop but the result is well worth it. This alone makes a major difference in the final result.
  • For a smaller group, use two 4 cup molds. Serve one immediately and freeze the other. (Unmold it, wrap it in cheesecloth or plastic wrap, put it back in the mold, cover well and freeze.)
  • Make sure you have a way to get the hot molds out of the stockpot. I used string to create a simple kind of hanging basket that I could lift out easily.

Dr. Rebecca Lancefield’s Eggnog

I first heard about this recipe on an NPR program. The comments and recipe below were copied, in 2013, from a website whose name and URL I have long forgotten. I have made this many times over the years and always enjoyed the results.

As I recall from the NPR program, at some point Dr. Lancefield and her colleagues wondered about the science behind making this with a dozen raw eggs and nobody ever becoming sick from it. So they did an experiment. They made a batch and injected a massive dose of salmonella into it. It then sat in the fridge and was tested each week. After a short time–two or three weeks if memory serves–there was no trace of salmonella. The alcohol did what you might expect. If there is a lesson from this, I would say: Don’t skimp on the alcohol and Do make it by Thanksgiving to be consumed at Christmas.

With that said, the following is the recipe as I copied it down.

Dr. Rebecca Lancefield’s Eggnog

This recipe comes from Dr. Rebecca Lancefield (1895 – 1981), a prominent microbiologist who worked at The Rockefeller University. One of her perhaps lesser-known legacies is related to eggnog: every year, she would make eggnog in the lab before Thanksgiving, let it “mellow,” and then serve it at Christmas. Forty years later, the eggnog tradition persists in that laboratory.


12 Eggs
1 Pint Bourbon or Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey
1 Quart Rum
1 Quart Heavy Cream
1 Quart Light Cream
1/2 – 3/4 Lb Sugar (to taste)


Beat the eggs, add bourbon and rum slowly while stirring to prevent precipitation of egg proteins.
Beat heavy cream separately until it peaks and add it to the egg/bourbon/rum mix.
Add the light cream while stirring.
Add the sugar to taste while stirring. Add nutmeg to taste.
Leave standing at least overnight in refrigerator with the lid slightly ajar.
Serve after at least 2 – 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Chip Garbage Cookies

This recipe began with the basic oatmeal cookie recipe on the oatmeal box. But, of course, that wouldn’t be enough. So we added chocolate chips. Then we added nuts. And then whatever was lying around in the kitchen cupboard was fair game. Like currants or coconut or raisins.

Eventually we started calling it our Chocolate Chip Garbage Cookie recipe. No actual garbage involved, just whatever looks handy. Some people seem put off by the name but you won’t be put off by the result.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 15 minutes per batch
Servings: 3 – 4 dozen cookies depending on size


1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soad
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins or black currants (optional)


Chop nuts and set aside. Measure chocolate chips and add to nuts.
Measure oatmeal and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar well. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla.
Mix baking soda and baking powder into the flour. Add to the wet ingredients slowly, mixing well.
Add remaining dry ingredients, mixing just enough to distribute well.
Put dough in refrigerator to chill while preheating oven to 375F.
Form dough into 1 – 1.5″ balls and set apart on cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on size and how you like them.


Using a #40 scoop works really well for measuring out the dough and it keeps your hands cleaner.
Another option is to roll the dough into a 1.5″ log, chill, and then cut 1/2″ slices to put on the cookie sheet. This is also useful if you want freeze half the dough for later.
Longer bake time produces crunchier cookies.
Use high quality semi-sweet chocolate chips. Ghirardelli or better.
Chilling the dough for 10 minutes after placing on the cookie sheet will reduce the spread and make higher cookies.


This recipe can be tweaked in a lot of directions depending on your preferences and imagination. The simplest is to add the optional currants or raisins. My family objects to that, so I make them without. Read on for more…

Oatmeal Cocoa Walnut

Leave out the chocolate chips. Increase the sugar to 1 cup of each and add 6 – 8 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder. (Sift it together with the flour to avoid clumping.)

Coconut Cocoa Walnut

Same as for Oatmeal Cocoa Walnut above, but replace the 2 cups of oatmeal with 2 cups of shredded coconut.


A variation that can be used with any of the above:
Replace about 1/3 of the flour with Almond flour.
Use chopped almonds for the nuts.

Banana Bread

This recipe is based mostly on a recipe for “Banana Nut Bread” from the McCall’s Cook Book (1963). The primary change is the addition of chocolate chips. This change was demanded by my family and, after some resistance, I gave it a try. We now think of it as Banana Bread Crack. With the chocolate chips, it disappears in a couple of days. Without them, I still have banana bread left after a week.


2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (a little more if using unsalted butter)
3/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup mashed (very) ripe bananas
Zest of one orange. (Fresh, please.)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli or better)


Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch bread pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, if you have it.
Sift the flour with the salt and baking powder.
Roughly chop one cup of walnuts and set aside in a bowl.
Measure out one cup of chocolate chips and add to the walnuts.
Mash two or three ripe bananas, depending on size, to get a cup or so.
Zest an orange.
In your mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and egg until smooth.
Add the mashed banana, milk, and orange zest. Mix.
Add the flour slowly, mixing until incorporated and smooth.
Mix in the nuts and chocolate chips.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake on middle shelf of the oven for about an hour or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool for 15-20 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Notes and Variations

For best flavor, use fresh orange zest. Second best would be a few drops of orange oil. If you have no other choice, use 2-3 tbsp of the dried stuff that comes in a bottle.
Don’t cheap out on the chocolate. Use whatever is your favorite high quality brand. Semi-sweet works best.
If you don’t want to put in the chocolate, increase the sugar to 1 cup and nothing else needs to be changed.
Let it cool completely to room temperature before slicing. It will tend to crumble if you try to slice it when warm.