When you think about coffee cake, you probably think about a streusel-topped cake that is meant to be served alongside a cup of coffee. This Coffee Chocolate Chip Banana Bread is literally a coffee cake, flavored with coffee and studded with chocolate chips. It’s a delicious and easy to make loaf cake that delivers a wonderful combination of banana, cinnamon, coffee and chocolate in every bite. There may not be any streusel in sight, but it does pair extremely well with coffee, too.
The banana bread starts – as many banana breads do – with lots of ripe bananas. You can use bananas that are nearly black in this recipe, but as long as they are speckled and soft enough to mash easily, they’ll work. If you need tips on ripening bananas, check out these suggestions to help you to speed the process along if yours aren’t ready to bake with just yet. The bread is flavored with cinnamon, vanilla and coffee. You can use either instant coffee or instant espresso powder, though I would favor the deeper flavor of the espresso powder if I had to pick between the two. Since instant coffee doesn’t always dissolve seamlessly into cake batter without a little help, it is first dissolved in some hot water before being mixed in.
I typically use buttermilk when making this loaf, but you can also use sour cream. The only difference between the two is that the batter will be a touch thicker if using the sour cream, but it won’t make much difference in the finished product or the baking time. You can also use plain greek-style yogurt. I love that the loaf is flexible, so you can really use up what you have on hand instead of picking up additional ingredients at the store before you bake.
The loaf is dense and moist, with a soft and surprisingly tender crumb. You can really taste every element individually, though they all work together beautifully. The coffee’s strong, bittersweet-flavor also ensures that this loaf will not be overly sweet. In fact, to sweeten it up, you can sprinkle coarse sugar over the top of the loaf before baking. Coffee, banana and cinnamon are an excellent flavor combination, but they get even better when chocolate i brought into the mix. There are plenty of chocolate chips to ensure you get some chocolate in every bite.
Coffee Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 medium, ripe bananas (about 1 1/4 cups, mashed)
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp instant coffee (2 tsp instant espresso)
1 tbsp hot water
1/3 cup buttermilk or sour cream
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tbsp coarse sugar (for topping)
Preheat oven to 375F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, mash the banana. Add in melted butter, sugars, egg and vanilla extract and whisk until well-combined.
In a small bowl, dissolve together instant coffee and hot water. Add to banana mixture and stir to combine. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk. Stir in the remaining flour mixture and mix only until no streaks of dry ingredients are visible. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
Whisk together topping ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the banana bread.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top of the bread springs back when lightly pressed.
Allow loaf to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 1 loaf