Ann Taylor Pittman upgrades her banana-chocolate chip snack cake with a seriously indulgent frosting.

By Bridget Hallinan
October 08, 2019

Here's the long-awaited sequel to Ann Taylor Pittman's delicious carrot-almond snack cake: a banana-chocolate chip snack cake that has all of the flavors of banana bread, but with a creamy, indulgent peanut butter upgrade. Enter salted peanut butter frosting, which tops the simple cake in generous layer and makes for waves of flavor in every bite. The batter is also amplified by browned butter and a generous heap of of chocolate chips, which can be added as a garnish on top, too, if you’re in the mood for more chocolatey flavor. The end result is a low-effort, no-mixer-required cake that’s perfect for entertaining.

Here are Pittman’s key tips for making the dish:

Brown your butter

To start, she takes almost a full stick of butter and browns it in a pan on the stovetop. When you brown butter, she says, it’s amplified to a rich and nutty flavor, “like butter times five.” Just make sure you stick to medium heat—if you go any higher, the butter could spatter and brown too quickly. Once it’s done, take it off the heat and pour it into a bowl immediately so the cooking stops.

Use whole wheat pastry flour

When Pittman starts making the batter, she explains why she prefers whole wheat pastry flour to regular whole wheat flour. The former is milled more finely, she says, and it “behaves nicely” in everything from cookies to cakes.

Go for the brown bananas

When you’re at the supermarket, pick bananas that have brown spots on them—Pittman says they’re called sugar spots, and signify a sweeter banana. You then have to mash them, and Pittman recommends a fairly smooth consistency.

You don’t need a mixer for the batter 

Pittman first combines flour, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl, before adding in an egg, and then the banana mash, light brown sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla. (The browned butter and chocolate chips come last.) However, since snack cakes have a less refined texture than regular cakes, you don’t need a mixer to bring everything together—just a whisk.

Don’t forget the parchment paper

Before you add the batter to the pan, line it with parchment paper, allowing it to overhang about two inches. This not only prevents the cake from sticking to the pan, but also helps you lift out the cake. The extra paper acts as “handles,” which you can grab to transfer the cake to the cooling rack. 

Creamy peanut butter is your best bet

To make the salted peanut butter frosting, Pittman recommends creamy peanut butter, saying she prefers crunchy peanut butter for things like toast. 

Be careful how much salt you add

This is a salted peanut butter frosting, so you do want a noticeable salty flavor, just not too much. Use 3/8 of a teaspoon, as 1/4 isn’t enough and 1/2 is too much.

Be generous with your frosting

After the cake has cooled, add the frosting. Pittman dabs on big globs all over the cake, and then spreads it all out, ensuring it’s fully covered. Once it’s swathed, go back and create “swooshes” with your icing spatula. You can add more chocolate chips on top of the finished cake if you want. Now all that’s left to do is grab a slice and enjoy.

Get the recipe here.

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