This recipe sits somewhere between cake and bread. If I need a quick dessert, it’s Banana Cake; lusciously light and tender and baked in a Bundt pan so it’s automatically festive. When I have a hankering for something a little sweet at breakfast however, it magically becomes Banana Bread. Full of wholesome ripe bananas and not overly sweet, it makes a perfectly reasonable breakfast. It’s delicious either way, so you decide!
I know there are a million recipes for Banana Bread. Why would I even waste my time or yours posting yet another recipe for Banana Bread? Well do you love yours? Would you bet it’s the best one ever? Does every person who has a bite ask for the recipe? If you answered no, then I have you covered. My friend’s mother, who’s often told hers is amazing, even asked for the recipe. So if you’re looking for THE recipe, let mine be a contender.
This Banana Cake is the culmination of over 2 decades of improving on what’s essentially a simple quick bread. I’ve tried them all and I’ve taken the best of what I’ve learned to make the most delicious version. But this is not a crazy recipe with a lot of convoluted steps like microwaving and boiling down banana juice (hello Cook’s Illustrated) or that makes you add ingredients like vanilla pudding, you don’t normally have on hand (looking at you Chrissy Teigen). Ultimately, the best banana cake is one you can make and eat right away! So let’s get to it.
I don’t bake often, but a lifetime of trial and error has taught me a few baking basics that help to guarantee good results, even if you too are not a professional baker:
- Always read through the recipe before you begin. Oftentimes there are specific instructions for the type of pan you’ll need, and how to prep it. And there’s nothing worse than getting halfway through making a cake and realizing the recipe calls for baking soda AND baking powder.
- The temperature of ingredients is very important. Use room temperature eggs. If your eggs are straight from the fridge, put them in warm water for 10 minutes.
- A kitchen scale is your best friend when baking because it is the most accurate. If you do not have one, make sure you always stir your dry ingredients before scooping. Never pack flour into a measuring cup. And always level off with the back of a butter knife if using the scooping method. If your cakes come out dense rather than light and fluffy, too much flour could be to blame.
- If you do not bake often, check the expiration date on your baking powder and baking soda. Many times old powders will be the reason your cake did not rise properly.
- Preheating your oven is crucial. Turn on your oven before you start the recipe. If you do not have an automatic beeper letting you know your oven is ready, let your oven heat up for 30 minutes before you start baking.
- Ovens differ- some run hot while others are cooler. Test your baked goods on the shorter bake time when you’re given an approximate time just to be safe.
Use Ripe Bananas for the Best Banana Cake!
This banana cake is perfect for all those bananas in your fruit bowl that look past their prime. The riper and softer, the better. The ones on the left won’t really impart much banana-y flavor, the ones in the middle are better, but to borrow from Goldilocks, the bananas so ripe that they are black are just right. I know they look scary! But trust me, you’ll be thrilled with the results.
We always have bananas at the restaurants for drinks and desserts. And often, someone will hand me an overripe bunch with a knowing smile. I make this bread/cake so often, it literally takes me about 10 minutes to get it in the oven. There’s nothing fancy or difficult about this recipe. Just use those scary ripe bananas and carry on.
Make the Banana Cake Batter
Mayonnaise in a cake?! A thousand times yes! At its core, mayo is oil and eggs and it adds a lush texture. It doesn’t impart flavor, it just helps make an exceptionally moist cake. I use mayo because I always have it. But sour cream or even yogurt work well too. If you don’t have any of those items, just skip it. Your Banana Cake will still be great.
For those of you who hate to wash dishes, this recipe only uses two bowls. You could also make it a one bowl cake, but I always like to stir all of the dry ingredients together first. It ensures that the flour and leaveners are well mixed and it keeps me from over-mixing the batter. I use a fork to whisk the dry ingredients together, then use the same fork to mix the the wet ingredients.
I like to pour in the chocolate chips rather than mixing them into the batter. I find that when you mix the the chips into the batter, they sometimes stick to to the pan and tear the cake when you turn it out. Also, I like the ribbons of chocolate that run through the cake. Chocolate too much for a breakfast bread? You can replace them with toasted nuts, dried fruit, or anything else you like in your banana bread.
I check for doneness at about 30-35 minutes. A toothpick test should come out with some wet crumbs still clinging; you don’t want it to be totally dry. It will continue to bake when you bring it out of the oven. And a little too wet is definitely better than bone dry. I cool it completely in the pan and then turn it out onto a platter. I love this banana cake (or breakfast banana bread) just as it is. But you could certainly sprinkle a little confectioner’s sugar on the top. Try this out and let me know what you think! Comment below or tag us on Insta @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
Are you looking for more tried and true, failproof baking ideas? Try my Matcha Cake and Japanese Cheesecake!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: serves 6-8 1x
- Category: sweets
- 4–5 large over ripe bananas (18 ounces peeled)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar (7 ounces)
- ½ cup neutral oil
- 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise (you can also use sour cream)
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 9 ounces all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Baking pan spray
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Peel and mash the bananas well in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, light brown sugar, neutral oil, mayonnaise, and vanilla. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Use a fork and whisk well.
- Use the same fork for the other bowl and then mix the wet ingredients well.
- Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix well.
- Spray a 10 cup bundt pan well with the pan spray.
- Pour half the mixture into the bundt pan. Sprinkle half of the chocolate chips over the batter. Pour the rest of the batter over the chocolate chips. Then sprinkle the remaining chips over the top.
- Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick test comes out with some wet crumbs. The cake will continue to cook as it sits in the pan so you do not want to bake it until the toothpick comes out clean-it will not be as moist.
- Cool the bread in the pan completely and then turn the bread out. Slice and serve.
* This bread can sit out for 2 days at room temperature. Put it in the fridge or freeze slices if you cannot finish it within a couple days.
Keywords: sweets, banana, snacks, dessert, breakfast