skip to Main Content
Menu

Lusciously moist chocolate chip banana loaf

I know most of you are familiar with banana bread, but I refuse to call it that. It’s not bread folks. With butter, sour cream, eggs, sugar and more, it’s really cake. So why does everyone call it banana bread? And more irritating, why do I sometimes find it in the bread basket on restaurant tables, when what I really want with my steak dinner is a good baguette or crusty piece of Italian bread.

This recipe is from a website cooked Cookies and Cups  and it’s referred to as “The Best Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe.” While it’s pretty darn delicious, another pet peeve of mine is when recipes are referred to as “the best” or “world’s best.” I mean, come on, have you really tasted every single recipe for that particular dish that’s out there? But enough kvetching. I guess that class decades ago at Columbia Journalism School with Judith Crist critiquing (no, savaging) my work taught me and my classmates how to write without hyperbole. Moreover, years of working in a newsroom with editors breathing down your neck also forced me to write “just the facts, ma’am” (except the editors weren’t so kind in their comments.) But I digress.

What I can honestly say though, is this is the best chocolate chip banana bread/cake/loaf I’ve ever eaten. My decades-old version of this recipe is getting the heave-ho to make room for this one. And you may feel the same way if you give this a try.

It’s simple to make using just a bowl and a wooden spoon to mix. It contains both butter and sour cream, and in addition to the mashed bananas, it uses thinly sliced bananas, making for one moist cake. Make sure your bananas are really ripe — dark brown and ready-for-the-trash can ripe. You’ll get the most intense flavor that way.

After lining the pan with some parchment paper and pouring in the batter, sprinkle with some additional chocolate chips. And use the mini chips, since the large ones have a tendency to sink to the bottom.

Bake it for at least an hour (it took 65 minutes for mine to cook completely), slice and enjoy. It’s especially good when warm, but the next day it’s even better since the flavors have had time to meld.

You could omit the chocolate chips and the walnuts too, if you like, and you’ll still be left with one delicious banana bread, er, loaf, or cake or whatever. It may even be the world’s best. But I doubt you’ll hear that from me.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too.)

Chocolate chip banana loaf
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 medium bananas, divided
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips (and more to sprinkle on top)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom and up the short sides with a strip of parchment paper. Spray again with nonstick spray.
  3. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl mash 2 of the bananas with a fork, leaving them slightly lumpy.
  5. Slice the remaining banana thinly, and set aside.
  6. In a large bowl stir together the butter and sugar.
  7. Mix in the eggs and vanilla and stir until smooth. Add the sour cream, mashed bananas, baking soda, and salt, and stir until blended.
  8. Next mix in the flour until incorporated.
  9. Fold in the chocolate chips, walnuts, and sliced banana.
  10. Pour batter into the prepared pan - sprinkle with a few more chocolate chips -- and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (mine took 65 minutes to completely cook)
  11. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, and then using the parchment paper as handles, carefully lift the banana bread out of the pan to cool on a wire rack.
 

Banana Cake With Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

 It’s wickedly caloric but wickedly good. I’m blaming it all on a snowstorm and that salted caramel sauce I saw on Stacey Snacks’ blog. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 I had just come in from shoveling the driveway for the umpteenth time this year and although it was cold outside, I had worked up a sweat and was craving ice cream. All I had was plain vanilla, but to dress it up, I could quickly whip up a caramel sauce. Never mind that there are a gazillion calories in caramel sauce (not to mention ice cream). Hey, I deserved it after all the shoveling this season.
Fast forward two days later when I had baked a banana cake for my Italian chit chat group. Not just any banana cake, but really the best banana cake I’d ever tried. It’s from my friend Jan, who gave me the recipe decades ago when our kids were babies. Over the years, I lost sight of it and finally took the time to scrounge through stacks of old recipes to find it. I could have made the buttercream frosting that came with the recipe – delicious in its own right. But with the extra caramel sauce that was too much of a temptation for my weak resolve, I used it instead in a frosting, incorporating a bit of leftover cream cheese too and sharing the caramel goodness (and calories) with a bunch of other women.
Now you can enjoy it too. Just make sure you balance the calories with some jogging – or snow shoveling – which shouldn’t be a problem with a lot of winter still ahead of us.

Jan’s Banana Cake
printable recipe here

2 eggs
2/3 c. softened butter
1 t. vanilla
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/4 c. mashed very ripe bananas (about 2)

crushed walnuts for decorating the sides of the cake

Grease the bottom and sides of two layer cake pans and line with greased waxed or parchment paper. Beat the first four ingredients together until smooth. Combine the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, alternately with the buttermilk and banana. Pour and spread in the prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees until centers are set – about 20 to 25 minutes. when cold, fill and frost with either rich butter icing or the cream cheese caramel frosting. Decorate the top with a little of the reserved caramel sauce, and press crushed walnuts onto the sides of the cake.


Rich Butter Icing  (a delicious recipe, and the original one that Jan uses, but I used the cream cheese caramel frosting instead)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 c. sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 egg yolk
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. cream

Cream Cheese Caramel Frosting

6 oz. – 8 oz. softened cream cheese (a typical bar of cream cheese is 8 oz., but I had already eaten some, so I used only what was left – 6 oz. – and it was fine)
1/2 cup butter
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup caramel sauce (below)
Beat the cream cheese and butter until well blended. Add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and caramel sauce until smooth. Spread on interior layer of cake, then on the sides and top of cake.

After incorporating the 1/2 cup caramel sauce into the frosting, you’ll have enough caramel sauce left over to drizzle over the top of the cake too. Drizzle in concentric circles, then run a toothpick or knife through the circles at equal distances. You might need to reheat the sauce a bit to make it pourable

Salted Caramel Sauce (from Bon Appetit):

1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cream
3 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (not regular salt)

In a small, heavy saucepan, heat the water and sugar on medium boil until turning golden, 8-10 minutes.
You can scrape the brown bits on the sides of the pan down with a wet pastry brush.

 

Take the golden liquid off the heat and carefully add in the cream, it will bubble and boil, so be careful not to splatter yourself.


Place back on the stove and stir for 2 minutes.

Add in 3 tbsp butter and salt and cook another minute or two until the butter and mixture is nice and smooth.

Transfer to a heat resistant vessel, and place in the fridge to cool. You can make the caramel sauce 5 days in advance.