This little cake deserves a recurring spot on your fall baking schedule for sure. You don’t need a special occasion to make it…and apart from the generous lashing of mocha frosting I consider it very wholesome. Have a piece as a mid-morning pick me up, and share the rest with the kids after school. This cake has mysterious restorative properties. Which might, or might not, have something to do with a shot of espresso.
The dark mocha frosting takes a great little banana cake and makes it an even greater little banana cake. In the recipe development phase my original plan was to make an espresso buttercream. But when I got right down to it, my hand reached for the box of Valrhona cocoa powder and did the deed with a full 1/2 cup of the stuff. The combination of banana and chocolate is powerful and I couldn’t resist going for it again. My BANANA CAKE WITH NUTELLA BUTTERCREAM is one of my favorites.
Did I mention that the cake is a one bowl deal? I’m trying to do that whenever possible, I think it makes a huge difference.
- 2 very ripe bananas
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (or yogurt)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- a heaping 1/2 cup of walnut halves
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- heavy cream or milk for thinning
- Set the oven to 350F
- Begin by toasting the walnuts. Spread out the nuts on a dry baking sheet and put in the oven for 10-15 minuted, just until you can smell their aroma and they have crisped up. Watch carefully, and give the pan a shake or two during toasting. Let cool before chopping.
- Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl. Be sure to get all the lumps. Beat in the eggs and the sugars, and then add the oil, buttermilk. and vanilla. Blend well.
- Sift the dry ingredients right into the bowl, and fold in lightly, just until everything is blended. Fold in the nuts.
- Spray a 9x9 square baking pan with cooking spray, and line it with parchment if you want to be able to life the cake out for clean frosting. Turn the batter into the pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Don't over bake.
- Let the cake cool before frosting.
- To make the frosting, put the soft butter in a large bowl (use the same bowl, just give it a rinse and dry it.) Blend in the espresso powder, and then sift one cup of the sugar and the cocoa powder on top and begin to beat, slowly at first. Sift in the rest of the sugar while beating, along with enough cream to thin the frosting to a spreadable consistency. Add the vanilla and beat until everything is smooth.
The cake portion of this recipe is adapted from Ina Garten
This isn’t the time to deny yourself, it’s Friday!