Mock this….

I think of all the fruits, bananas are the meanest. They mock. Often.

First off, let’s just get it out of the way, they mock the male anatomy. The banana is used a lot to represent the male penis (about as well as Barbie represents the average female). And I am quite sure there has been many a time when a man has been peeling a banana and thinking to himself…I wish. And even more mocking is when the girlfriend/wife is thinking I wish too. ;)

But the real mocking that most of us relate to of course is the too many bananas mock. I personally fall into the Costco banana trap every time I go. I think, will I be able to use 15 bananas before they go bad? And though I know the answer is NO, I still buy because it’s such a good price. And before you say…oh you can freeze them, yeah, I think half my freezer is bananas. So no go there.
So there they sit. And mock. Mock me from the counter. Daring me to figure out how to use them as my husband respectfully requests no more banana bread. :)

Lucky for me a new cookbook arrived yesterday. There are just some cookbook authors you go to. Ones that even before I look at the book, I know it will be good and I pre-order it from Amazon. David Lebovitz is one of my go to’s. Now, I will admit that as a writer, he is not my favorite, I simply don’t get him. But what I do get is the food he makes. Simple, but oh so good. And at the end of the day I want to hear “mmmm, so good” rather than “oh, so pretty”. His foods are big on flavor with not too much of the fuss. Well, maybe a little fuss. So I was delighted when I got the package at my door. As with most pre-orders I had forgotten all about it until it showed up.

I was immediately drawn to the Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting with Salted Candied Peanuts (I used pecans). One because I wanted to see what he does with a banana cake. And two, I had bananas mocking me on the counter that needed to be put in their place…or cake pan as the case may be.
This man does banana cake well, so moist and with great banana flavor. I only deviated a little deciding to clear out the bottom of a bag of milk chocolate chips and I used pecans instead of walnuts because that’s what I had. I had originally thought I would skip the salted candied pecans. The original like I said, called for peanuts, but I didn’t have those. Sooo glad that I did not skip these. I have no idea what the peanuts taste like but the pecans are oh yum! In fact, I make the picky eater taste one. To which he said, “you best get these out of the house”. He meant that in a good way.

David’s frosting looks way better than mine. I got hit in the wrist twice this week at hockey. It’s all beaten up and ferociously whisking wasn’t happening. I should have thrown it in the mixer. Oh well, next time. Which there will be a next time. You hear that bananas? A next time. So mock me less, as I have found a new yummy way to use you!

Just Try and Mock Me Now Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting and Salted Candied Pecans

Banana Cake

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBSP instant espresso or coffee powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
6 TBSP sour cream
2 cups banana puree(3 to 4 very ripe bananas)
¾ cup chopped pecans
¾ cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans with baking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and coffee powder. Beat an additional 30 seconds.

Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.

Mix in half of the flour mixture on low speed, followed by the sour cream and banana puree.

Stir in the remaining flour mixture by hand. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. Be careful not to over mix.

Divide batter evenly among two pans. Bake until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Salted Candied Pecans

1 cup unsalted raw pecans
½ cup granulated sugar
3 TBSP water
½ tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon (I might have used more)

In a medium-heavy bottomed saucepan, combine pecans, sugar, and the water over medium heat. When the sugar begins to liquefy, begin stirring.
Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the sugar crystallizes.
Decrease the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring, letting the crystallized sugar on the bottom melt and brown slightly.

The, use a heatproof spatula to scrape up the liquefied sugar and continuously coat the pecans with it, tilting the pan to help the sugar coat the nuts evenly.

Once pecans are a bit glossy and coated with syrup(there will be some sugary crystals on them still, which is normal) sprinkle the seas salt and cinnamon over them Stir the pecans a couple of times, then scrape the candied pecans onto a baking sheet and let cool completely.

Mocha Frosting

10 ounces semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup espresso or strong brewed coffee
10 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature

Combine chocolate and coffee in a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Remove the bowl for the heat and whisk in the butter until combined.

To assemble cake: Run a knife around the sides of the cakes to help them loosen form the pans. Invert one cake onto a serving plate. Spread about ¾ cup of the mocha frosting over the surface of the cake. Invert the second cake layer out of the pan, and place it over the frosted cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake ( I skipped the sides as I am a lazy cake froster).

Chop the pecans and sprinkle them over the top of the cake. Again, I kept mine whole for appearance but if eating, chop.

Will keep for 3 days at room temperature in a cake dome or air tight container.

Adapted from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz (loving this book, go buy it)


  1. I was just at his blog looking at this cake, which he said was in the book. And I thought, banana CAKE? In layers? With frosting? I wasn’t sure what to think of it, but it has to be good. No wonder, with all that butter and chocolate in it.

  2. No mocking from here, this looks amazing!

  3. Oh my. I’m so glad I don’t have time to bake.

  4. errr, correction, I saw the pic of it on his flickr, not his blog….but anyway, I’ll have to try it.

  5. Sarah R says:

    I sit here reading this post with a loaf of banana bread in my oven…

  6. Looks delicious! We had to quit buying bananas because we end up using them more often in bread or ice cream than eating them. This cake looks like a good reason to buy a bunch though!!!

  7. My friend Katie sent me your blog, and for discovering this recipe alone, I think I owe her something. Y.u.m.

  8. Banana CAKE?! Holy crap, yum. I, too, have fallen into the Costco banana (among other things) trap. If I hadn’t just used the last of my frozen bananas for bread, I’d be making this this weekend. Next time, right?

  9. Mr. Lebovitz doesn’t hold a candle to what you come up with in the kitchen, Gracie! :)

    And speaking of Gracie.. wrists this time, eh? *sigh*


  10. Hello! Just found what I’m going to make Hillary for her birthday! I’m already drooling…

  11. I wonder sometimes why I come here. Because all I end up doing is craving cake. And wanting to make all of your recipes at once.

    This looks amazing! Bananas mock me as well. I only like to eat them when they are just past green. The second they are even thinking about turning brown, I want nothing to do with them. This looks like a sweet revenge.

  12. Hah! That’s the one thing about Costco — you definitely have to plan for feeding a crowd. Everything is super-sized there. That’s probably why I don’t buy bananas there. I know I would have a hard time going through 15 bananas in a week — even if I turned them all into yummy baked goods. ;)

  13. Oh, boy, just in time for the Costco bananas I have browning on my counter!

  14. Most of my Costco bananas end up in smoothies, and some go in the freezer. Like you I have enough in the freezer to see me through any unforeseen disaster. I do love a good banana bread, so I can’t wait to try this out. I saw this book Ready for Dessert at B&N the other day and it looks wonderful. It is definitely on my “must have” list.

  15. MMmmmmmocha frosting?! Wow! That cake looks to-die-for. And, by the way, I have no problem breaking off 2 bananas from the bunch in the grocery. (I also have about 3.5 bananas in my freezer too though. Hmmm…)

  16. A fabulous banana cake! It looks very tempting and moist!



  17. I guess everyone has the leftover banana problem. I don’t blame your hubby for getting tired of the bread…I end up giving loaves of it away!

    What I like about this recipe (other than using up bananas) is the chocolate and espresso in the frosting. (And the chips in the cake) Great combo with bananas!

  18. This is a rise above the regular old banana bread. Those frozen little banana torpedos will be happy in my freezer to be useful.

  19. This looks and sounds divine!

    My mom always buys too many bananas, but sometimes I think she does it on purpose on the off chance that something like this will replace them on the counter ;)

  20. I just got that book this week too and made the Rhubarb, Raspberry and Pineapple Cobbler last night. It was amazing. Looks like this cake is next!

  21. You mentioned that you have a lot of of bananas in the freezer; someone mentioned it in the comments too. I was just recently browsing foodgawker, and I found a recipe for banana ice cream that sounded really, really, easy. You take a bunch of peeled bananas, put them in the food processor,add any add-ins you like, then serve. I haven’t tried the recipe, so I’m not sure if it’s any good. It sounds worth a try if you don’t know what to with all those bananas!

  22. I just ordered that book – can’t wait for it to get here. I always buy more bananas than I need hoping I will have some leftover for cake or bread, but the banana lovers in my house (I am not one of them) always eat them all. Clearly, Costco is the solution.

  23. Wanting to lick the screen since top photo is awesome…bet the cake is even better. Love the proportions, too…lots of candied pecans this way :)

  24. Peabody, from the archives I just tried the Cracked Wheat Cider Walnut bread. I. am. in. love. This bread is so good there is just no description for it! The texture, the size, the TASTE. Amazing. When it was baking it smelled so good I couldn’t think straight. Next time I will cut back on the liquid because I had to add quite a bit of flour. I will be hunting out the book you got the recipe from.

  25. Thanks a BUNCH, I’ll have to try this one :-)

  26. You had me at salted candy pecans. I hope your wrist gets better soon.

  27. Absolutely stunning…YUM! That sounds so delicious. I need some now! I hope your wrist feels better soon! We went roller skating with our boys this past Monday and I swear we are both still feeling it!

  28. Yum to the candied pecans (my choice over peanuts, too.) And I love using up mocking bananas. My favorite cake is banana Looks de-lish.

  29. Simply beautiful! If you read the ingredients selectively (ie, ignore most of the butter), this is like pancakes, fruit, and coffee. So, cake for breakfast it is!

  30. A perfect way to get back at those darn bananas hehe this looks so so good! You sure showed them hehe :P.

  31. That’s a shame you don’t get David’s writing. I read his blog because of his writing. The recipes are just a bonus! That’s not to say I don’t have two of his cookbooks (and love them) and definitely plan to add this one!

  32. This looks so good! I want to order this book now :)

  33. Gasp! <- That's the sound of thousands of fans re: the comment on his writing, hee hee :) Anyway, I could NEVER say no to banana cake, but in this tropical country we've also been quite accustomed to just eating them straight off the bunch!!

  34. Well, I not only like your cooking, but I like your writing too. Your description of how bananas mock the male anatomy (and of Barbie) made me laugh out loud.

  35. This looks beyond amazing! Can I just say I love your writing tone!

  36. Do you know what I was thinking when I was reading your post? Maybe someone (maybe you) could write a recipe just with recipes to use with ripe bananas. Maybe Costo would sell it well! Next time I’ll do banana cake I’ll try this recipe, David’s recipes always turn out very well.

  37. Oh. My. God.

    I think I just saw heaven on a plate!

  38. Ooh this sounds good! Very Lebovitz-ish with the salted candiedness and the banana and chocolate. I usually just make smoothies with my frozen bananas, hmm…

  39. I actually have the opposite problem with bananas–I always eat them all before they go dark enough to cook with. Maybe we should have a banana exchange? :)

  40. I can’t wait to try this cake. I have the opposite problem with bananas as well. I have a husband and 2 year old who go through three bunches of bananas a week. They seem to sniff them out when I try to hide them for cake/muffin/bread. I never thought to buy them in bulk at Costco(we rarely go). It’s now on my list–right beside the 80 rolls of toilet paper :)

  41. I love David’s recipes! This cake looks great!

  42. I finally pried some bananas away from my family in order to make this cake. I didn’t use to frosting recipe though, instead I made a brown sugar buttercream that I saw with another banana cake recipe. My cake was also done around 26-30 minutes instead of 40. But it turned out wonderfully, the cake is light and fluffy. Mmmmm.

  43. Wow…I have the cakes in the oven and just got done making the carmalized pecans! The batter is awesome and I can’t stop eating the pecans. Hope this cake makes it to assembly!

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