Banana Cake (Zebra-Style)

How can you make regular banana bread even better? Swirl it with chocolate cake batter to make an amazing banana cake, the world’s tastiest and most adorable breakfast treat!

Zebra Style

It’s easy to trace the history of marbled cakes — long, fascinating, seemingly German in origin — we’ll come back to this soon! Traditional marbled cakes consist of blobs of batter slightly swirled together using a knife. Zebra cakes are different. Spoon fulls of batter are layered on top of each other. The weight of each spoon full of batter flattens the one below, making a horizontal striping in the cake. When the cake is cut, the resemblance to a zebra stripe isn’t perfect, but it looks pretty darn cool. So, we were surprised that with all of the big egos in the baking world, no one has laid claim to inventing this brilliant technique.

Banana Cake (Zebra Style)

We had baked a traditional vanilla zebra cake earlier this summer but weren’t thrilled with the flavor so decided, instead, to work with a delicious banana cake batter, so that we were sure that the outcome would taste as good as it looked. The chocolate portion of the batter includes both melted chocolate and cocoa to ensure a maximally chocolatey flavor and minimal appropriateness for the breakfast table. We put this recipe in the breakfast category of the blog, however, so that our readers can be super clear as to whether or not we consider a de facto chocolate cake an appropriate breakfast item (resounding yes, with applause). This recipe can be baked in either a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, or a 9-inch round cake pan, depending on whether you prefer your banana cake in loaf or cake form in the morning.

About Those Leftover Bananas…

Can you ever have too much banana? We think not! We’ve waxed on about the many different ways we like to express our love of banana flavor in breakfast or desserts on this blog, so just a brief reminder that you should feel free to use either fresh bananas, or any extra ripe bananas you might have conveniently stored in your freezer just for this purpose. Either way, you’ll end up with a lusciously moist banana cake.

Recipe Facts

  • Active Time: 25 minutes
  • Bake Time: 60-75 minutes
  • Yield: One 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf, or 9-inch cake. Serves 10-12.

Ingredients for Homemade Banana Cake (Zebra Style)

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large overripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk

Instructions for Banana Cake (Zebra Style)

  1. Grease and line a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan or a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas in a medium-sized bowl with a fork.
  3. To the mashed bananas, add the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Set the wet ingredients
  4. aside.
  5. Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) into the banana mixture.
  6. Set aside half of the batter in a separate bowl.
  7. Heat the chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave in 5 second increments until fully melted.
  8. Stir the chocolate chips, cocoa, and buttermilk into one of your two bowls of the the batter, scraping the sides of the bowl until the chocolate and banana batters are fully combined.
  9. Add a quarter cup of the chocolate batter to the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour a quarter cup of the banana batter on top of the chocolate batter. Repeat, alternating between the chocolate and vanilla batter until all of the batter is used up. Zebra stripes, here you come!
  10. Bake the banana cake in the preheated oven for 60-75 minutes if using a loaf pan, or 30-45 minutes if using a nine-inch cake pan, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  11. Transfer to a wire rack.
  12. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out of pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
  13. For best results, dust with powdered sugar before serving and eat immediately. This moist cake keeps well wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

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