chocolate peanut butter banana brownie cake

March 1, 2010 at 11:07 pm Leave a comment

Yes, I know that’s an absurdly long name for any dessert, much less a brownie. I mean, a cake. Or whatever the heck it is. Let’s start from the beginning.

So, as you saw, my chocolate pear cake turned out somewhat less than successfully. I was still in need of a treat to offer up at our first office game night, so I plunged promptly back in. I found this recipe for Cocoa Nana Brownies on Spork or Foon, and thought, “Hey, I have bananas. I have chocolate. LET’S DO THIS.” Brownies can’t take very long, right?

Sure, brownies don’t take very long, if you haven’t already made one cake and it doesn’t happen to be 10:15pm on a work night. Grievous error #1.

Grievous error #2 occurred when, in my haste, I failed to thoroughly examine the recipe before proceeding with the preparations. Little did my sense of trust-in-all-things-food-blogging know, but there are a number of omissions in this recipe. Prime example being an oven temperature. WHAT. Surely my eyes are deceiving me, due to the late hour, and my already overtaxed baking senses?

No. No, Erin, your eyes are right. There is no baking temperature listed. Nor is there a suggested pan size. Or any mention of when (or how) to add your bananas. What is a novice foodie to do?

Improvise, of course! My oven was already set to 350F, so let’s just roll with that, shall we? My square baking dish is my brownie standby, so out it comes! Bananas? Psh, just drop them in with the buttermilk and mix those puppies to a pulp! So maybe I was a little overzealous, but hey, it was late and I was punchy.

Needless to say, I had to add 20 minutes to the suggested baking time, because, while my oven temperature was probably right, I used too small a pan and had a much thicker vat of brownie goo than intended. I had to bust out a Fiestaware gusto bowl to bake my overflow batter, because my pan size estimate was a good bit on the small side. And my bananas? Well, actually, I have no complaints on that point.

The resulting brownie/cake was actually quite good. The banana is fairly subtle, I managed to kill off my leftover peanut butter frosting from a previous cupcake experiment, and it went over well at work. I really wouldn’t consider this a brownie, in the traditional sense. It’s not dense enough, and crumbles too easily to be realistically consumed by hand. But as a cake, it’s possibly a keeper.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Brownie Cake

Adapted from Spork or Foon, which is itself adapted from Dorie Greenspan and King Arthur Flour.

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1  1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1  1/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1  1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • peanut butter frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9″x13″ baking pan. With a mixer, mix butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add in cocoa. Beat in vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time. Beat in baking powder and salt, then add in the buttermilk* and bananas, beating until smooth. Lower speed to low and add flour, mixing until just blended. Gently fold in chocolate chips.

Pour into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Let cool. Frost brownies when completely cool.

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from Bobby Flay.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1  1/4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • Milk on standby, just in case you fail at frosting, like me

Beat the butter and peanut butter at medium speed in a mixing bowl until blended. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar. Increase speed to high and beat for 3-5 minutes, until smooth and fluffy. If your frosting does not become smooth and fluffy, and instead becomes lumpy and crumbly, add a little milk (about a teaspoon at a time) while mixing, until smooth and fluffy (or at least smooth and creamy) actually happens.

*You may want to add your buttermilk gradually as you go. I found that this batter became quite thick at times, and it was a little much for my hand mixer. If you’re using a beast of a Kitchenaid mixer with a paddle attachment, you’re probably good to go.

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