A sturdy, wholesome, cardamom-laced banana cake with chocolate frosting.
Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting Recipe
This lovely little number is a sturdy brown butter infused, cardamom-scented banana cake topped with a swipe of chocolate frosting. I have a million (give or take) banana cake recipes on this site (plus banana bread, muffins, etc.) but there will be more in future and there’s always room for more!
I love a classic banana cake topped with chocolate icing; the chocolate elevates the humble cake into something more elegant. In this recipe, brown butter brings a deep, dark depth of flavor that’s complemented by brown sugar and cardamom. You’ll find ginger and cinnamon, too, but cardamom is the overarching flavor note.
This is not quite a one-bowl cake but it’s so simple you could whip it up in minutes on an afternoon when you have a lot of ripe bananas. The main effort comes in browning the butter but really it’s so worth the little bit of extra time needed to watch the butter get deliciously crackly. Dark chocolate frosting made with bittersweet chocolate takes this cake over the top.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Depth of flavor. The browned butter and warming spices play together to create a complex and interesting cake.
Bananas! The natural sweetness of bananas makes this cake sweet without requiring too much added sugar. Bananas are a wonderful fruit for baking, lending flavor, texture, and moisture.
Whole grain flour. You can use spelt flour or whole grain pastry flour in this recipe. Whole grain flour makes for a heartier cake, and it’s much better for you than all-purpose flour.
Banana + chocolate = delicious. Remember those frozen bananas dipped in chocolate you loved as a kid? I did anyway. This cake is a grown-up version of that favorite childhood treat.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Spelt flour
- Unsalted butter
- Dark brown sugar
- Maple syrup
- Baking powder
- Warming spices: Ground cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger
- Greek yogurt
- Semisweet chocolate
How to Make Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting
For the full instructions, see the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Preheat oven. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with butter and line with a round of parchment paper.
- Brown the butter. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts. When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown. Swirl the pan as the butter cooks. Remove from heat.
- Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon.
- Combine bananas. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, and yogurt. Whisk in the mashed bananas, maple syrup, and browned butter.
- Fold together batter. Mix the wet ingredients into the flour mix.
- Bake. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Assemble cake. Make frosting and frost cake.
Hint: If you’re not ready to use your ripe bananas, take them out of their skins and store the fruit in a plastic freezer bag. Bring to room temperature or gently defrost in the microwave before using in recipes.
To store, wrap the cake tightly and keep in the fridge for 5 days. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Not really! The riper bananas are, the better they become for baking, bringing loads of natural sweetness and flavor to your bakes.
Two medium-sized bananas equal one cup of mashed bananas. Keep this on file for when you use your previously frozen bananas in baking.
My answer will always and unequivocally be “yes!” Banana and chocolate is a gorgeous combo, on par with another classic: banana and peanut butter.
Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups spelt or whole wheat pastry flour
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- ¾ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 3 bananas, mashed about 1 ½ cups mashed bananas
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with butter and line with a round of parchment paper.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts. When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown. Swirl the pan as the butter cooks. When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove the pan from the flame and transfer the butter to a small bowl. Taking the butter out of the hot saucepan will stop the butter from overcooking and burning. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, and yogurt. Whisk in the mashed bananas and maple syrup. When butter has cooled, whisk in the browned butter.
- Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Fold together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- When cake is cooled, make frosting: In a large bowl using an electric beater, whip the butter. Add the chocolate and sugar a ½ cup at a time, continuing to beat until a creamy frosting forms. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if you wish. Frost the top of the cake with the frosting.