Chocolate Banana Cake

Like most other things in life, this blog mostly consists of happy little accidents.

And as much as I am against the consumer-driven holiday that is Valentine’s Day, I’ve made it my mission to create something actually worth celebrating. Even if you’re anti-hallmark-holiday like I am, you cannot deny chocolate.

This cake began as a muffin that wasn’t as moist or as chocolatey as I wanted it to be. I tweaked the recipe, and was then struck with the genius idea to bake only the muffin tops. Because without a Newman to eat all my muffin bottoms, I didn’t have the luxury of baking full muffins just to devour the tops.

I was quite happy with my little plan, but when I baked off my first tray of “muffin tops”, I realized they tasted more like a rich dark chocolate cake – much lighter in texture than a muffin, but also more moist. As much as I wanted my dream of bottomless muffins to come true, I had to give in to fate and dump the rest of the batter into a cake pan.

Boy am I glad I did.

This cake is officially my new favorite chocolate cake in the traditional sense of the word. (My heart still belongs to this Flourless Chocolate Cake, but that one is really more of a giant cake-shaped truffle, so.) This cake’s use of bananas actually only offers a hint of banana flavor, which is rare for banana-full pastries. However, if you serve the cake a day after baking, the banana flavor comes out a little more, and the cake gets at least 50% more moist. And you can’t say that about any other cake.

So whether you want to make something sweet for your significant other or you just want it all for yourself, you really only have one option: chocolate. And that’s where this happy little accident delivers.

NOTE: I only made half the recipe into a cake, as you see in the pictures above. But the recipe below yields two 9″ cakes, not one. I topped it with homemade vanilla whipped cream (which goes rather well) but the cake can be frosted with whatever frosting you’d like. Next time, I may go for a whipped peanut butter buttercream. Do you dare?

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Chocolate Banana Cake

Servings 2 layer 9" cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used Scharffen Berger)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4-5 ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare two 9" cake pans with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

  3. In a small bowl, melt the 2 ounces of chocolate (I used the microwave in short 20 second bursts, but a double boiler works too). Set aside to cool.

  4. Mash the bananas in a medium bowl, then mix in the yogurt and the cooled melted chocolate until homogenous.

  5. In a separate large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until thick and creamy - don't over-beat, you don't want it too light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until just combined.

  6. Dump in half the banana mixture, half the dry ingredients, mix, and repeat. When just a few floury streaks remain, add the chocolate chunks. 

  7. Pour batter evenly into cake pans and bake for 24-30 minutes, or until the center is set and a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Let cool completely before decorating or slicing. 

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