Hello world. Let’s bake something. Some days I want a baking challenge, like a many-layered cake with extravagant frosting. I’ll share some of these creations with you soon. But today, my first official day as a blogger, I want something simple. Something that feels like home, something I know that my kids will gobble up, something that I (and you) can make on a busy afternoon. I want this banana snack cake.
My mother, who was a tenacious, tour-de-force of a woman, did not enjoy baking. She worked, she parented, she ran the PTA and my brother’s hockey team and my Odyssey of the Mind team (I was very cool) and whatever other organization she could get her hands on, and she still put dinner on the table every night. She didn’t find much joy in baking, perhaps because she had so much else to do with the little free time she had. She did, however, love making a cherished family version of this snack cake, probably because she got so much satisfaction out of seeing the people she loved devour it.
She made it for house guests, for family gatherings, and as a special treat on the weekend. There were rarely any leftovers.
I asked her for this recipe as soon as I moved out and started trying to act like a grown up. A decade later, I still maintain that baking is a grown up thing to do. The original recipe comes from my great-aunt, another strong woman, and making it helped me discover that, unlike my mother, I love to bake. The process of following directions and getting a finished product that looks exactly like you intended and that is delicious to boot is deeply satisfying. Especially when the rest of my life looks like a craft and food tornado (thanks kids!).
I’ve tweaked the original recipe slightly, swapping out butter for margarine and oil to get a light crumb, using yogurt instead of buttermilk since it’s what I had on hand, and skipping the vanilla in favor of cinnamon for a warmer flavor. The result is a moist-but-light, buttery, chocolatey snack cake perfect for sunny weekend afternoons spent in the yard or on the deck. It holds together well enough to pack in a lunch (it has bananas so we can all agree it counts as a fruit), and it is deeply satisfying warmed up and spread with butter at the end of a long day.
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- 3 bananas, mashed
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°. Generously butter a 9 x 13 pan..
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix on low until just combined. Add the plain yogurt and bananas and mix on low until just combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix by hand until just combined.
- Add chocolate chips and mix gently by hand.
- Spoon mixture into prepared baking pan, and bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.