Everyone loves a beautifully decorated layer cake, but I love everyday cakes just as much. When I talk about every day cakes, I am referring to cakes that are baked in just one pan, don’t require any special techniques and can be enjoyed both plain or with frosting. They are cakes that are so easy to make that you can bake them any time you feel like turning on the oven – and these Chocolate Chip Banana Cake Bars fit that description perfectly.
The cake bars are baked in a 9×13-inch baking dish and the batter is no more difficult to put together than your average banana bread recipe. If your kitchen is anything like mine, the odds are good that you have a couple of bananas just waiting to be put to good use in a recipe like this one. The batter comes together quickly and easily, and the bars bake up just as fast, thanks to the large baking pan. The finished cake can be cut into squares of any size, ready to be served up as a low-key dessert or simply nibbled on with a cup of coffee in the afternoon.
The cake is moist and soft, with plenty of banana flavor in every bite. The spices compliment, rather than dominate, the banana. There are plenty of chocolate chips to go around in this cake, and the batter is thick enough that they remain suspended in the cake, rather than sinking down to the bottom during baking. The chocolate is rich enough that I felt these cake bars did not need any frosting. I finished mine with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. If you do want to dress them up a bit, however, a thin layer of cream cheese frosting would work very well here.
This cake will keep for several days after baking if stored in an airtight container. It is quite sturdy, so it is also a good choice for wrapping up and packing in a lunch box for a school day, a work day or a weekend picnic!
Chocolate Chip Banana Cake Bars
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 large ripe bananas, mashed (approx 1 cup)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, egg, mashed bananas, vegetable oil and vanilla extract until very smooth. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk. Stir in remaining flour mixture, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Fold in chocolate chips and spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Allow cake to cool completely before slicing.
Top with powdered sugar before serving.