This banana coffee cake is the perfect banana bread and coffee cake hybrid! It’s soft, moist, and SO flavorful with a pecan and chocolate chip infused streusel topping.
Your New Favorite Breakfast Cake
This beautiful banana coffee cake is a delightful cross between my banana bread, banana muffins, and best coffee cake recipe. It has a perfectly balanced, distinctly banana crumb that’s moist, but not too moist. It’s richly flavored with a nice touch of cinnamon, and the crumbly, buttery streusel has pecans mixed in for depth of flavor (and a subtle crunch). Mini chocolate chips are the cherry on top, and they pair beautifully with the bananas.
Why You’ll Love This Banana Coffee Cake
- Flavor! Between the moist, ripe-banana crumb, the subtle tang of buttermilk, the flair of cinnamon, the crumbly-crisp streusel punctuated with nuts and chocolate, this is everything you could ask for in a coffee cake.
- A+ texture. Banana-based baked goods must be carefully balanced (say that 5 times fast), and when not done properly the texture suffers. My recipe yields a soft, flavorful, perfectly tender crumb that’s just honestly delightful.
- The topping puts everything over the top. And yet, it’s not too decadent or rich (coffee cake shouldn’t be either of those things). It adds a lovely crisp texture that complements the tender banana-flavored crumb. The chocolate, the nuts… coupled with the banana crumb they just make this truly the best breakfast cake you’ll ever try.
- It’s easy to make. No mixer, no fancy technique, no special ingredients. A few humble pantry staples come together to make an incredible treat.
This recipe was surprisingly tricky to figure out, and I think I made 20 versions before I was happy with it. Bananas can be tricky to balance. If you use too many, the crumb can be soggy, spongey, and just too moist; on the other hand, if you use too little, you have a weak flavor.
I worked really hard to balance things and am thrilled with how it ultimately turned out.
What You Need
Most of these ingredients are pretty straightforward, so I won’t spend too much time going over them. Here are a few to note before getting started:
- Bananas. Your bananas should be very ripe, preferably even riper than the ones pictured above. Brown or even black bananas will give you the most flavor here, just like in my banana cupcake recipe.
- Nuts. I changed up my traditional streusel recipe a bit by adding in some nuts. I like to use pecans here, but you can always use walnuts–either complements the banana really well. Or you can just leave out the nuts entirely, no other alterations to the recipe needed.
- Buttermilk. This makes our banana coffee cake super tender, moist, and flavorful. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, I have an easy buttermilk substitute you can make in a pinch.
- Cinnamon. I don’t always add cinnamon to my streusel, but when it comes to coffee cake, it’s a must! This adds so much complex flavor.
- Mini chocolate chips. These are optional and of course add richness to the cake, but chocolate and banana go SO well together, so I couldn’t resist. If you like chocolate chip banana bread, definitely go for the chocolate chips here! I don’t mix them into the streusel, but sprinkle them on top just before baking.
SAM’S TIP: While we are using baking soda and buttermilk together here, they don’t always have to be used in conjunction. Sometimes buttermilk is added without baking soda simply for the flavor and texture it imparts, like in my blueberry cream cheese muffins. I don’t recommend just adding baking soda to a recipe that uses buttermilk unless the recipe explicitly says to.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Banana Coffee Cake
My streusel is SO easy! There’s no pastry cutter needed, since we used melted butter instead of cubed cold butter. I love this method!
- Whisk together all ingredients except the butter and chocolate until combined.
- Drizzle in the melted butter and claw the mixture together with a fork until the mixture is clumpy. Set the streusel and the chocolate chips aside for later.
- Cream together the butter and sugars, then stir in the eggs until well combined.
- Add the mashed banana and vanilla and stir well.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then gently fold half into the wet ingredients.
- Add the buttermilk and stir until almost completely combined.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients to the pan and stir until just combined.
SAM’S TIP: This batter must be completely mixed until it is uniform, but be careful that you don’t over-mix. Over-mixing quick breads like this cake (and muffins too!) can make the crumb dry and too dense.
- Spread your batter into a greased/floured or parchment lined 9×9 pan.
- Sprinkle the streusel in an even layer, then evenly scatter the chocolate chops over the top.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350F and let cool completely before slicing.
SAM’S TIP: While my other coffee cake recipes have a glaze, I found that it was just overkill here, especially with the chocolate chips. If you’d like to use a glaze, you can leave out the chocolate chips and use my vanilla glaze; however, I prefer it this way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! You can double this recipe for a 9×13 pan. Note that your bake time will be longer, and even longer yet if your pan is glass. Use a toothpick test to check for doneness, as always.
Once cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature. It will keep this way for up to 3 days. You can also wrap and freeze this cake for a few months.
In America, “Coffee cake” is referred to as a frosting-less cake that is meant to be served with coffee, not a cake made with coffee. Banana coffee cake is simply a banana-flavored spin on the classic cake, it pairs well with your morning cup of Joe! Here’s a fun history on the origins of coffee cake!
Interested in another flavor coffee cake? Let me know what you’d like to see in the comments below!
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Banana Coffee Cake
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (50 g) light brown sugar firmly packed
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten (room temperature preferred)
- 1 cup (235) mashed overripe banana (about 2-3 bananas for me)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups (220 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup (60 ml) buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9×9 baking pan with baking spray (or grease and flour, or line with parchment paper). Set aside and prepare streusel.
- Whisk together flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt, and nuts.1 ¼ cup (156 g) all-purpose flour, ½ cup light brown sugar, ⅓ cup granulated sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅓ cup (38 g) chopped pecans or walnuts
- Drizzle melted butter over mixture and use a fork to claw together until you have a clumpy streusel. Measure out chocolate chips and set aside along with streusel for later.6 Tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, ⅓ cup (65 g) mini chocolate chips
- Combine butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer or stand mixer to beat until well creamed.½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar, ¼ cup (50 g) light brown sugar
- Add eggs and beat until well-combined. Stir in mashed banana and vanilla extract.2 large eggs, 1 cup (235) mashed overripe banana, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.1 ¾ cups (220 g) all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¾ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet and use a spatula to gently fold together until nearly combined. Add buttermilk, stir until nearly combined, then add remaining flour mixture and stir until just combined.¼ cup (60 ml) buttermilk
- Spread the batter evenly into prepared pan. Top batter with the streusel mixture in an even layer and sprinkle mini chocolate chips overtop, if using.
- Transfer to center rack of oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. This recipe may be tightly wrapped and frozen (after cooling completely) for several months.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.