Banana Chocolate-Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

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I was flipping through my recipe binder not too long ago, and this recipe caught my eye. Side note: I’ve collected recipes over the years that sound good, put them in a binder and promptly forget about them. My intention is to bake it someday. It’s just hard to determine when “someday” is. I was eager to bake this cake, but I didn’t have any banana’s in the house and assumed that I might get lucky and find a couple of old over ripened ones at the market. No such luck, so I went to the web (nature’s encyclopedia) and hunted for ways to quickly ripen bananas.

A few sites recommended putting the bananas in a paper bag with bread or a tomato and leaving it for about 24hrs. I didn’t have that kind of time. Well, actually I had all the time in the world, but I was impatient and wanted to make the cake that day, so moving on. A number of people recommended another technique. Putting the bananas (whole, not peeled) in a 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes until the skin is almost black. The theory is that it quickens the ripening process allowing the natural sugars in the peel to sweeten and soften the bananas. The only potential drawback is, they may not be as soft as authentically ripened bananas. Whatever! I’m going for it.

Problem number one: The bananas were black, and soft, but they weren’t as soft at authentic ripened bananas. They were a bit on the stiff side and weren’t as sweet, but I’ve committed to this cake, so I pushed on. Problem number two: the recipe called for 3 cups of flour, 2 sticks of butter and 2 teaspoons of salt. That sounded like a lot of flour in ratio to the butter, and 2 teaspoons of salt sounded excessive, but I plowed on. Side note: Unless I’m thoroughly convinced the recipe is off, I usually follow it to the letter on the first try. I always assume that I might learn something. Problem number three: THe only wet ingredient in the recipe was sour cream, which should have raised a red flag.

The results: yuck! I thought the cake was pretty gross. It was heavy, dry, un-sweet salty mess. I’m sure the lack of sweetness came from the bananas as well as the extra starch. The frosting was really good though. I didn’t have any creamy peanut butter on hand, so I used extra chunky. It was….interesting. I will make this recipe again tweaking a few things and making sure that I have very ripe bananas.

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Banana-Chocolate Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Ingredients

Cake:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups mashed very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 10-ounce bag mini chocolate chips

Frosting:

  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, and chocolate kisses

Special equipment: Two 8x8x2″ cake pans

Method

Make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment; coat paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl. Beat in vanilla.

Add dry ingredients; beat on low speed just to blend. Add bananas and sour cream; beat just to blend. Fold in mini chips. Divide batter evenly among pans; smooth tops.

Bake cakes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks; peel off parchment and let cool completely.

Make the frosting:

Using an electric mixer, beat first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl until a light and fluffy frosting forms, 2–3 minutes.

Place 1 cake on a platter. Spread 1 1/4 cups frosting over. Place remaining cake on top. Cover top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Garnish with chocolate chips and kisses.

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