Usually when spring arrives I like to shelve my cozy fall and winter desserts until heavy sweater season comes back. However, here in Toronto, the snow just doesn’t want to let up, so this weekend I prepared one of my favourite winter dessert combinations: warm double chocolate banana cake topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and finished off with a heavy-handed drizzle of salted caramel sauce.
I originally prepared this dessert for the fifth wedding anniversary of my brother and sister-in-law, whose wedding cake was chocolate and banana flavoured. Although mine isn’t nearly as pretty as their cake was, it’s awfully tasty and it’s become one of my go-to recipes when I need a humble Sunday afternoon or weeknight dessert.
I used three ripe bananas for this cake (which yielded about one cup, mashed) and a cup of chocolate chips, but you could definitely go heavier on the bananas for a gooier, denser cake. I find banana cake is one of those rare desserts where you don’t have to be quite as concerned with measurements (at least not with the bananas and chocolate chips).
Double chocolate banana cake
- 3 large ripe bananas, mashed (yields 1 cup or so)
- 2 tsp lemon juice (the bottled kind)
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup cocoa
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk at room temperature
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Butter and flour a 10” bundt pan and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
- Mash bananas with lemon juice and set aside
- Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom and salt, and set aside
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the oil and brown sugar at medium speed for two minutes
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and blend at low speed until just incorporated
- Add in vanilla and blend at low speed until incorporated
- Blend in the flour mixture at low speed alternately with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture (i.e. 3 additions flour, 2 additions buttermilk) until just incorporated
- Fold in the bananas and chocolate chips
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 50-55 minutes
- Remove from oven and let it cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then turn it out
Salted caramel sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup whipping cream, at room temperature
- 140 g unsalted butter, cut into slices, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or more if you want it saltier)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, melt sugar at medium/high, stirring constantly with a spoon or whisk. This always takes me about 8 minutes. You need to start stirring immediately because things happen quickly with salted caramel sauce.
- Once all the sugar has melted and all the lumps and bumps are gone, let it sit on the stove without stirring for about 30 seconds
- Remove the saucepan from the stove and let it sit for another 30 seconds – it always bubbles up on me at this point, which is why it’s so important that there’s a lot of room at the top of your saucepan
- Stir in the butter, one slice at a time, until each slice melts in. Again, the caramel will bubble up, so be cautious.
- Once all the butter is incorporated, slowly pour in the cream and stir until incorporated.
- Finally, stir in the salt and the vanilla extract and then pour it into a glass container to cool (I like using a Mason jar). The sauce will seem quite thin but once it comes to room temperature it will thicken up.
- Resist the urge to taste your sauce until it cools – it’s still extremely hot after you add in the butter and cream.
Vanilla ice cream
For now I’m just using store-bought ice cream, but I’m hoping to try making my own someday soon.
Some assembly required …
- Place a slice of the warm banana cake onto a plate. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and then drizzle the salted caramel sauce overtop.