Yield: 8″ mocha banana cake // Total Time: 1 hr. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. // Updated 10/2/23, previously “Mocha Banana Snack Cake”
Moist espresso banana cake filled with chocolate chips and topped with an espresso cream cheese frosting.
mocha banana cake with chocolate espresso buttercream
I absolutely LOVE all things espresso and mocha, especially when combining those things with baking. When you are looking for something to do with those sad bananas resting on your counter and are tired of making banana bread, try this instead! This mocha banana cake features an espresso chocolate chip banana cake, that gets topped with a chocolate espresso buttercream and even more chocolate chips. It’s seriously so delicious, extremely moist, and ridiculously easy to make! The only “fancy” ingredient you may need for this is espresso powder!
weigh your ingredients
Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient which can give you some undesirable results. This kitchen scale is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out! If you don’t have access to a scale, here is the best way to measure flour: fluff up the flour with a fork, then use a spoon to scoop it into your measuring cup. Use a knife to level off the top of the cup, then use as directed.
mix the batter carefully
After adding in your flour, you’ll want to be careful to only mix until that last streak of flour disappears into the batter to avoid over-mixing. Over-mixing your batter leads to developing more gluten in the batter, which will make the bread more tough and chewy.
room temperature ingredients
It is important for the ingredients to be at room temperature so that they properly incorporate with each other. If you have ever had your batter look curdled, it is most likely due to the ingredients separating from being at different temperatures. Take out the eggs and sour cream at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hr 30 min. before starting the recipe. A little hack that I do is to run the eggs under hot water for 1 minute to bring them to room temp. and microwave the sour cream in 5-second intervals until it’s no longer cold (but not hot.)
keep a close eye on the cake!
Baked goods love to go from underbaked to overbaked in what seems like a split second. Start checking at the cake with a toothpick around 25 minutes. The cake is done when only a few moist crumbs stick to the toothpick, or if the toothpick comes out clean.
ingredients and substitutions
For the mocha banana cake:
Banana: you will need ~3 medium sized very ripe bananas for this recipe. Only ripe bananas will work here. Bananas that are still very yellow/green will be less sweet and add way less moisture to the cake.
Unsalted butter: for tenderizing the cake and giving it that classic buttery taste. You can substitute in salted butter, just omit the extra salt from the recipe.
Light brown sugar: for sweetening, flavor, and for moisture.
Granulated sugar: for sweetening the cake and keeping it moist.
Eggs: for moisture, structure, and binding the batter together.
Vanilla: I use and love this vanilla extract. We will use some vanilla in the bundt, and some in the glaze.
Sour cream: for moisture and for keeping the cake tender. You can substitute in buttermilk or greek yogurt if needed.
All purpose flour: the structure of the cake. I would not recommend using cake flour as the cake is already super fluffy and tender using the all purpose.
Baking powder: for helping the cake rise.
Salt: for balancing and bringing out the sweetness of the cake.
Espresso powder: I highly recommend getting some espresso powder for this recipe. Espresso powder is essentially instant espresso, much more concentrated and more finely ground, making it better for baking applications. However, if you are unable to get your hands on espresso powder, instant espresso or instant coffee will work great here as well!
Semi-sweet chocolate chips: for texture and for having delicious chocolate throughout the cake of course! Use your favorite chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, or chopped baking chocolate here.
For the chocolate espresso buttercream:
Unsalted butter: the base of the buttercream. Feel free to use salted butter here, just be sure to omit the extra salt if using!
Salt: helps balance and bring out the sweetness of the buttercream
Powdered sugar: sweetens and thickens up the buttercream. If you are looking for more of a melt-in-your-mouth texture, use organic powdered sugar!
Dutch process cocoa powder: makes the buttercream into chocolate buttercream! I prefer the taste of dutch process cocoa, but natural cocoa can easily be substituted in here as well.
Heavy cream: helps thin out the frosting to a pipeable consistency. You could also use milk or your favorite non-dairy milk alternative.
how to make mocha banana cake
mocha banana cake q&a
can I double this recipe?
Definitely! Simply double all of the ingredients then split the batter between two 8″ square pans.
how to store mocha banana cake
This cake will taste the best and most fresh on the day that it is baked, but will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days. If you use the espresso cream cheese frosting, the cake will need to be stored in the fridge.
alternative topping: espresso cream cheese frosting
The first iteration of this blog post included an espresso cream cheese frosting, and it now has an option for a chocolate espresso buttercream! Here’s how you can make the espresso cream cheese frosting, if desired –
- 110g cream cheese (1/2 c.), 56g unsalted butter (1/4 c.) – both room temperature
- 120g powdered sugar (1 c.), 1/8 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. espresso powder
- In a small mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat together the butter, cream cheese, salt, and espresso until smooth.
- Slowly beat in the powdered sugar until fully combined. Once the cake has fully cooled, spread the frosting over it and top with additional chocolate chips. Enjoy!
why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale.
a note on oven temperature
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature and aren’t always at the temperature they claim to be. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.
tools and ingredients
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here!
did you make this mocha banana cake?
If you made this mocha banana cake I would love to see it and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Mocha Banana Cake
Mocha Banana Cake
- 113 g unsalted butter (½ c.)
- 250 g banana mashed (~3 medium bananas)
- 2 tsp. espresso powder
- 105 g light brown sugar (½ c.)
- 50 g granulated sugar (¼ c.)
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 45 g sour cream (3 tbsp.) room temperature
- 170 g chocolate chips (1 c.)
- 190 g all purpose flour (1 ½ c. + 1 tbsp.)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
Chocolate Espresso Buttercream
- 113 g unsalted butter room temperature (8 tbsp.)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 190 g powdered sugar (1 ½ c. + 1 tbsp.)
- 32 g dutch processe cocoa powder (⅓ c.)
- 2 tsp. espresso powder
- 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
Mocha Banana Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Butter and line an 8" square pan* with parchment paper.
- In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the butter in 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval until it's just completely melted.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, mash the banana with the espresso powder.
- Whisk in the melted butter and both sugars.
- Add in both eggs, the vanilla, and sour cream. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is well combined.
- Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together until only a few flour streaks remain. Add in the chocolate chips, then mix just until no flour streaks remain.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Chocolate Espresso Buttercream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and salt for 1 minute.
- Add in half of the powdered sugar and beat until combined, then beat in the rest of the powdered sugar.
- Add in the cocoa powder and heavy cream. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is well combined.
- Once the cake has fully cooled to room temperature, top it with the buttercream. Garnish with additional chocolate chips, then serve and enjoy!