Chocolate and banana is one of my all time favorite combinations. This buttery banana cake is studded with chocolate chips and layered with freshly whipped cream and delicious caramel.
Make sure you use really ripe bananas spotted with brown for the cake, but unblemished ripe bananas for the cake filling. I used regular sized chocolate chips because I had them on hand, but mini chips are better.
Banana-Chocolate Chip CakeAdapted, slightly from Sky-High-Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes Makes one 8-inch three layer cake, Serves 12 to 16 I couldn’t find cajeta or dulce de leche for the Caramel Drizzle at any of the local supermarkets here, so I ended up making my own (recipe below). If you have access to the pre-made stuff, feel free to use it. Warm 1-cup in a small saucepan on low heat, until just heated through – remove from heat and whisk in three tablespoons of dark rum. I also used full-size chocolate chips because that’s what I had on hand – the mini chips are better.
Cake2 1/4 cups cake flour 1 1/3 cups sugar 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (or another 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 stick (4 ounces) plus one tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup mashed, very ripe, bananas 3 eggs 3/4 cup buttermilk 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for decoration Fillings 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 3 tablespoons sugar 2 bananas, ripe but firm, thinly sliced 1 cup of Caramel Drizzle – see note above or recipe below
Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees F.
Butter the bottoms of three round 8-inch cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper, and butter the paper.
For the cake, place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. With an electric mixer on low, blend dry ingredients together until completely combined, about 1 minute. Add the butter and mashed bananas; beat until well blended. Raise the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Combine eggs, buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl, whisking to blend. Add buttermilk-egg mixture to batter in three additions. Be sure to scrape the down the bowl and beat until just blended after each addition. Fold in half of the chocolate chips. Divide batter among prepared pans (kitchen scale works great here). Sprinkle remaining chips on top.
Bake the cakes for 25-28 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes. Remove from pans and carefully peel off parchment paper liners. Let cakes cool completely before filling and frosting.
For the filling, whip the cream in a chilled bowl with three tablespoons of sugar until stiff.
To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with 2 to 3 tablespoons of caramel drizzle, spreading a thin but even layer across the entire surface of the cake. Arrange about half of the banana slices on top of caramel. Top with 1 cup of whipped cream spreading almost to the edge of the cake. Repeat layers with second cake layer. Top with final cake layer; finish with another 2 to 3 tablespoons of caramel drizzle and remaining whipped cream. Decorate with chocolate chips and additional banana slices if desired. Serve immediately with remaining caramel drizzle on the side.
Homemade Dulce De LecheAdapted slightly, from Alton Brown This takes awhile, but I think it’s totally worth it. 1 quart whole milk 12 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Combine the milk, sugar, vanilla bean in a large, 4-quart saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the baking soda and stir to combine.
Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered at a very low simmer. Stir occasionally, but do not re-incorporate the foam that appears on the top of the mixture. Continue to cook for 1 hour. Remove the vanilla bean after 1 hour and continue to cook until the mixture is a dark caramel color and has reduced to about 1 cup, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a month.