triple chocolate banana cake

I sometimes worry that I've lived out west too long and that my sensibilities will never match the ones here. As I get more settled into a routine, I find myself confusing New Yorkers with the weird, crunchy West Coast habits I've mostly acquired while living in Portland. Like bringing my own tote bags for groceries. I literally bewilder almost every cashier I interact with when I decline the plastic bags they seem to hand out so freely (they were 10 cents a bag in San Francisco!) and give them my own.

There also seems to be some sort of dress code for very specific events and places that I seemed to have missed. Just last week, as I met an acquaintance of mine for a drink, I walked in and found myself to be the only lady wearing flats and a loose fitting denim dress. Even with the 90 degree+ weather and the fact that it was only 6:30PM, all the ladies and gents were decked out with makeup, bandage dresses, and suits. Maybe it's because we were at a rooftop bar overlooking Central Park? Is that #fancy? Oh well.

But now that we're on the subject of #fancy, can we talk about this triple chocolate banana cake for a hot second? Again, this is one of the recipes I hastily threw together while I was clearing out my San Francisco fridge of all its ingredients. The banana cake layers are incredibly dense and fudgy; so much that it could almost pass for banana bread. And since I love chocolate (and needed to get rid of a lot of it before I moved), there are three types in the cake: mini chocolate chips in all the layers, slathered with an instant chocolate fudge frosting (more of that in the baker's notes), all of which is topped with a shiny chocolate drippy glaze. Oh! And some white chocolate chips for garnish... I guess that's FOUR types of chocolate.



Some baker's notes:
  • Plan ahead for this one and use the ripest bananas you can find for this recipe. Buy bananas that are ripe and let them get overly black and brown — the riper they are, the more sugar in the fruit, and the more flavorful and caramelized the cake's flavor will be. Epicurious even has a guide that tells you how far in advance you should buy bananas and where you should them to get them to their ideal state. And if you're just not a planner, you can always use this neat trick from the Kitchn to ripen them in the oven.

  • Okay real talk; this cake is MAD dense. Like, banana bread level dense. It can be a little much, especially with all the rich frosting. I needed to get rid of the bananas in my freezer, okay? So if you're looking for a lighter and fluffier cake, I recommend scaling the recipe down from 3 medium bananas to just 2 (if using 2 bananas, scale the weight measurement from 9 ounces to 6 ounces). The recipe's pretty liberally adapted from the banana cake recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar, and it's SUPER forgiving and allows you to do so without needing to make any additional adjustments.You might need to adjust cooking time though — instead of checking for done-ness at 40 minutes, start checking at 30 minutes.

  • The fudge frosting is hands down one of my favorite frosting recipes on my blog to date. Unlike with regular fudge, there's no need to fuss around with candy thermometers and heating all the ingredients to the right temperature. You pretty much just throw in all the ingredients in a food processor and process until you end up with a creamy and somewhat glossy fudge. The only thing is that you WILL need a food processor — you can't quite get the same texture with a freestanding electric mixer or a hand mixer. Sorry folks!

Triple Chocolate Banana Cake




Special Equipment:

For the Banana Chocolate Chip Cake:
(makes a three layer, 6-inch cake)
  • 1 1/3 cups (6.65 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) whole buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 9 ounces super ripe peeled bananas, mashed (I used 3 medium-small bananas — see baker's notes)
  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) mini chocolate chip

For the Instant Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
(makes about 2 1/2 cups, enough for one triple layer cake)
  • 3 ounces 100% unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to slightly warm
  • 2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) confectioner's sugar
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces // 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Drippy Glaze:
(makes around 1/4 cup, enough for one cake)
  • 3 ounces 70% cacao dark chocolate, roughly chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup



For the Banana Chocolate Chip Cake:
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325 (F). Prepare three 6-inch cake pans by spraying generously with cooking spray and lining the bottoms of each with a parchment paper circle; spray the parchment paper circle as well.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/3 cups (6.65 ounces) all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt until fully incorporated. Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar and 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter. Cream together on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy and has doubled in volume. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, add 1 large egg, and continue mixing again on medium-high for another 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Lower the mixer speed to its slowest setting. In a liquid measuring cup, combine 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) buttermilk, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, whisking briefly before streaming into the butter and sugar mixture. Once all the mixture has been added, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for another 5 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white and completely homogeneous. You're basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn't want to make room for it, so if it doesn't look homogeneous after 6 minutes, keep mixing. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl every few minutes or so.

  5. Once the mixture is homogeneous, reduce the mixer speed back to its lowest setting once more. Add 9 ounces of mashed banana and mix for 45 to 60 seconds to ensure that the bananas are scattered throughout the batter.

  6. Still on low speed, add the flour mixture (from the 2nd step) and mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until the batter comes together. DO NOT OVERMIX. Mix just until the dry ingredients have disappeared, before stopping the mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl, and incorporating any remnants of dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula. Scatter 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips over the mixture and mix them in by hand until fully incorporated throughout the batter.

  7. Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans, using an offset spatula to smoothen out the top of each cake.

  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes. The center of each cake should no longer be jiggly, but be careful not to overbake since the cakes will continue to cook after you've taken them out of the oven — it's better to pull them out on the slightly early side than later. Allow to cool completely in the pans on a wire rack before turning out.

For the Instant Fudge Frosting:
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine 3 ounces melted and cooled 100% unsweetened chocolate, 2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) confectioner's sugar, 3/4 cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons whole milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pulse the ingredients together to incorporate. At first it will seem like there's too many ingredients in the food processor and that they will never incorporate together, but continue processing until the frosting is smooth and a uniform brown color. It will happen! Use immediately.

For the Chocolate Drippy Glaze:
  1. Place the 3 ounces roughly chopped chocolate, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon water, and 2 teaspoons light corn syrup in a medium, microwave-proof bowl. Melt in 20 second increments in the microwave, whisking after each time, until completely melted and smooth. Use immediately.



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