Recipe: Ina Garten’s Chocolate Banana Crumb Cake

For our dinner party menu from Ina Garten’s new book, Make It Ahead, we knew we needed a classic Ina dessert — something easy and relaxed, but totally showstopping. When we flipped to the page with this chocolate banana cake, we knew we’d found it.

And when Faith talked to Ina, she also got an ingenious tip for not only making this cake ahead, but also making it even more moist a day later.

About this cake, Ina says, “When we tested this recipe, we all couldn’t stop eating it! The combination of banana, chocolate, and streusel is irresistible.” Um, yes.

And a cake like this is the perfect choice for a dinner where you want to make everything ahead. Not only is it easily made ahead, but Ina let us in on a tip she learned while at her store, Barefoot Contessa. “When you are making a pound cake or banana cake,” she told Faith, “if you wrap it well and refrigerate it it gets moister. It actually gets better!”

So give it a try with this cake! Bake, cool, wrap, and refrigerate, then take out about an hour before dinner, and serve at room temperature with homemade whipped cream.

Chocolate Banana Crumb Cake

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (3 to 4 very ripe bananas) (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the streusel topping:
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sliced blanched almonds

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8x8x2-inch square baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on low, beat in the egg, vanilla, banana, and sour cream and mix until combined. Don’t worry—it may look curdled. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

For the streusel, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a medium bowl and pinch the ingredients together with your fingers until the mixture makes crumbles. Add the chocolate and combine.

Distribute the streusel evenly over the batter, sprinkle the almonds on top, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan and serve warm or at room temperature.