Most families have a special dish for birthdays. Banana cake was my family’s and still is. According to history, this cake was invented during the 1930s Depression era in the United States by housewives looking for other means of making some extra money at home. During this time, baking soda and baking powder were starting to get popular, a key ingredient for making this cake. Housewives of the 50s and 60s added their own flair with different toppings like white cake frosting, whipped cream, or with this version, chocolate frosting. It is not only delicious, but so good that it might end up becoming your family’s birthday go-to for generations to come.
Grandma Peg’s Original Recipe:
Banana Cake or Cupcakes with Chocolate Chips and Mocha Frosting
- Stand Mixer with paddle and whisk attachments
- 9 to 10-inch springform pan or 2 layer cake pans or 3 cupcake pans (optional)
- ½ cup Butter, softened
- 1½ cup Sugar
- 2 large Eggs
- 2 cups All-purpose flour
- ½ tsp Baking powder
- ¾ tsp Baking soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¼ cup Sour milk (whole milk with 1 tsp vinegar added)
- 1 cup Ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 6 oz Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1½ cup Confectioner's (powdered) sugar
- 4 tbsp Butter, softened
- 2 squares Bitter chocolate, melted in microwave
- 2 tbsp Instant coffee
- 2 tbsp Hot water
- 1 large Egg
- In stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs.
- In a large bowl, thoroughly combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter-sugar mixture in mixer. Add sour milk, mashed bananas, and vanilla. Mix everything together on medium-low speed. Fold chocolate chips into cake batter.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Pour batter into lightly greased cake pans, 9-inch springform pan. or cupcake trays lined with paper cups. Bake cake for 40 minutes and 20-30 minutes for cupcakes.. Remove from oven to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine confectioner's sugar, butter, melted bitter chocolate, instant coffee and water, and egg. Beat ingredients until combined and frosting has formed.
Frost Cake or Cupcakes
- Remove cakes from pans and assemble the 2 layer cake by trimming the top of 1 of the cakes from the cake pans to remove the rounded top and making the surface flat. If springform pan used, remove from pan and slice the cake in half through the middle. Pace flat cake on a cake plate and spread some frosting over the surface. Place other cake half on top of frosted half, rounded side up. Frost the outside surfaces of the cake and serve with a chorus of happy birthday. To frost cupcakes, remove from pan to a cooling rack and frost just the tops.
- If chocolate is not desired, don’t add the chips to the batter and frost with whipped cream instead. (2 cups heavy cream whipped to stiff peaks, with-or-without a little confectioner’s sugar added).