Lately, I find myself gravitating towards familiar foods in my kitchen. The meals and desserts that I’ve enjoyed since childhood are on rotation—grilled cheese and tomato soup, spaghetti made with sauce from a jar, and chocolate chip cookies. It feels easier, in these final chaotic days of the school year, to reach for recipes that I know both forwards and backwards.
While there are no moments of surprise with new flavors or textures, the comfort of these routine meals is indulgent in a different way, for both body and soul.
This banana cake is one that I remember fondly from my childhood. Whenever the bananas were forgotten on the counter long enough to blacken, the mixing bowls would come out and this cake would emerge from the oven. The aroma of banana filling the air was the cue for the rest of my family to flock to the kitchen, stealing a bite or two before the cake had properly cooled.
It has been many years since I’ve last eaten this cake. Perhaps having my own little one in the house is causing these food memories to stir up, but, regardless of the reason, I am delighted to revisit this recipe.
This banana cake is a simple, unpretentious snacking cake—however, that doesn't mean this cake isn't something worth talking about.
The texture is my favorite part of this cake. As with most banana breads and cake, the final product has a bit of heft, but I think it works in the cake’s favor instead of against it. The chocolate glaze is also made with butter instead of heavy cream like a traditional ganache, which lends itself to a more intense buttery, chocolate flavor.
All these years later, my family is still in debate about the best way to eat this cake. My dad and I prefer to eat this cake chilled. The cold brings out a heaviness to the cake we both love, and the chocolate glaze becomes stiff making it literally melt in your mouth. My sister, on the other hand, prefers the cake slightly warmed, which yields a lighter feel to the cake and turns the chocolate glaze silky smooth. Though our debate may never be settled, the truth is that this cake is delicious any way you choose to serve it.
Since it is my belief that snacking cakes should be easy to prepare, instead of making a chocolate glaze, you could simply add chocolate chips to the batter to bring in the chocolate flavor without needing to use more pans. The choice, as always, is yours.
This Banana Snacking Cake combines the classic flavors of chocolate and banana. The addition of mashed banana to the cake lends a moistness, while a touch of cinnamon brings out a greater depth of flavor. The chocolate glaze is simple to make, melting together only chocolate and butter, but I could eat it by the spoonful (and I usually do). The glaze spreads smooth when slightly warm and holds its shape like a dream. This cake is a good option to reach for when you are looking for a sweet snack and, if your kitchen is anything like mine, it will disappear before you are ready to see it go.
Banana Snacking Cake
Yields 9 x 13-inch cake
2 1/2 cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (150 grams) brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (180 mL) buttermilk (or regular milk)
6 ounces (170 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (113 grams) butter, cubed
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
To prepare the banana cake, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the mashed bananas and vanilla extract.
Beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk in alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour. Pour batter evenly in the prepared baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake cool completely.
To prepare the chocolate glaze, melt together the chopped chocolate and cubed butter in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth and uniform. Spread evenly over the cooled cake and allow the glaze to set before cutting and serving the cake.