Chocolate Chip Banana Cake

My grandmother wasn’t much of a baker. Her idea of homemade dessert was thawing a square Sara Lee chocolate cake and plopping a dollop of Cool Whip on top. She did make two sweet things well. Zucchini bread and apple pie. Though I am beginning to suspect the pie was also counterfeit. When I was a very little girl, packing my small suitcase for an overnight at her house, I looked  forward to the treats she would concoct just for me, made with love. Simple pleasures like chocolate pudding or Jello, a bag of Wise potato chips illicitly eaten while staying up late to watch Love Boat, and see the results of the Lotto. And my absolute favorite – frozen bananas shellacked in chocolate.

There was a kit available at the grocery store that contained wooden sticks and a bag of liquid chocolate – because while Josephine wasn’t into baking, she was way, way into gadgets and plastic convenience devices. Those wee yellow corn on the cob holders that looked like –  what else – ears of corn, personal fans attached to a squirt bottle you filled with water, a miniature cart she offered me for “shopping” in her pantry when I came to visit as a college student and twenty-something destitute single girl. Really anything you could buy for a dollar and a half at Ocean State Job Lot. That was her sacred site. She was not a religious woman, but she made pilgrimages to that store almost daily. I think it must have been wondrous to her, the daughter of immigrants who grew up during The Depression, the endless aisles of consumer goods she could consider, purchase, think about at home, return, and buy something slightly different to have in its place, if the mood struck.

To this day, because of Josephine, chocolate and bananas is one of my most beloved flavor combinations. And so it is to her memory that I dedicate this delicious cake.

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Method:

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350; grease and lightly flour two 8-inch cake pans. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream butter and both sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, then mashed bananas. Mix in, alternately, the dry ingredients and buttermilk. Finally fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans and bake for 40 minutes. Let cakes cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

In a small saucepan over medium heat whisk flour into the milk until it becomes very thick. Remove from the heat and let it cool completely. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla to the flour and and milk mixture then incorporate that into the whipped up butter and sugar. Beat on high for about a minute. Serve frosted layer cake with a tall glass of ice cold milk.

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.

15 Comments

  1. Hello,

    Could you give a step by step clarification for the chocolate chip banana cake mixing of the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients. I’m a little confused about when to mix in the butter, sugar, and eggs, bananas with the buttermilk and then with the dry ingredients.

    Thank you so much.

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  2. At 53, I am embarrassed to admit, I can’t cook or bake! The
    pictures drew me in and the recipe is simple! I don’t even make brownies from a box…. But I made this cake for my 19 year old son today and it is divine!!

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  3. This recipe was lovely to make, and oh so much like something from my grandmother’s kitchen!
    My frosting never firmed up, however. It was more like an icing… tasty, but runny.
    I did thicken the milk and flour and cooled it completely before adding it to the whipped ingredients. Any ideas?
    Love your blog, btw!

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  4. Just a great food blog!! 57 years ago, I hitchhiked to Mt. Desert Island from Nova Scotia, unintentionally! Wound up working there two summers in a row, first running a community center, and then as busboy bellhop, waiter, room service, in Northeast Harbour, at one of, if not the most famous Inns in Maine, long ago torn down. “Kimbell House Inn”. Great People in Maine, although our Lobsters are better! LOL Thanks

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