Chocolate Banana Cake:
2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
1 3/4 cups (245 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (75 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium sized bananas)
1 cup (240 ml) warm water
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1/2 cup (120 ml) corn, safflower or canola oil (or other flavorless oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Chocolate Ganache Frosting:
8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter
Chocolate Banana Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk, until combined. You will notice that the batter is quite thin. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cooled, frost with the Ganache.
Ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel, or heatproof bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat (can also be heated in the microwave). Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. When Ganache has completely cooled, beat until soft and fluffy (I use a wire whisk). Then spread the frosting on top of the cake. Can garnish with dried banana chips.
Serves 16 people.
Ripe bananas sitting on the counter means it is time to bake. Often times I make banana bread which is perfect in the mornings with yogurt and fresh fruit. But when I want a delicious and quick weekday dessert this Chocolate Banana Cake is what I turn to. This recipe is one I adapted from Canadian Jane Rodmell's Best Summer Weekends Cookbook. It is lovely. It combines the sweetness of ripe mashed bananas with cocoa powder and to make it even more chocolately, the cake is frosted with a smooth and creamy Chocolate Ganache. This would also be the perfect cake for family gatherings as it feeds up to 16 people.
Chocolate Banana Cake is a snap to put together. Fifteen minutes is about all you need. It is more like a quick bread in that you do not use a mixer, just two bowls. One for the dry ingredients and one for the wet ingredients. The two are then mixed together and you are done. The fat is in liquid form, which gives the cake a wonderful moist texture and tender crumb that keeps the cake soft even when refrigerated. As far as the type of oil to use in this cake, I like to use canola, but safflower, vegetable, or corn oils are also good. As I said above, the frosting is a Chocolate Ganache, which is a French term referring to a smooth mixture of chopped chocolate and heavy cream. While it is often poured over a cake or torte for a smooth and shiny glaze, this time it is whipped so it becomes a nice thick and spreadable frosting.