The next time you find yourself with an extra banana in the kitchen and want to do some baking, but don’t feel like making a traditional banana bread, whip up a batch of these Black Bottom Banana Cake Bars. The two-layer bars have a rich, fudgy brownie base and a fluffy banana cake layered on top. They’re easy to make and just might be the perfect afternoon snack.
To make the bars, you’ll have to prepare two different batters at the same time. Fortunately, both of the batters are easy to make. They can even be mixed up by hand, without the aid of a hand or stand mixer! I recommend starting with the brownie batter, since it goes into the pan first. The brownies are made with both dark chocolate (chocolate chips are fine) and cocoa powder, which come together to give them a deep chocolate flavor. The brownies are fairly dense and, while they are fudgy, they’re sturdy enough to hold up all that banana cake without the two layers blending together. The banana cake is a one-bowl cake recipe that is light and fluffy, flavored with a generous amount of mashed banana and a hint of vanilla extract. I like to throw a handful of mini chocolate chips into the banana cake to tie it in with the chocolate layer below, but feel free to skip them if you don’t have any on hand.
The bars take a little longer to bake than a standard brownie recipe because there is so much batter in the pan. The cake can be tested for doneness with a toothpick, the same way as you would test a single-layer cake. Don’t worry about testing the brownie batter with a toothpick; the brownie layer will definitely be done baking by the time the banana layer is cooked and it will cook through without drying out. The cake is ready to serve as soon as it has cooled and doesn’t need any frosting or other garnishes. Serve it in generous slices, as the cake is a great combination of two of my favorite bakes and you’ll find yourself going back for seconds if you don’t make the first piece big enough!!
Black Bottom Banana Cake Bars
1/2 cup butter
2 oz dark chocolate, chopped (chocolate chips are ok)
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup mashed banana (1 large)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and lightly grease.
Make the brownie batter: In a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Add chopped chocolate and cocoa powder and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
In a large bowl, combine chocolate mixture with sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Whisk until well-combined. Add in flour and whisk until no streaks of dry ingredients remain and batter is smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Make the banana batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, banana, sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Add in flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until batter is uniform. Stir in mini chocolate chips (if using). Pour batter over the brownie batter and gently spread it into an even layer.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached. The cake should be gold brown and spring back when lightly pressed.