A delicious balance of deep chocolate and sweet banana flavour, this chocolate banana loaf cake is light and moist, and very easy to make!
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I’ll be straight with you, I have a love-hate relationship with this chocolate banana loaf cake. Why you ask? Because I baked SO MANY of them while recipe testing (see progress photo further down this post!) to get it just right and I feel like I can’t ever look at another one!
Seriously though, this chocolate banana bread is so, so good. It’s moist and squidgy, yet surprisingly light in texture. It’s got just the right balance of chocolate and banana flavour. If you love banana bread and chocolate, you are going to love this!
Chocolate Banana Loaf Cake Recipe Development
Pictured below are the first seven loaf cakes I made during recipe testing. I remember my partner’s face when he came into the kitchen and saw them all lined up – he definitely thinks I’m mad 😂
It took two more test loaf cakes after these before I nailed the recipe. I think I nearly cried with relief when I cut into it and it finally had the texture I’d been desperately searching for!
What is the difference between a banana loaf cake and banana bread?
The terms “banana bread” and “banana loaf” often seem to be used interchangeably, but after looking into this it seems that banana “bread” is said to be denser in texture and sometimes contains yeast as the leavening agent. However, a banana “loaf” is lighter in texture like other cakes.
I’ve decided to go with the term “loaf cake” for this recipe, though I think the texture is a hybrid of both so I’ll probably use the term banana bread at points too!
Chocolate Banana Loaf Cake Ingredients
This chocolate and banana loaf is made using common ingredients you may already have in your kitchen! Full ingredient amounts can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but in summary, you’ll need:
- Plain flour for the main structure of the loaf cake
- Cocoa powder for that delicious chocolatey flavour
- Baking powder
- Bicarbonate of soda both these raising agents help the loaf to rise, creating the perfect texture inside
- Salt to balance the flavours
- Light brown sugar for sweetness and moisture
- Unsalted butter is beaten with the sugar to create a fluffier cake texture, plus adds buttery flavour
- Eggs to bind the ingredients and give structure to the cake
- Overripe bananas for that delicious banana flavour, plus extra sweetness!
- Vanilla extract for a little added flavour
- Milk ideally buttermilk to add extra moisture to the loaf cake
- Chocolate chips for extra pockets of chocolate throughout the loaf cake!
How to make a chocolate banana loaf cake
This chocolate banana bread recipe is made using the same method as my Banana Loaf Cake. Full instructions with step-by-step photos can be found in the recipe card at the end of this blog post! Here’s a quick summary:
- Preheat your oven to 160°C/140°C fan
- Line a 2lb/1kg loaf tin with baking or parchment paper, or spray it with some non-stick baking pan spray
- Add plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt to a medium bowl and whisk to combine, then set aside
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer with beater or paddle attachments, beat the light brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy in texture
- Add both eggs and beat to combine
- Add the mashed bananas, vanilla and milk and beat to combine
- Next, add half the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined. Repeat with the final half of dry ingredients
- Finally, add the chocolate chips and mix on low speed until just combined
- Pour the cake batter into your loaf tin and level the top with a spatula
- Sprinkle some extra chocolate chips on top (this is just to make it look prettier!)
- Bake on the lowest shelf of your oven for around one hour and ten minutes
- Leave to cool on a wire rack for around 20 minutes before removing from the tin to cool completely!
Top tips for making the best banana chocolate loaf cake
- When choosing which bananas to use, make sure they’re really overripe i.e. as spotty as possible! The spottier the better as this is where all the sweet banana flavour comes from.
- Try not to overmix the cake batter once all the ingredients are combined. Overbeating the mixture can lead to a tough, dense loaf cake. Mixing until just combined helps create a lighter texture!
- I find that loaf cakes are a little more difficult to bake through evenly than those in round cake pans. They tend to take longer to bake and can burn on the outside, leading you to believe they are cooked inside! This is why I prefer to bake loaf cakes at a lower temperature to stop the outside of the cake from browning too quickly. Be sure to insert a cocktail stick or cake skewer into the centre of the cake to check if it is baked. If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs (not wet mixture) the cake should be done!
- To avoid burning the outside of the cake, I prefer to ‘tent’ my loaf cakes. This is where you place a piece of foil loosely over the top of the cake (like a tent!) around 35-40 minutes into the bake time. This helps to deflect some of the heat away from the outside of the cake, preventing it from burning.
- I suggest using chocolate chips both inside the cake and sprinkled on top. These can be whatever chocolate chips you like, or you could even swap them out for something else like nuts or raisins if you prefer!
Chocolate Banana Loaf Cake FAQs
What happens if you use unripe bananas for banana bread?
The banana flavour will be seriously lacking or even non existent if you use unripe bananas. I understand it can be frustrating waiting for bananas to get nice and spotty before using them but trust me, it’s worth the wait!
I always have a few overripe bananas in my freezer so I can use them whenever I need to. You can simply freeze them in their skins then either leave them out for a few hours before using them or giving them a quick blast in the microwave to defrost them even quicker!
Why is my banana bread raw and gooey in the middle?
Reasons include using too much milk or mashed banana, not using enough flour or from underbaking the cake.
To ensure you don’t underbake your chocolate banana loaf, I highly recommend using an oven thermometer to ensure your oven is actually at the correct temperature. My oven runs around 20 degrees cooler than it states so I need to adjust the dial to correct for this. I think oven thermometers are a must for bakers!
To check your cake is baked through, insert a cocktail stick or cake skewer into the centre of your loaf cake and check that it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. If it comes out with any wet mixture on it, place it back in the oven for 5 minutes before checking again.
How can I quickly ripen bananas?
If you don’t have any spotty bananas to hand and can’t wait, you can speed the ripening process up in the oven! Simply preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan and place whole, unpeeled bananas on a baking tray lined with foil. Bake them for around 15-20 minutes until their skins turn black and shiny. Wait for them to cool before scooping out the softened, sweet bananas from the skins – done!
Why is my banana bread dense?
This can occur from overmixing the banana loaf. The more you beat the chocolate banana cake batter, the more you develop the gluten strands leading to a heavy, dense, chewy loaf cake. Once all the ingredients have been added, only mix the ingredients until they are just combined.
Why is my banana bread burning on top?
As mentioned above, a trick I often use when making loaf cakes is to create a “tent” using foil. Loosely place a piece of foil over the top of your loaf cake (so that it’s not touching the top of the cake) after around 35-40 minutes of baking. The foils helps to deflect heat from the outside of the cake while the cake still bakes through in the centre!
What can I add to banana bread?
For this chocolate banana loaf cake, I recommend adding chocolate chips to have extra pockets of melted chocolate throughout the loaf! However, you can swap them out for the same amount of alternative add-ins such as nuts, raisins or maybe some shredded coconut!
How long should you leave banana cake in the loaf pan after baking?
I recommend leaving the cake to cool in the loaf tin for at least 20 minutes before attempting to turn it out onto the wire rack. This is because the cake will be very soft straight from the oven and needs that time to firm up a little before removing from the tin.
How should chocolate banana loaf cake be stored?
This cake is best stored in an airtight container at room temperature, and should keep well for around 5-6 days. I don’t recommend storing it in the fridge as this tends to dry cakes more quickly.
Can chocolate banana loaf cake be frozen?
Yes, this chocolate banana loaf cake freezes perfectly! Simply double wrap in film or place in an airtight container. It will keep well in the freezer for around 4 months.
To conclude, this chocolate banana loaf cake is:
- moist and squidgy but still light in texture
- full of both chocolate and banana flavour
- filled and topped with plenty of chocolate chips
- so quick and easy to make
- moist and delicious for up to 6 days and freezes well too!
If you try this recipe I’d love to see! You can show me by tagging me @bakerjoblog or using #bakerjoblog!
Other loaf cakes to try:
Chocolate Banana Loaf Cake
- 2lb/1kg loaf tin
- Stand or hand mixer with beater/paddle attachment
- Medium mixing bowl
- 150 g plain flour
- 60 g cocoa powder sifted to remove lumps
- 1 tsp baking powder level
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda level
- 1/4 tsp salt level
- 130 g light brown sugar
- 100 g unsalted butter softened
- 2 medium eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 190 g bananas, mashed around 2 medium bananas (whole, unpeeled weight)
- 100 ml buttermilk room temperature. Any milk is fine but the loaf cake may be slightly less moist
- 130g milk or dark chocolate chips separated (100g for cake batter, 30g to sprinkle on top before baking)
- Add the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- Add the softened butter and light brown sugar to a large mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer fitted with paddle or beater attachments, beat on medium speed for two whole minutes until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for around 30 seconds to combine.
- The mixture may look curdled at this point and that is ok!
- Add the mashed bananas, vanilla extract and milk and beat on medium speed again until just combined. It may still look slightly curdled.
- Add half the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined.
- Repeat with the final half of dry ingredients.
- Add 100g chocolate chips and beat briefly on low speed to combine.
- Pour the cake batter into your prepared loaf tin and level the top with a spatula.
- Sprinkle the remaining 30g of chocolate chips on top then place on the lowest shelf of your preheated oven and bake for around an hour. It takes 1 hour 10 minutes to bake in my oven so I suggest checking it is baked from around 55 mins – 1 hour as bake times can vary slightly with loaf cakes.
- Place the loaf tin on a wire rack to cool for around 20 minutes before carefully removing the cake from the tin and placing back on the wire rack to cool completely.
- The loaf cake is best stored in an airtight container at room temperature and will stay moist for up 5-6 days.