Have you ever had something so good it brought tears to your eyes and left you at a loss for words? This classic Southern cake might fall into that category.
It wasn’t unusual to find a freshly baked banana cake sitting on my Grandmother’s kitchen counter. This tender cake bursting with the flavor of ripe bananas would tempt you for another bite – or two! Topping banana cake with a creamy vanilla buttercream frosting was most common but this version with a dark chocolate fudge frosting is far more decadent. Think a cross between a ganache and your Mother’s failed fudge!
To make any good banana cake or banana bread you have to start with really ripe bananas. You want the dark bananas. They’re not the most attractive but definitely the sweetest and full of that fruity banana flavor you’re looking for in your cake. Add creamy butter along with a hint of pure vanilla extract and the result will be a luscious cake with a tender crumb .
Then there’s the frosting. It’s chocolaty, buttery, thick and rich. You’ll want to use a high quality cocoa powder – the chocolate should stand out and really play off the bananas. The finished frosting is not as gorgeous as a buttercream but looks don’t shortchange you on the taste!
This recipe makes a layer cake consisting of two 9-inch layers but you can certainly bake it in a cake pan. You might need to adjust the time a bit. You’ll want to grease and flour the cake pans so that the cake layers come out clean. Bananas get sticky when they’re cooked and will have a tendency to well, stick to the pan. Adding a round of parchment paper in the bottom is extra insurance the layers will come out in one piece!
Pour a glass of cold milk, cut a slice of cake and be prepared for some indulgence!
Banana Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting
For the cake:
1-1/2 sticks of butter – ¾ cups at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup buttermilk
4 ripe bananas, mashed – about 1-1/2 cups
Cream the butter on medium speed of your mixer until it light and creamy.
Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until it’s blended into the butter and the mixture is fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time blending well before adding another.
Pour in the vanilla and mix into the batter.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, the baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt. Add about one-third of the flour to the batter.
Alternate with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat just until the flour disappears to prevent over-beating the cake batter.
On low speed blend the bananas into the mixture.
Divide the batter evenly between two 9” round cake prepared pans.
Bake at 350-degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. When the cakes are done, set them on a wire rack and let them cool in the pans for ten minutes. Then turn them out on a wire rack to finish cooling.
While the cake cools make the frosting.
Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
1 stick of butter – ½ cup
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup half and half
4 cups sifted powdered sugar (don’t skip the sifting process or you’ll have a lumpy frosting)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Melt the butter along with the cocoa powder and the half and half in a saucepan over medium heat.
Stir together and continue cooking until the chocolate mixture is thick and glossy. Use a whisk if needed to break up any lumps in the cocoa powder.
Turn off the heat and add the powdered sugar, blending in about 1 cup at a time. Add the vanilla.
Then using an electric mixer beat the frosting until it is thick and creamy.
To assemble the cake:
Place one layer of the cake – top down on a cake plate. Cover the top of the layer with the frosting, spreading to the edges.
Add the second layer – top up. Finish by frosting the sides and the top of the cake.