Four bananas, well past their prime, sat in our fruit bowl yesterday. Four. I never buy bananas with the intention of letting them turn shades of brown (does anyone? Well, maybe) but sometimes that happens.
And sometimes that happens a few times in a few weeks, as it has recently. I always feel a little guilty when we buy bananas but don’t get around to eating them all. Each brown spot that appears feels like a little nudge of failure — like I didn’t plan well enough, or didn’t pack lunches well enough.
But if there’s a silver lining, it’s that those brown bananas mean banana baked goods and other treats. My whole family likes that, and when I can put those bananas to good use there’s nothing to feel guilty about.
In my head, I ran through the things I could make with them: four batches of Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes. A loaf of banana bread, and a batch of those pancakes. Smoothies. Banana berry applesauce.
But as I dug through my recipes for banana bread, I remembered a recipe I made a few months ago. It was a banana cake that I’d found in an old community cookbook from a school I attended as a child. The recipe produced a moist, dense cake with big banana flavor, and we really liked it. But I wanted something lighter, so I took that recipe and adjusted it, using baking powder instead of baking soda for a lighter cake that’s still moist and banana-y.
And then I added more: A layer of rich, sweet milk chocolate spread on top of the cake. It’s somewhere between a ganache and a frosting, and glazes the top of the airy banana cake just right. This is perfect for serving to guests — you know, in case you’re doing that this weekend. Chocolate and banana? They are always a good pair.
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 over-ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour
- Chocolate Glaze:
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp milk
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar and bananas. Add the vanilla extract, baking powder and salt and stir well to combine. Add the flour and stir until incorporated. Pour into the baking pan, tapping gently to even out.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, before loosening the edges and turning out onto a cooling rack. Let cool.
- When the cake is cooled, make the glaze. Add the chocolate chips and milk to a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until the chocolate is melted and incorporated with the milk. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes.
- Spoon the glaze onto the cake, and use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to gently spread out over the top.
- Dust with sprinkles, if desired. Enjoy.
What’s your favorite way to use overripe bananas?