My Recipe Box

Chocolate Banana Swirl Cake


Serves 10-12

  • To learn more, read:
    Three Great Coffee Cakes
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 54

This cake puts very ripe bananas to good use. Be sure to follow the time guidelines for unmolding the cake. If you wait too long, it will stick to the pan; take it out too early and it might break into chunks.

For the pan:
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup medium-finely chopped walnuts
  • Softened unsalted butter
For the cake:
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, completely softened at room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 very ripe medium bananas (unpeeled, about 14 oz. total), peeled
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) buttermilk
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Prepare the pan:

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the chopped walnuts. Generously butter a large bundt pan and coat with the nuts and sugar, pressing the nuts with your fingers to help them stick. The pan sides will be coated and some of the nuts will fall to the bottom—that’s fine.

Mix the batter:

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well blended. With an electric mixer (I use a Kitchen Aid fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the butter, sugar, bananas, and vanilla until well blended and the bananas are almost smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just incorporated.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. With a rubber spatula, alternately add half the flour mixture, all the buttermilk, and then the rest of the flour mixture, stirring until each addition is just blended. Spoon half the batter into a medium bowl and gently stir in the melted chocolate until just combined. With a large spoon, alternately add a spoonful of each batter to the prepared pan, working around the pan until all the batter is used. Gently run a knife or the tip of a rubber spatula through the batter, once clockwise and once counterclockwise, to slightly swirl the batters. Gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the ingredients.

Bake the cake:

Bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs sticking to it, about 40 min. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 15 min. Gently tap the the sides of the pan on the counter and loosen the cake. Invert the pan onto the rack, lift it off the pan, and let the cake cool completely.

Photo: Amy Albert

Very flavourful. More like a quick bread than a a cake.

While the taste is delicious, I had difficulty unmolding the cake. I let it cool exactly 15 minutes and it would not release from the pan. I had to use a plastic spatula rather aggressively to finally get it out (in pieces). Next time I'm going to mix my walnuts in my batter and prepare the pan conventionally (butter and flour it).

I was a little apprehensive because the butter was still in small clumps after mixing all the wet ingredients together. Then I read the first review about mixing the butter and sugar together first, and then adding the other wet ingredients. Uh oh! However, the final result was wonderful and very addicting. Thinking about having a third piece right now. I do think creaming the butter and sugar first would resolve anxiety about the final result so that's why I only gave 4 stars. Banana cakes develop more flavor as they cool but this one might not have the chance for that. Definitely a keeper.

03/18/2013...GO AHEAD & BAKE THIS 1! PROMISE U won't be disappointed. it SURE tastes DIVINE. the banana, chocolate, & nuts flavors came in together beautifully. great for snacking with coffee or as dessert. i think this is also GOOD for breakfast :). BUT before you start baking, READ the recipe & directions carefully. My rating for this recipe is only 4 stars because the method of making the cake batter is unclear & misleading. If I am to re write the METHOD to avoid mistakes & unwanted outcomes, it should go this way: Mix all the dry ingredients like flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt together & set aside. Cream the sugar & butter together until fluffy & light in color. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Then, beat in the vanilla extract & mashed bananas. Manually mix in the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, starting & ending with the dry ingredients. DO NOT OVERMIX. Proceed by dividing the batter into 2 equal parts...

I've made this cake several times and it's a great hit! For me however, it always bakes in less than 40 minutes. I actually use brown sugar for the walnuts and add more because it makes it extra yummy.

I've made this cake several times and it's a great hit! For me however, it always bakes in less than 40 minutes. I actually use brown sugar for the walnuts and add more because it makes it extra yummy.

While I agree the cake is delicious, it is coarse-grained. The directions don't tell you to cream the butter and sugar first which would help give it a finer texture. Still, it's a great cake that I will make again.

Delicious...and versatile. You can eat it for brunch, for dessert, with afternoon coffee...I'm making it again this weekend!

Wow! The tastiest and most moist banana cake we have ever made. It tastes even better than banana cake with chocolate chips and is truly addictive.

I enjoyed bringing this cake to a potluck and friends raved. Several took home extra pieces and were looking forward to having it for breakfast the next morning. Don't skimp on the bananas and definitely measure the 14 ounces. To jazz it up a bit, I use chocolate then banana-flavored glaze and topped with a fanning of banana slices that were lightly brushed with OJ to prevent browning. I look forward to another opportunity when I can share this again. Thanks.

Delicious! I've made this for Christmas brunch and for a large dinner party. I always make sure to add a healthy dose of chocolate chips, and I bet peanut butter chips would be delicious, too. At the dinner party people were diving in & serving themselves, and begging for seconds!

It's very tasty- we've made this a few times and it's a keeper for us.

This cake is a great way to use up really overripe bananas. I must say that the texture is rather open and spongy, not fine-grained like most cakes. It was definitely tasty, but not the best-looking cake ever.

I've made this cake many times and it's definitely one of my favourites.

While not a fancy cake, this makes up for it a million times over. It is an absolutely delicious cake that I have made a number of times to rave reviews. In fact, a few dinner guests couldn't stop eating it and actually said it was the best cake they had ever had. Be sure to use very ripe bananas and high quality chocolate. I've also used half milk choco and half semisweet when I've run out of all semisweet and it has been equally fabulous. Also--this cake freezes very well.

Cookbooks, DVDs & More