Susan’s Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Active time: :20 min.Total time: :1 hour, plus cooling time.
Yield: :Makes one 8” 2-layer cake

On the surface, so simple. A moist, richly banana-flavored, two-layer cake with a dark chocolate frosting. No frills or fancies. No nuts, chocolate chips or chunks, no crispy bits or coconut. Just a basic banana cake with a simple chocolate frosting. And yet, in the marriage of these two tastes something extraordinary happens. It is cake alchemy.



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed overripe bananas (I let mine go very brown and then store in the freezer in their skins … two large or three small bananas is usually 1 cup mashed, just thaw on the counter, slip out of their peels with the liquid and then mush up)
  • 1/2cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
  • 1stick butter, melted
  • 116 oz. box confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces coffee milk (about half and half leftover coffee and whole milk), cold

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 8” round cake pans. Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer or in a large bowl with your hand mixer until fluffy and add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth. Sift the remaining dry ingredients together. 

Step 2

Mash bananas in a bowl with sour cream and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and banana mixture alternately to the sugar and egg mixture in thirds, blending to combine each time, but trying not to overbeat. 

Step 3

Divide into two cake pans and bake 27-34 minutes, until a skewer in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack completely before frosting.

Step 4

Prepare the frosting: Blend melted chocolate with melted butter and vanilla. Sift the sugar and salt to remove lumps, then blend into chocolate butter mixture. It should look like wet sand.  

Step 5

Add 1 tablespoon of coffee milk at a time until you reach the right consistency, it should be thick and spreadable and you should be able to make good swirls. Leave at room temp until you frost the cake.

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