Deliciously moist and tender Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread topped it with a thick layer of rich, dense and super fudgy Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting!
So, Banana Bread… kinda boring, right?
It’s the kind of thing that you whip up when you miscalculated (or got carried away because they were so beautiful and bright yellow AND on sale to top it off) and ended up buying WAY too many bananas when you last went grocery shopping. And now, your once beautiful bananas are sitting sadly on the counter, attracting flies and looking all pathetic and depressed, waiting for someone to kindly put them out of their misery.
What to do, what to do? Banana Bread is always the first thing that comes to mind…
Why not kick things up a few notches and turn this rather ordinary treat into a spectacular Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread and then top it off with a thick layer of rich, dense and super fudgy Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting?
‘Cuz hey, you know what they say, right? Chocolate makes EVERYTHING better. And in this case, not only better, but also much prettier!
Seriously, look at all the beautiful swirls of chocolate in that cake. Wouldn’t you agree that they instantly make the cake look like a thousand times better? Sure makes my mouth water!
And that frosting. OH! It certainly takes this Banana Bread to a whole new level: it’s so thick and fudgy and creamy and intensely chocolate-y, with just a hint of tanginess from the cream cheese. I’m telling you, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably gonna want to save it for last…
Of course, you don’t HAVE to make that frosting if you don’t want to… You could keep things real simple and completely leave it out. The cake would still look amazing what with all its beautiful swirls and all. Plus, no frosting means that you’d be able to enjoy a slice practically as soon as your banana bread came out of the oven…
Also too, you would then have the option of throwing your slices in the toaster and butter them generously after the cake had been completely cooled. I must admit that something HAS to be said for toasted banana bread… and probably even more so for toasted banana chocolate bread. BUT, that frosting, you guys, that frosting. It’s TO.DIE.FOR.
Honestly, I wouldn’t leave it out. You shouldn’t. You mustn’t…
You’ll notice that I chose to use brown butter in this recipe, firstly because I happened to have some in the pantry (mind you, I practically always have some in the pantry), but also because I LOVE the richness and depth of flavor that it confers to just about everything it touches. I felt it would go amazingly good with the bananas… and I was right! I think that from now on, I’ll always use brown butter to make banana bread.
But, if you didn’t have any brown butter handy and didn’t have time to whip up a batch, you could very well use oil instead. Vegetable oil or canola oil, with their neutral flavor, would be perfect for the task, while melted coconut oil would add a bit of an exotic touch to the cake!
I highly suspect that melted butter would work just as well, since banana bread is usually pretty forgiving, as far as baked goods go.
So tell me, are you still staring at that bunch of pitiful, miserable bananas sitting on the counter? What are you waiting for? Go, put the poor things out of their misery.
Besides, I’m telling you, this cake is SO tasty, moist, tender and easy to make that, from now on, not only will you know exactly what to do with those overripe bananas, you’ll let them get in that state on purpose.
And, you’ll probably find yourself purchasing a few bananas too many every time you hit the grocery store…
STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS & PICTURES
MAKE THE CAKE
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the bananas, sour cream and eggs.
In a third bowl, combine the melted brown butter (or oil), brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract.
Finally, melt the chocolate chips in a fourth bowl. To do that, place them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Allow to rest for 30 seconds and then stir for 30 seconds. If there are still lumps of unmelted chocolate left after that, repeat the process as many times as necessary, but for no more than 20 seconds at a time. The chocolate should be completely melted but should barely feel warm to the touch.
Mix the bananas, sour cream and eggs with a whisk until well combined and slightly frothy. Set aside.
Whisk together the melted brown butter (or oil), brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract.
Pour in the reserved banana mixture.
And whisk vigorously until completely combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl, all at once.
Switch to a rubber spatula or wooden spoon and mix delicately until just incorporated, no more.
Transfer about half of this batter into an empty bowl (by all means, use one of the bowls that you just used and freed up; I used the one I’d just utilized for my dry ingredients) and then pour in the melted chocolate
Stir delicately until just combined. Don’t overdo things here… it’s okay if your batter still has a few streaks in it.
Now spoon the 2 batters into the prepared pan, alternating between the chocolate and plain banana.
Then, swirl the batters with a knife, being careful not to overdo it…
A total of 4 to 5 passes back and forth should do the trick.
If you got overzealous here, you’d end up blending the 2 batters together and all your previous efforts will have been in vain!
Bake the cake for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
When the cake is ready, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes…
… and then unmold it onto a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature, about 2 to 3 hours.
Of course, if you had no intentions of frosting your banana bread, you could very well enjoy a slice right now, while it’s still warm… but I’m pretty sure that this frosting is calling your name, right? Ha! I knew it.
Now be patient, and wait for this bad boy to cool down. Don’t you even dare consider frosting it until it no longer feels warm to the touch, not even a little bit. Hey, you can even send it to the fridge or freezer to speed things up, if you have to!
And while you’re waiting for your cake to cool, we’ll work on making the frosting. That oughta keep you busy!
MAKE THE FROSTING
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on high speed until super light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
About that cream cheese, there’s no need to take it out of the fridge ahead of time so it has chance to soften. In fact, it’s preferable that it doesn’t: all this beating action will be more than enough to get it to the perfect consistency.
Combine the cocoa powder, powdered sugar and salt together in a bowl, whisk lightly to combine (no need for them to be perfectly combined…) and then add about half of this mixture to the creamed cheese.
Beat ON LOW SPEED until all the ingredients are well combined, about 1 minute…
Then, add the rest of the powdered sugar and cocoa powder mixture….
And resume beating on low until well incorporated. Then, progressively increase the speed to high and beat for an additional minute.
Scrape the sides a little and then pour in the melted chocolate…
Beat on high speed until the frosting is super smooth, creamy and evenly (or is that heavenly?) combined, about 2 minutes.
Your frosting is now ready to use… but how’s your cake? Is it cool enough, yet?
If you’re not planning on using your frosting right away, keep it at room temperature until you are ready to use it.
FROST THE CAKE
Like I said earlier, your banana bread HAS to be completely cooled before you attempt frosting it, otherwise, your frosting will most probably melt on contact, or at the very least become so soft that its good looks will fly right out the window. What a shame that would be!
Again, if you have to, send your cake to the refrigerator or freezer until no longer feels warm to the touch.
Start by spreading a thin layer of frosting all over the top of the cake. This will act as glue and insure good adherence between the cake and the swirls you are about to pipe over the top of your cake.
So there’s no need to be fancy about this layer: just keep it thin, straight and sort of boring.
Then, transfer the rest of the frosting into a 14″ pastry bag equipped with a medium open star tip and cover the entire top of the cake with big, generous swirls of frosting. There are no set rules here, let your imagination run wild. You can do swirls, rosettes, shells, borders, straight lines, diagonal lines… use whichever pattern you prefer.
I, myself, chose to go with a continuous scalloped border, which I then finished with a row of shells that ran smack down the middle.
And hey, if you didn’t want to get all fancy and do the piping thing, you could very well choose to spread that frosting on thick with a rounded spatula. Trust me, it would taste just as good.
And now, finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for: time to slice that puppy up and have a taste!
This cake can be served chilled or at room temperature (although I prefer mine at room temperature) and any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Sadly, no popping the slices in the toasters with the frosting on! But I’m positive you won’t mind that…
- 2 cups (260g | 9oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt (I use Himalayan salt)
- 1-1/2 cup (375g | 13.2oz) over-ripe bananas, mashed with a fork (about 3 large bananas)
- 3/4 cup (170g | 6oz) 14% fat sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (110g | 3.9oz) brown butter, melted (you could also use oil)
- 1/2 cup (100g | 3.5oz) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g | 3.5oz) light brown sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (store-bought or homemade)
- 1/2 cup (90g | 3.2oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted*
- 1 package (227g | 8oz) cream cheese (no need to soften it)
- 3 cups (360g | 12.75oz) powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup (45g | 1.5oz) cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 cup (180g | 6.3oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted*
- pinch salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9" x 5" loaf pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the bananas, sour cream and eggs. Mix well with a whisk until well combined and slightly frothy. Set aside.
- In a third bowl, combine the melted brown butter (or oil) brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously until well combined and then whisk in the reserved banana mixture.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix them in very delicately with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until just incorporated, no more.
- Transfer about half of this batter into an empty bowl and then pour in the melted chocolate. Stir delicately until just combined.
- Spoon the 2 batters into the prepared pan, alternating between the chocolate and banana. Swirl the batters with a knife, being careful not to overdo it: 4 to 5 passes back and forth should do the trick.
- Bake the cake for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- When the cake is ready, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then unmold it onto a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature, about 2 to 3 hours.
- While the cake is cooling, make the frosting: in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on high speed until super light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk the cocoa powder, powdered sugar and salt together and add about half to the creamed cheese. Beat on low speed until all the ingredients are well combined, about 1 minute, then add the rest of the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Resume beating on low until well incorporated, and then progressively increase the speed to high and beat for an additional minute.
- Pour in the melted chocolate and beat on high speed until smooth and evenly combined, about 2 minutes.
- The frosting is now ready to use; if you're not planning on using it right away, keep it at room temperature until ready to use.
- Make sure that your banana bread is completely cooled before you attempt frosting it. If you have to, send it to the refrigerator or freezer until no longer feels warm to the touch.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the top of the cake and then transfer the rest of the frosting into a 14" pastry bag equipped with a medium open star tip; cover the top of the cake with big, generous swirls of frosting.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
*To melt the chocolate chips, place them in a bowl and put them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Allow to rest for 30 seconds and then stir for 30 seconds. If there are still lumps of unmelted chocolate left after that, repeat the process as many times as necessary, but for no more than 20 seconds at a time. The chocolate should be completely melted but should barely feel warm to the touch.
I realize I am blowing up your blog comments but only you could make banana bread gorgeous.
One thing I love about your site is that even though you are EXCEPTIONALLY more skilled than I, your tutorials and photos are SO detailed that even I can follow them. And even though I’m borderline paleo and extra low carb, whenever I splurge I am making your recipes these days. I sent my nana this blog link and now she’s using it too. Thanks for all you do.
*retreats from stalker-commenter status*
Evil Twin says
Hahaha! Stalker-commenter! You’re so funny, Kiara.
Seriously, if this is how you are gonna “stalk-comment”, you are more than welcomed to comment anytime you want! Plus, I always LOVE it when you leave comments on my blog posts.
That said, thank you so very much for the kind words, I am sincerely touched and honored! <3
Sweet Treats by Dani says
THAT FROSTING! OMG 😀
Evil Twin says
And it tastes even better than it looks… for realz!!
That frosting decoration looks amazing!
Evil Twin says
Thank you Anne! That’s nice of you to say! 🙂
Lynn | The Road to Honey says
It really is amazing when you think that this absolutely stunning cake started off as a bunch of sad, black skinned, squishy bananas. Something that looks like it belongs in a trash can. . .not the finest of bakerys.
This truly is a beautiful, over-the-top rendition of banana bread. It could easily be served up at a dinner party (who would have ever thought banana bread and dinner party would be used in the same sentence)?
Evil Twin says
Awww, thank you so much for your kind words, Lynn! And really… I think you couldn’t have described the bananas that went into the making of this cake any better! 😉
This is JUST how I like my banana bread… chocolately and covered in delicious frosting!! Cannot wait to add this to my baking list!
Evil Twin says
And I cannot wait to hear your thoughts, Karly!
Jordan Leigh says
Banana bread was the first thing I ever learned to bake!!! And to this day it is still one of my absolute favorites. I’ve used the same recipe since I was a little girl buuuuut let’s be honest: yours has cream cheese frosting. And it’s swirly. Therefore. It kicks my recipes butt haha. I’m headed out now to get me some naners. Patience is not a virtue I possess so in a brown bag they shall go!!
Evil Twin says
Ah, but I’m sure you could use your recipe and add the melted chocolate, do the swirls and then top it with the frosting! And then your recipe and my recipe would walk hand in hand and be best of friends and no one would be kicking no one’s butt! 🙂
Jordan Leigh says
Brilliant!! As always 😉