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Chocolate Chip Banana Cake

This chocolate chip banana cake is made with fluffy, chocolate chip-studded banana cake layers and decadent chocolate buttercream frosting.

It’s such a delicious combination of flavors and textures. I love it so much I even made it for my birthday last year!!

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 overripe bananas on a counter

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 in mind, 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

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 F / 150 C and place your unpeeled bananas on a foil-lined baking sheet.

image of unripe bananas that have been placed on a foil lined baking sheet to be quickly ripened in the oven

Bake them for about 15 minutes, or 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 unripe bananas that have been placed on a foil lined baking sheet to be quickly ripened by being baked the oven

I use this hack all the time for banana bread and it works like a charm.

Substitutions and Swaps

While I love this chocolate chip banana cake recipe just the way it is, I know some of you might not have all these ingredients on hand!

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this recipe:

  • Overripe Bananas – If you don’t have overripe bananas on hand, bake your bananas at 300 F for about 15 minutes or until the skins of the bananas are black.
  • Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice really enhances the banana flavor in this recipe and prevents the mashed bananas from browning. It can be left out if needed though!
  • All-Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with AP flour, but you can use a cup-for-cup gluten free flour blend in its place if needed.
  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter, on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter in this recipe. Just be sure to omit the salt that this recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Baking Powder / Baking Soda – This recipe uses both leavening agents, and both are important to help this recipe rise correctly! Make sure both types of leavening agents are properly measured and haven’t expired.
  • 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 use 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 silky smooth, decadent dark 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 over-mix 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 also be used to make one 9×13 inch sheet cake. Bake it at 325 F/ 163 C 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 makes 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 leave a comment and/or rating below.

And don’t forget to tag me @chelsweets and #chelsweets so I can see your beautiful creations!! 🙂

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 cake is made with fluffy, chocolate chip-studded 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 ripe bananas, mashed - about 3 large bananas (450g)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (8g)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (375g)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (4g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (6g)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (3g)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed (133g)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature (168g)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (8g)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sour cream, room temperature (380g)
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips - tossed with 1 tsp flour (130g)

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled (180g)
  • 2 cups or 4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (452g)
  • 1 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (100g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (3g)
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (625g)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (120g)

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (45g)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (60g)

Additional Filling / Decorations

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

Instructions

Banana Cake Layers

  1. Make the banana cake layers first. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C and grease and line 3, 8-inch cake pans. Set aside.
  2. Mash 3 large bananas with either a fork or a mixer and stir together with 2 tsp of lemon juice. This prevents the bananas from browning. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk 3 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt together. Set aside.
  4. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to beat 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of granulated sugar, and 2/3 cup of brown sugar together. Mix on a high speed for about 3 minutes. The mixture should get lighter in color as air is whipped into it. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  5. Mix in 3 large eggs and 2 tsp of vanilla extract on a medium speed.
  6. Mix in half of the dry ingredients on a low speed until just combined.
  7. Add in 1 1/2 cups of sour cream and mix until incorporated, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients on a low speed. Be careful not to over-mix the batter once you've added in the flour. The batter will be on the thick side.
  8. Mix in the mashed bananas on a medium speed until just combined.
  9. Carefully fold in the flour dusted mini chocolate chips with a rubber spatula until they're evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  10. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 26-29 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. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then flip them onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  11. If desired, torte each cake layer by cutting it in half horizontally with a serrated knife to make 6, thinner layers.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  1. Melt the chocolate first so that it has time to cool off before it's added into the frosting. Heat it in 15 second intervals, stirring between each interval until the chocolate is fully melted. Set aside.
  2. Beat 2 cups of butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment until smooth. 
  3. Add in 1 cup of cocoa, tsp vanilla extract, and 1/2 tsp salt. Mix on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  4. Gradually mix in 5 cups of powdered sugar and 1/2 cup of heavy cream on a low speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  5. 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 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat 1/4 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. The mixture should thicken and be 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 (30 minutes) or freezer (5 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 (30 minutes) or freezer (5 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 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 over-mix 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 makes 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 563Total Fat 33gSaturated Fat 20gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 95mgSodium 190mgCarbohydrates 69gFiber 2gSugar 50gProtein 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

 

Alyssa

Tuesday 4th of May 2021

Have you tried these for cupcakes? I would like to make them as cupcakes

Shannon

Tuesday 13th of April 2021

Would this be enough frosting for an 8inch 3 layer cake?!

Brenda Kingsley

Monday 29th of April 2019

I want to make this cake for a birthday, but worried the bananas layered in the center will turn brown. Thoughts?

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