Back when the world was a different place, one where you could casually walk into a bakery and peruse the offerings on hand, Mike and I loved going to one of the many little bakery cafes in our neighborhood. They had SO many baked goods: sweet little fun flavored loaves, all the cookies, laminated pastries, and, my favorite: a black bottom banana cake. Black bottom banana cake is kind of unassuming looking from the top. It looks like a square piece of banana cake. But hidden under it’s banana-y goodness, there’s a deep and dark layer of moist and rich chocolatey cake.

Out of all the tempting baked things they had, I chose the black bottomed banana cake and I chose right. It was just the right amount of sweet with a dense yet moist crumb. I feel like I could have eaten slices and slices. But now that the bakery is closed (maybe forever?!) I’ve taken to making black bottom banana bread at home.

Small Batch Black Bottom Banana Bread | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is black bottom banana bread?
Black bottom banana bread is a take on a black bottomed banana bar or black bottom banana cake. That is, it’s a chocolate cake on the bottom with a banana bread/cake on top. Black bottom, in baking, is when something has a chocolate base. It can be a chocolate crust for a pie or a brownie base for a bar cookie, or just about anything. A black bottom adds a secret layer of chocolatey richness and deliciousness.

What does black bottom banana bread taste like?
The bottom of this black bottom banana bread is a riff off of wacky cake, a cocoa based cake that happens to be vegan! Wacky cake was invented during WWII because of rationing but it’s around today still because it tastes darn good. It’s moist and surprisingly rich for such simple ingredients. I have a recipe for a small batch chocolate loaf if you’re looking for something that doesn’t have eggs, milk, or butter!

On top of the wacky cake I went with my all time favorite banana bread recipe from Flour Bakery. It turns out perfectly every single time and has just the right amount of banana-y flavor and a super light and fluffy texture that pairs perfectly with the chocolate base.

Black bottom banana bread tastes like two of your favorite quick breads in one which makes it all the more special to me.

Small Batch Black Bottom Banana Bread | www.iamafoodblog.com

Why should you make small batch black bottom banana bread:

It’s a small batch! This recipe will make one mini loaf (the ones that are 5.75 x 3.25 or 6 x 3) that is perfect for two or one. If you’re by yourself or with just one other person during this whole pandemic you probably don’t want a huge amount of the same baked good hanging about. I live for variety and maybe you do too. This is the best size, just right for having some fresh cake and a couple of days of breakfast and snack slices.

You can save your baking supplies! I don’t know about you but flour and sugar and getting more and more scarce at our grocery stores. I want to bake ALL the things but I also don’t want to be using up unnecessary ingredients by baking giant batches of things.

It’s delicious and you need a treat! I’ve definitely been turning towards food for comfort lately (actually this is nothing new) and this black bottom banana bread is cozy and comforting. And because each slice is small, I don’t feel too bad about it. Small batching has portion control built right in. Unless you eat the whole loaf LOL.

Small Batch Black Bottom Banana Bread | www.iamafoodblog.com

Small Batch Black Bottom Banana Loaf

A loaf cake with two flavors in one: a rich and chocolatey bottom topped off with banana bread.
Serves 1 loaf
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr

Ingredients

Chocolate Layer

  • 6 tbsp all purpose flour 45 grams
  • 1/4 cup sugar 54 grams
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp cocoa powder 9 grams
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 tbsp canola oil or other flavorless oil
  • 3/4 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract scant

Banana Layer

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons all purpose flour 52.5 grams
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup plus 1.5 tsp sugar 57.5 grams
  • 1/2 large egg whisk a large egg and weight out 26-28 grams or measure out 1.5 tablespoons
  • 2 tbsp canola oil or other flavorless oil
  • 1 very ripe banana about 6 tbsp or 85 grams
  • 1.5 tsp sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Lightly butter and flour pan a mini loaf pan (6×3 inches or a pan that fits 2 cups liquid). Heat the oven to 325°F.
    Small Batch Black Bottom Banana Bread | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Make the chocolate batter: combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Whisk until blended. The batter will still be lumpy. Pour into the prepared pan and set aside while you make the banana top.
    Small Batch Black Bottom Banana Bread | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Make the banana batter: combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat together the sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking, taking your time. Stir in the mashed banana, sour cream, and vanilla until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. No flour streaks should be visible.
    Small Batch Black Bottom Banana Bread | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Pour the batter on top of the chocolate layer and bake for 30-40 minutes. The cake should be golden brown on top and the cake will spring back when you gently press it and a skewer in the middle will come out clean. Cover with foil if it starts to brown too much.
    Small Batch Black Bottom Banana Bread | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes, remove from the pan and let cool completely on the wire rack. Slice and enjoy!
    Small Batch Black Bottom Banana Bread | www.iamafoodblog.com

19 Comments

  1. Eileen Conklin says:

    Step 2 mentions vinegar but it’s not in the ingredient list. Help! How much vinegar?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi eileen,
      it’s 3/4 tsp! i updated it, thanks for the catch :)

  2. Lauren says:

    Oh wow! I’d love to make this but don’t have an mini pans. Would doubling it work for a traditional loaf sized pan?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi lauren,
      absolutely! it might be a bit flatter, more like a cake than a loaf :)

      1. felicia cheong says:

        Hi, saw ur reply in regards to doubling the portion which might make it flatter. Is there any way to tweak the recipe for regular loaf pan and still get the same loaf effect? Thanks!

        1. Stephanie says:

          hi felicia,
          it depends on your loaf pan size, but i would try tripling the recipe!

          1. felicia cheong says:

            It’s a standard 9” x 5” loaf pan

          2. Stephanie says:

            i would go with tripling the recipe, which is a bit finicky, because of the 1.5 egg but if you 4x the recipe it it would be too much batter for your loaf pan.

  3. Patty says:

    I totally want to try this… but you mention vinegar in the instructions? Is this a mistake? Thank you!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi patty,
      not a mistake! i added the amount into the ingredients. thanks for the catch! :)

  4. Stephan says:

    I don’t like to use Canola or in general any other vegetable oil, I can I just use Butter or Ghee?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi stephan,
      i haven’t tried it with butter but it should work, it might have a slightly different texture

  5. cassi says:

    Just tried the recipe but attempted to veganize the banana layer as well- it is delicious! But it doesn’t quite resemble yours. Used an egg replacer for the egg, and vegan mayo instead of sour cream. It didn’t rise all that much or get quite as brown on the top, but still a success I’d say! I might play around with the leavening in the future or even try a marbled version for more even baking. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Bea says:

    Can i use apple cider instead of white vinegar? Also, you mentioned whisk a large egg(½ large egg) and weighed out 26-28gram. What is the purpose?Can I just retained it?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi,
      yes, apple cider vinegar will work. you can just save the remaining egg for another purpose, you don’t need the whole egg because it’s such a small loaf.

  7. Carmen says:

    Hi, I only have bread flour at home at the moment, will this make a significant difference? Can I sub the sour cream/greek yogurt with butter instead? Thank you

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi,
      i haven’t tried but it should be okay :)
      as for the sour cream/yogurt, i would probably just leave it out. it might not be as tender though.

  8. Beth M. says:

    Do you think this would work to make muffins instead of a small loaf? And if so, any thoughts on how many and a baking time? Thank you!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi beth,
      yes, they will definitely work as muffins. i think i’ll make about 6 of them, bake for 30 mins, then start checking them. hope that helps!

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Thanks for reading as always!
-Steph & Mike