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Chocolate Chip Banana Cake

Chocolate and bananas have always been a delicious flavor combination. After making s’mores banana bread, I had the bright idea to make this chocolate chip banana cake.

And boy am I glad I did! This chocolate banana layer cake is to die for. It’s made with fluffy chocolate chip banana cake layers and a decadent chocolate buttercream frosting.

image of a chocolate chip banana cake made with banana cake layers and a fudgy chocolate buttercream frosting

Why is it Better to Use Overripe Bananas?

Most banana recipes insist on using only the ripest bananas, including this one. But why are overripe bananas better to bake with??

image of super ripe brown bananas, ready to be used to make banana bread

There are actually several reasons. The first is that as a banana ripens, more of its starch is converted into sugar. This creates sweeter, more tender baked goods.

Another benefit of baking with super ripe bananas is that they’re super easy to mash up. This ensures your banana cake layers have a uniform, even texture without any unexpected chunks of banana.

Overripe bananas are also more aromatic, and give baked goods a more intense banana flavor than yellow bananas.

image of banana bread batter being made with super ripe, brown bananas

The final and best reason (in my opinion) is that it uses up overripe fruit that would otherwise go to waste!

With all that being said, this recipe will still turn out if you use yellow bananas. It just won’t have as intense of a banana flavor!

Baking Hack: How to Quickly Ripen Bananas for Baking

If you only have yellow bananas and want that intense banana flavor, don’t worry!

You can easily turn yellow bananas brown in a matter of minutes. Preheat your oven to 300 degree F, and place your unpeeled bananas on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Bake them for about 15 minutes, until the banana skin is uniformly dark in color.

Let them cool on that pan for 10 minutes, then carefully peel and mash them.

image of mashed bananas being prepared to make banana bread

Substitutions and Swaps – Banana Cake Layers

Below are some swaps and substitutions that you can make in this chocolate banana layer cake recipe.

  • Mashed Bananas – You can use fresh or frozen (and thawed) bananas in this recipe.
  • Lemon Juice – This just helps prevent your bananas from browning! You can skip it if needed.
  • All-Purpose Flour: This recipe turns out best with AP flour but you can use cake flour or gluten free flour if needed.
  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Granulated Sugar – If needed you can use all granulated sugar and skip the brown sugar, but I recommend using both types of sugar if possible.
  • Brown Sugar – You can use light or dark brown sugar in this recipe, but I prefer using light brown sugar.
  • Whole Eggs – If you have an egg allergy you can use 3 flaxseed eggs or 3/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce + 1 extra Tbsp baking powder.
  • Sour Cream – You can also use full fat yogurt, buttermilk, whole milk, or an alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free.
  • Mini Chocolate Chips – This mix-in is totally optional and you can omit it or used chopped up chocolate bits if you don’t have any on hand.
image of chocolate chip banana cake layers that have been torted in half

Substitutions and Swaps – Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Cocoa Powder – If you don’t have unsweetened cocoa powder you can use additional powdered sugar in its place.
  • Chocolate – Melt down your favorite type of chocolate to make this frosting! Milk, semi-sweet and dark chocolate all work great!
  • Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat) will work fine in this frosting recipe if that’s what you have on hand.
image of chocolate buttercream

Tips for Making the Best Chocolate Banana Layer Cake

  • Properly measure your flour. Either spoon it into the cup measure, then level with a knife or use a kitchen scale.
  • Don’t overmix your batter! Mix on the speed the recipe recommends until the ingredients are just combined.
  • Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature to help them mix together better.
  • Don’t level your cake layers until they are completely cooled.
  • Torte your cake layers (cut them in half horizontally) to make 6, thin cake layers. This creates an amazing frosting to cake ratio that makes every bite absolutely delicious.
  • Make sure your buttercream is the right consistency before frosting your cake! It will help give your cake proper structure and make it easier to decorate.
  • Let your chocolate ganache cool and thicken before spreading it around the cake. It’s also important to only add the ganache once your cake has been chilled and the frosting is firm to the touch.
  • If your cake layers turn out less than perfect, I recommend reading my cake troubleshooting guide to see where things might’ve gone awry.

Making This Chocolate Banana Layer Cake In Different Sizes

This recipe can also be used to make different sized cakes. You can also half or double the ingredients to make a half or double batch!

You can make four 6″ cake layers with one batch of batter. Bake the cake layers at 350 F / 175 C for 30-33 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

image of chocolate chip banana cake layers in an 8-inch pan ready to be baked

One batch of batter can be also be used to make one 9×13 inch spice sheet cake. Bake it at 325F for 40-50 minutes and use flower nails or heating cores to help the cake bake evenly.

You can also use this recipe to make a bundt cake! Bake time can vary based on the size and type of pan you use, and can take anywhere from 45-75 minutes. I recommend using a toothpick to test for doneness and checking on it every 5-10 minutes once it’s been in the oven for 45 minutes.

The final variation of this recipe is cupcakes!! This recipe makes about 24 regular sized cupcakes. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Making This Chocolate Banana Layer Cake in Advance & Storage Tips

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to a month. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month. The frosting locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious! Just wait to add the banana slices (they’ll brown overtime) or use banana chips instead.
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.
image of a slice of chocolate chip banana cake that's filled with delicious chocolate buttercream frosting

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this chocolate chip banana cake recipe, please tag me @chelsweets and use the #chelsweets, so I can see your beautiful creations!!

Also leave a comment below and/or a rating to let me know your thoughts.

Other Recipes You Might Like

Yield: 24

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake

image of a chocolate chip banana cake made with banana cake layers and a fudgy chocolate buttercream frosting

This chocolate chip banana layer cake is to die for! It's made with fluffy banana cake layers and a decadent chocolate buttercream frosting.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 17 minutes

Ingredients

Banana Cake Layer Recipe (adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction)

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas - about 3 large bananas (375 grams)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (8 grams)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (360 grams)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (4 grams)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (6 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (170 grams)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (150 grams)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature (168 grams)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (8 grams)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sour cream, room temperature (380 grams)
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips - tossed with 1 tsp flour (130 grams)

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups (or 4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (434 grams)
  • 1 cup sifted, unsweetened baking cocoa (80 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp fine table salt (3 grams)
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (625 grams)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (120 grams)
  • 1 cup of melted semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled (180 grams)

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (46 grams)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (40 grams)

Additional Filling / Decorations

  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 fresh bananas, sliced

Instructions

Banana Cake Layers

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line 3 round 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
  2. Use a fork or mixer to mash the bananas with the lemon juice. This will prevent them from browning. Set aside.
  3. Sift or whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together on high speed (about 2 minutes). The mixture should become lighter in color. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  5. Mix in the eggs one at a time, at a medium speed until combined.
  6. Next mix in the mashed bananas and vanilla extract on a medium speed. The batter might break or look clumpy, but don't worry! It'll come back together once we mix in the dry ingredients.
  7. Add in half the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated on a low speed.
  8. Mix in the sour cream on a medium-low speed, then mix in the rest of the dry ingredients until combined.
  9. Carefully fold in the flour dusted mini chocolate chips with a rubber spatula until they're evenly distributed throughout the batter. The batter will be on the thick side, but that's exactly how it should be!
  10. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 26-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove the cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then flip them onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment until smooth. 
  2. Add in the sifted cocoa, vanilla extract and salt, and mix on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  3. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. Half way through, add in the heavy cream to make the frosting easier to mix.
  4. Mix in the cooled, melted semi-sweet chocolate on a low speed until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent crusting and set aside.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Place 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat 1/2 cup of heavy cream in a heatproof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until it's steaming and just starting to bubble. If you don’t have a microwave or prefer to use the stove top, you can heat the cream over a medium heat in a pan until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat.
  3. Gently pour the heavy cream over the chocolate, making sure it's fully covered with cream. Allow the mixture to sit for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir slowly until the cream and chocolate are fully combined and mixture is smooth.
  5. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes, until the mixture thickens and is just slightly warm to the touch.

Assembling This Chocolate Chip Banana Layer Cake

  1. Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board, using a dab of chocolate buttercream to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  2. Spread an even layer of chocolate buttercream on top of each cake layer as you stack them with a large offset spatula, and sprinkle 2 Tbsp of mini chocolate chips on top of the frosting.
  3. Cover the cake in a thin coat of chocolate buttercream. Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (20 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes) until the buttercream is firm to the touch.
  4. Add a second, thicker layer of chocolate buttercream to the cake, and smooth using a bench scraper. Chill the cake again in the fridge (20 minutes) or freezer (10 minutes) until the buttercream is firm to the touch.
  5. Swipe diagonal lines of the cooled, thickened chocolate ganache around the base of the cake with a large offset spatula. Top the cake with banana slices, a swirl of additional chocolate ganache, and the remaining mini chocolate chips.

Notes

This recipe can be made with a stand mixer or hand hand mixer. I like to use the whisk attachment when making the batter, and the paddle attachment for the frosting, but you can also use a large bowl and a hand mixer.

Tips for Making the Best Chocolate Banana Layer Cake

  • Properly measure your flour. Either spoon it into the cup measure, then level with a knife or use a kitchen scale.
  • Don’t overmix your batter! Mix on the speed the recipe recommends until the ingredients are just combined.
  • Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature to help them mix together better.
  • Don’t level your cake layers until they are completely cooled.
  • Torte your cake layers (cut them in half horizontally) to make 6, thin cake layers. This creates an amazing frosting to cake ratio that makes every bite absolutely delicious.
  • Make sure your buttercream is the right consistency before frosting your cake! It will help give your cake proper structure and make it easier to decorate.
  • If your cake layers turn out less than perfect, I recommend reading my cake troubleshooting guide to see where things might've gone awry.

Making This Chocolate Banana Layer Cake in Advance & Storage Tips

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to a month. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month. The frosting locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious! Just wait to add the banana slices (they'll brown overtime) or use banana chips instead.
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 390Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 47mgSodium 202mgCarbohydrates 65gFiber 3gSugar 45gProtein 4g

If you want to take a stroll down memory lane, below are the original pictures of this cake from 2013. I originally used cream cheese frosting, but decided to amp things up with chocolate when I remade it.

Picture 485
022

 

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