Chocolate Chip Streusel Banana Snackin’ Cake

Posted by hsimpsongrossman on December 9, 2013

I am curious.  How many of you were told, when you were very young and innocent, that the brown mushy parts on a ripe banana are really “honey” and “the best part of the banana”?  It might be an Israeli mother thing, but that’s what we grew up on in our house (along with “don’t eat unwashed fruits and vegetables – dogs/cats/birds/a whole zoo might have peed on them!”).  Needless to say that it never worked on my siblings and I nor on anyone else I know.

Theoretically, this is where I say that I have vowed, way back then, never to con my kids into eating foods this way.  The fact is, I have indeed never tried to sell that line to our kids.  But it’s a bit unfair to portray myself as the perfect mother.  I have my own reasons.  Some of our kids won’t touch a raw banana with a barge-pole, stains or no stains.  And with respect to those who do love them (His Royal Highness eats abut 4-5 a day), they were very lucky to be born into our family, as I myself love over ripe bananas. In cakes.  I collect them.  In fact, I’ve been known to select brownish looking bananas from the box behind the store, the ones that are not fit to be showcased up front, incurring quite a few sympathetic nods from passer-by, thinking I can not afford anything better.  They never seem to be convinced when I try to explain that these are for cakes!

I have not tasted a banana cake until late into my teenage years, when I have noticed, in one of my mother’s Israeli cookbooks, a recipe for such cake.  In the introduction to said recipe, the author excitedly revealed that she had first tasted this cake in the house of an American friend of hers, who whipped the cake up within minutes, not using a mixer.  I was intrigued and had to try it out.  I fell captive to the tender moistness provided by the bananas and the interesting counter flavors provided by the spices paired up with them.  Unfortunately, the palates of my siblings and friends weren’t ready yet to appreciate the new texture and somewhat foreign flavor, and I had to shelve banana cakes until we moved to NYC.

While in the U.S. one can find flavorful bananas practically all year round, in Israel bananas ripen around October and end their season in May-June.  Which brings me back to my frozen banana collection (do look here for a tip on how to build your own stock of ready to use ripe bananas), which enables me to make banana cakes all year round.

Since that first one-bowl banana cake, I have made it my business, first in New York and then when we moved back to Israel, to try as many banana cake recipes as possible including such with poppy seeds, honey, peanut butter, Nutellla, all kinds of marbled swirls, as well as banana pies, cookies, muffin, yeast cakes and what not.

Chocolate Chip Streusel Snackin' Banana Cake Individualist Muffin
Individualist Muffin on the Spot

This recipe has been adapted from a recipe in a book Better Half’s grandmother gave me when we were newlyweds.  She understood immediately who she’s dealing with and rather than opting for the easy way out and bringing me chocolates or perfume from America, bought me a baking book!

In addition to the moist and tender texture provided by the ripe bananas, this cake has a melt-in-your-mouth filling and streusel.  You can choose to omit the nuts, or for a healthier version, omit the chocolate chips – I’ve tried all variations and they were all great.  You can bake the cake in a 9*13 tin, in 12 medium muffin cups, or in an 8*8 tin and a 3-5 muffins.  This time I opted for a cake in an 8*8 tin, which we took with us to a party and four muffins with no chocolate chips in them for a healthier treat the following morning.

Chocolate Chip Banana Snackin’ Cake on the Spot: Mush bananas. Mix filling ingredients. Mix dry ingredients. Beat wet ingredients.  Combine. Alternate layers of batter and filling and send to the oven.

Chocolate Chip Streusel Banana Snackin’ Cake

Adapted from 365 Great Cakes & Pies, by Carol Prager

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Baking time: 30-35 minutes

Servings: 12

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 stick (½ cup/4 ounces, 110 grams) butter, at room temperature

1 cup white sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon Vanilla essence

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

3 large, very ripe, bananas (about 1 cup mashed bananas)

¼ cup sour cream or whole fat yogurt

1 ¾ cups flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

For the Filling and Struesel:

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).  Grease a 9×13 baking tin, 12 medium muffin cups or an 8*8 tin plus four medium muffins cups.

For the filling and streusel: in a small bowl, mix the chocolate chips, nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon and set aside.

In a medium bowl, using a fork, mash the bananas (small banana lumps in the mush are fine).  Mix in the lemon juice and set aside.

Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices in a large bowl and set aside.

Using an electric mixer beat the butter and white sugar, until light and fluffy, for about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl between each addition.  Add the vanilla extract and the lemon zest.

Turn the mixer to low, add the bananas and beat just until incorporated.

Add half of the flour mixture, the yogurt and the other half of the flour, beating just (!) until blended between each addition.

Spread ½ of the cake batter in the baking dish of your choice.  Sprinkle with ½ of the chocolate chip mixture.  Gently spoon the remaining batter over the chocolate chip mixture, then sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top of the cake batter.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, 15-20 minutes if baking in muffin tins, or until a wooden pick or a knife inserted in the center comes out clean except for some moist crumbs clinging to it.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.

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