This recipe feels strange and out-of-place on my blog in the middle of summer. This recipe does not feel summery at all. It feels like something you bake up in October, when the air turns crisp. Or in December, for an office holiday party. Or maybe in late February, with the first snow melts.
But there have been summer cold snaps in the East Bay, and I feel like they perfectly justify this banana chocolate crumb cake in the middle of July. The longest day of the year has come and gone, and I feel like this city still hasn’t made up its mind about the weather.
I spent the summer solstice wandering city sidewalks, blocks of shops and houses in full afternoon sun. It was Father’s Day, so I painted a mug at the ceramics studio for my dad. I ran a few errands. I went to the market for fresh produce. Filled my bag with corn, peppers, shallots, lemons, apricots, apples, mangoes, and plums.
I had dinner at a West Berkeley comida under string lights and a crescent moon.
It was so hot outside, and the warm weather continued for a week and a half.
Less than a week later, the weather turned cold and foggy. I found myself in the kitchen with a mug of hot chocolate and craving this banana chocolate crumb cake. Sweltering hot days turned into a streak of chilly nights.
The weather is back to normal over here, blazing hot and constantly sunny… But I’m still eating slices of this cake out of the freezer.
Here’s how we make it.
Good things begin with butter and sugar.
Some mashed banana and yogurt for good measure.
And a good dose of chocolate chips.
Dry ingredients into wet.
Thick, slightly chunky banana cake batter.
We layer half of our cake batter into a parchment-lined baking pan, and sprinkle on half of the crumb topping.
Then repeat with the other half.
We bake our cake until the center is set, chocolate chips are melted, and crumb topping is juuuust golden brown.
Individually wrapped slices keep well in the freezer… Just sayin’.
Banana Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake
For the cake:
- 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large bananas)
- 1/4 cup yogurt
For the streusel:
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8 inch square pan, or a 9-inch round pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and continue to beat until thoroughly incorporated. Beat in the mashed banana and yogurt.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and slowly mix them in until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Combine the streusel ingredients in a small bowl, working the cinnamon and brown sugar together. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
- Pour half of the batter into the greased and lined cake pan. Top with half of the streusel. Layer the second half of the batter evenly over the top, and top with the remaining streusel.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick or fork inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Watch the cake closely as it cooks, tenting it gently with foil after about 25 minutes to prevent the top and edges from browning and burning. Careful not to let the foil touch the melted chocolate chips on top of the cake.
I didn’t have brown sugar on hand, so I substituted in white sugar with a little maple syrup for the streusel. Worked just fine. Next time I would cut down on the chocolate chips, and definitely, *definitely* add the chopped nuts!