chocolate chip banana cake

chocolate chip banana cake | the merry gourmet

The house smells faintly of slow-cooked pork and wood smoke. The aromas strengthen each time someone opens the patio door. I can see the Big Green Egg from my vantage point on the sofa, soft wisps of white smoke puffing from the vent in the top. My husband has been manning the grill since 7:30 this morning, and when the meat comes off in just a short while, the pork will fall from the bone with the gentlest nudge.

I’m not a professional football fan, but I’m thankful tonight is Super Bowl Sunday, if only for the fact that Sam has volunteered to make pulled pork for a friend of his – and thus, for us.

My knitting needles are beside me on the sofa, 58 stitches of a lovely blue yarn line the cable. I’m still working on my Color Tipped Scarf, but I wanted something fresh that I could travel with later in the week. I’m headed to San Diego for a meeting on Thursday, and I’m anticipating hours of plane-ride knitting.

I thought I’d make a sweater next, but I saw this wrap some time ago, and I can’t get my mind off of it. I tend to listen to my heart. Or my gut. Or whatever other internal organ from which these instincts arise. The point being: I’m making this wrap. I will not let the pattern’s knitting chart intimidate me, either.

Well, maybe just a little.

I have made two banana cakes in the last two weekends. If it weren’t for those overripe bananas I forgot to eat during the week when they were appropriately ripe, I might have made a pie or cookies or some other treat. Because I was determined to bake. I had overripe bananas, though, and I didn’t want to make my old standby, banana bread. I wanted something…more.

I plan to eventually share both cakes with you, but for today, you get this version – a chocolate chip banana cake. The combination of chocolate and banana is one of my favorites, and this cake takes advantage of that blessed match.

After our dinner of pulled pork, baked beans, and coleslaw tonight, we’ll be eating slices of the other banana cake…the one I’ll share with you next time.

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake

This cake is really a breeze to make, and you probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry or on your counter. It's a versatile cake to serve for breakfast, snack time, or dessert.


2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons; 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons, melted and cooled
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1-1/4 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
2/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon dark rum
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack in middle position. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together softened butter (1 stick) and 3/4 cup sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well blended. Beat in bananas, yogurt, vanilla, and rum (mixture will look curdled).

With mixer at low speed, add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.

In a small bowl, stir together chocolate chips, cinnamon, melted butter, and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Spread half of banana batter in cake pan and sprinkle with half of the chocolate chip mixture (using your fingers is easiest). Spread remaining batter evenly over filling and sprinkle remaining chocolate chip mixture on top.

Bake until cake is golden and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Cool cake in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes, then turn out onto rack and cool completely, right side up.

Adapted from this recipe in Gourmet, February 2008.

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25 Responses to “not in season: blueberry apple crisp”

  1. Lana — February 13, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

    Just like you, I try to cook with locally grown produce as much as I can (when I had a garden, it was heaven!), but the most important thing to me is how it tastes. It could be grown in my neighbor’s yard, organically, coddled and caressed every day, if it tastes bland – it’s out.
    I know that I can not find wild blueberries here in SoCal, and those are really the best – nothing can come even close. But I agree, when my kids ask for fruit and veggies, I indulge them.
    I have never made a crisp, or a cobbler, or a fool, even though I really like warm fruity desserts that are easy to make. Maybe yours is going to inspire me enough (I’ll just have to double up on those crunches:)
    Have a great Valentine’s Day!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — February 13th, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

      Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, Lana!

  2. Leigh — February 13, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

    Honestly, I care more about having what I want in ANY season than I do about where they were grown. That may be terrible, but I adore cooking with exotic ingredients that we just don’t HAVE around here. That being said, the Plant City strawberries that M picked up yesterday are already almost all gone. So I think it’s a balance. A delicious balance. 😉

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — February 13th, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

      That reminds me, I need to buy strawberries. 🙂

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  4. Jean — February 13, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

    I love, love blueberries and I love using them in crisps like you do. I also like that you mixed in apples, another crisp favorite for me. Honestly, I don’t always have time to go to the Farmer’s Market on Sundays so I would say that some of my produce is not locally grown. I don’t mind it either.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — February 13th, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

      I hear you on the time issue. Our Farmer’s Market is open on Mondays from 4-7, but if you don’t get there early, all the good stuff is gone. I can rarely get their before 6:30. Sometimes the grocery store is the only option.

  5. Kim - Liv Life — February 13, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

    We try to buy local as well, but sometimes those berries just call our name. We are indeed lucky to be able to procure these out of season fruits just for that reason, and you used them well! We found some beautiful organic berries a few weeks back at Costco, and yes, ours were from Chile too. But I bought tons of them and have filled my freezer with zip bags of organic berries. Enjoy!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — February 13th, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

      It’s hard to pass up a good deal in these days when we all need to stretch our dollars further. I think that buying in bulk – at Costco or somewhere similar – and freezing makes good sense. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Brian @ A Thought For Food — February 13, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

    Don’t worry, Love… we’ve all done the same thing. And it looks like you made the most of the situation with this terrific recipe. Such a comforting dish!

  7. What a perfect winter dessert! I do love locally grown produce but it is nice that Chili provides an alternative to get wonderful fruits and veggies when ours are not yet in season.

  8. Carrie Suvajdzic — February 14, 2011 @ 4:56 am

    Oh man that looks good! I love blueberries and can’t get those big sweet ones here where I am. I agree, too, that encouraging good eating habits in your kids takes precedence over a LOT of things.

    For me eating local is all about having a really big freezer and stocking up in season. You have to be on your toes during the growing season but it’s a lot cheaper that way. So when you go buy strawberries buy enough to last until next spring!

  9. Jason Phelps — February 14, 2011 @ 7:31 am

    I would have been mad as well. Luckily we had berries leftover from last year’s winemaking in the freezer. I used them a couple of times over the weekend. Made me yearn for fresh ones!


  10. Valerie Riley — February 14, 2011 @ 8:32 am

    I want to try this recipe. We are huge blueberry fans! Brent’s dad owns an organic u-pick blueberry farm in Melrose. It is a great family atmosphere and my kids love going. I will let you know when it is time and perhaps you can join us out there for picking? We usually pick enough for the year. I am down to about 5lbs left, so it can’t get here fast enough for me! They usualy open Memorial Day. Thanks for this recipe! -V

  11. Jaclyn — February 14, 2011 @ 9:07 pm

    i hate getting fooled at the farmer’s market! i try to buy local produce from the farmer’s market, so it’s definitely a bit dissapointing to find out that what you thought was grown a few miles away was actually flown in. bummer indeed.

    but on the plus side, fruit crisps are probably the simplest, most delicious delivery system for fruit in the whole world! i love mine with lots and lots of freshly whipped cream on top.

  12. DessertForTwo — February 14, 2011 @ 11:49 pm

    I agree, I think you made the right call. If kids are reaching for antioxidant-rich blueberries, give ’em what they want. Maybe you could buy extra blueberries this summer and freeze them for future use? Sounds like a win-win situation!

  13. Lael Hazan @educatedpalate — February 15, 2011 @ 7:03 am

    Lovely dish and thought provoking post. Do we buy organic broccoli that has been harvested 10,000 miles away or do we buy from the conventional farm across the road? Difficult choices, at least we are thinking about them. It becomes even more daunting when we realize that some producers, i.e.: disreputable olive oils, will grow their product in one country and produce it in another.

  14. Aggie — February 15, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

    I buy those “winter haven” blueberries all the time! I have to go relook at my container Merry!!

    What a beautiful dessert. I can’t ever get enough blueberries. We are eating them like crazy lately since they have been on sale. We dipped them in chocolate last night, YUM!

  15. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — February 17, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

    I have pondered the same question… Living where I do in PA, there’s very little available between November and March that is fresh or local. Around this time of year, I usually get sick of eating out of the freezer and start to crave fresh fruits and veggies. Just last week, I bought some strawberries and blueberries that I knew weren’t local, but I just needed some fresh fruit. I do my best to eat local as much as I can, but sometimes I just have to let it go.

    This blueberry apple crisp looks wonderful! Now I’m wishing that I still had some of those blueberries from last week hanging around. 🙂

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — February 17th, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

      Jen – Sometimes we just have to give in to the beauty that lives in the produce section, right? Miss you!

  16. Joy — February 17, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

    That looks wonderful. I love love blueberries.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — February 17th, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

      Thanks, Joy!

  17. Lucy — February 18, 2011 @ 9:49 am

    I wouldn’t stress about those blueberries, either. And I’d buy a second pint to make blueberry scones. Love this crisp – I always have vanilla yogurt on hand, so I’d put a spoonful of yogurt on top.

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  19. Beth — December 20, 2016 @ 4:07 pm

    Topping recipe is missing. Punted from your seasonal crisp topping recipe.

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