January 24, 2013

Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting

I do realize that this recipe flies in the face of many who have made New Year's resolutions to eat cleaner diets. I make an effort to eat nourishing and healthy food as much as possible, but as you may have noticed, when it comes to dessert, I'm an unabashed traditionalist. White flour, white sugar, chocolate? Check, check, and check. Oh yeah and plenty of butter too for good measure.

My philosophy is generally that if I make it myself and there's no fillers or additives, then just go for it. And since I don't eat meat and can't partake in so many of the traditional recipes that my grandmother perfected, baking is one place where I can replicate those recipes and share in that tradition.

So when Little Smith asked for banana and chocolate cake (inspired by the monkey's in his Babar book), it didn't take too much arm twisting for me to oblige, and I knew just the recipe. This cake is easy... and so good it's worthy of a little slip on those resolutions!

Banana Cake: from the classic recipe from 'The Joy of Cooking' (a family favorite, I've made this for many 1 year birthdays with just a dusting of powdered sugar or cream cheese frosting. always a hit!)
  • 2-3 ripe bananas (I usually use three because we have no shortage of over-ripe bananas)
  • 2 tbs plain yogurt (or sour cream in the original recipe)
  • 2 large eggs
  • grated lemon zest from one lemon
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 3/4 c plus 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 tbs butter (room temperature)
Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.

In a large food processor, pulse the bananas and yogurt just until smooth. Add the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla and process until well combined.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and beat for a few seconds. Add half of the banana mixture along with the butter and beat at a low speed to combine. Increase speed and beat for 90 seconds. Gradually add the remaining banana mixture, beating a few seconds after each addition and scraping down sides. 

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake 30-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Let cool a few minutes in pan, then release and cool on a baking rack.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: from Instant Fudge Frosting from 'Smitten Kitchen'
  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 1/4 c confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (room temperature)
  • 3 tbs whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Blend the sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla in a food processor until well combined. If you want to decorate or write on the cake with white, set aside some of the frosting now. Add the melted chocolate and combine, scraping the sides as necessary. That's it! Frost and decorate the cake to your wishes.

I may have indulged in so much frosting that I'm still too full to thoroughly enjoy my cake (patience is a virtue, but not one of mine), but from the few bites I did try, it's just as moist and delicious as ever. 

I'm sure it comes as no surprise, but Little Smith was pleased as could be.

He even let me take his picture without protest which is rare these days, so you know he was happy. Of course when I told him he couldn't have a second piece the smile faded. There's nothing quite like cake, or the delicious combination of bananas and chocolate on a cold winter's day!


  1. yum! that cake looks and sounds delicious!

  2. oooh, great photos! and that cake looks YUMOLA! (and judging by the look on little smith's face it tasted as good as it looks!)

  3. This looks DIVINE! Bananas and chocolate were totally meant to go together. I might have just found Alice's 1st birthday cake. :-)

  4. Everyone knows butter doesn't count as bad if its in cake. Plus there are bananas, so you are completely good {& so will I be this weekend when I whip it up}

  5. Oh yum Lilly, this looks very good! I have not made banana cake in ages...you have reminded me how good it is. Love your photography as always :)

  6. Looks so good! My little guy won't eat bananas because of the texture, I should try making this with him to change it up!

  7. the last photo is adorable! And this is the 1st time that I'm seeing a chocolate and banana cake combined together, I need to try this out soon! ;)

  8. Looks and sounds delicious! I'm not a big cake person EXCEPT for banana cake. I'll have to keep this in mind {pinning now}.

  9. Again with the pictures! Yum!

    And I am so on board. All of these things I have in my cupboard right now, plus some really ripe bananas. Thanks, Lilly! Great recipe as always!

  10. Eating less sugar New Year's resolutions don't exist for pregnant women so I will be making this wonderful sounding cake ASAP!


  11. This looks amazing! I am totally trying this. I follow the same philosophy as you do... baking requires all of the 'real' foods and fats. It tastes the best that way!

  12. What a delicious sounding cake and beautiful too!

  13. Your cake came out beautifully! It looks amazing. I am never giving up desserts. You have to live a little. ;)

  14. I love the little dollops on top of the cake