Wednesday, November 9

Recipe: Cinnamon Chocolate Banana Mexican Monkey Cake

Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Mexican Monkey Cake -

I know. You were expecting bread. Oatmeal Toasting Bread, to be exact. And the Hearty Lentil & Smoked Sausage Soup I promised to go with it. I'm getting there, really. (Update: The recipes are up! Click here for the bread and here for the soup.)

In the meantime, there was this yummy looking cake sitting on the counter begging to be photographed. And since I have yet to see anyone not, well, go bananas over it, I figured some of you might be interested in the recipe. Just a little something to hold you over until I serve up what you're really waiting for of course.

This is one of those handy cakes that you can pretty much rationalize eating any time of day. My hunky farmguy Joe polished off a piece this morning with breakfast. And while it can by no means be considered health food, nutritionally speaking it does have more going for it than, say, a couple of Chocolate Babycakes. There are the bananas of course, plus walnuts and cinnamon, which has a long history as both a spice and a medicine. And everyone knows that chocolate is good for you.

You could probably even sneak a little whole wheat flour into the recipe if you felt like it. What you do not want to sneak in, though, is that one extra overripe banana desperately staring up at you. Trust me on this.

Tempting as it may be, it will do very strange things to the bottom half of the cake. Measure out your 1¼ cups of mashed bananas and stop right there. Toss the last one into a smoothie or, if you must, the compost pile. I fed mine to the chickens.

This recipe is adapted from one that appeared in Bon Appetit magazine a few years ago. The snappy name is mine. The 'Mexican' part comes from the combination of chocolate and cinnamon that is popular in Mexico, not because this is a Mexican cake.

As always, I urge you to seek out local and organic ingredients; they really do make a difference.

Farmgirl Susan's Mexican Monkey Cake
Makes one 8-Inch square cake—Adapted from Bon App├ętit

**Click here to print this recipe**

1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 cup (1 stick/4 ounces) organic butter, softened (or 1/2 cup trans-fat free vegetable oil sticks, such as Earth Balance)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1¼ cups mashed, very ripe bananas (the riper the better)
2 Tablespoons organic yogurt or sour cream
1 Tablespoon organic milk
1½ cups organic all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat the oven to 350°. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. In a small bowl, combine chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts (if desired), and cinnamon; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and egg with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes (I use a hand held mixer). Add the bananas, yogurt, and milk, and mix well. On low speed, beat in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt just until well combined.

Spread slightly more than half of the batter in the pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon streusel. Carefully spread the remaining batter over the streusel and then top with the rest of the streusel.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This cake tastes even better the next day, and it freezes beautifully. You can freeze the cake whole or cut it into pieces, wrap them tightly in plastic, and place them in a zipper freezer bag. Defrost at room temperature—or in the microwave if you are being attacked by The Chocolate Force.

Other sweet recipes on
--Blueberry Breakfast Bars
--Just Peachy Blueberry Breakfast Bars
--Blueberry Bran Muffins (plus two other flavors of bran muffins)
--Cranberry Christmas Scones (tasty any time of year)
--Spicy Pumpkin Pecan Raisin Muffins
--Really Raspberry Tartlets
--Emergency Chocolate Cake
--Chocolate Babycakes
--Crazy Cookies
--Molasses Ginger Spice Snaps
--Chocolate Biscotti For Beginners
--Toasted Almond Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Still hungry? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.



  1. Yum !!!! I don't drink milk, so I never have milk in the fridge...any suggestions for substitutions for the TBS of milk? Maybe 1 TBS of vanilla soymilk?

  2. Mmmm... looks delicious.... Now I'm really hungry for something sweet!

  3. Susan,

    I wanted to let you know (baker to baker) that I've finally gotten around to making sourdough English muffins.

    Then I find this monkey cake which, obviously, I've got to try, waiting in ambush. So to get even with you I'm posting the recipe for my Apple/Ricotta Cheese coffee cake tomorrow. So there!

  4. That looks positively delish... I would have to modify it too -- since I cannot have dairy products. I use dairy free chocolate chips (usually semi sweets instead of milk choc.) in my recipes. And there are dairy free margerines too. Its been interesting adapting them. And since its such a small amount you can sub water in its place. As for the yogurt/or sour cream -- I will likely just omit it. I will let you know how this turns out!

  5. Need I say how delicious that looks, Susan? Yum!

  6. Mmmmh, that looks very yummilicious and "dirty"!!!

  7. OMG. That looks amazing, and I love the name!

    Must...make...Mexican Monkey Cake!

  8. I printed off the recipe just now. I was reading it and wondered if I can use the Baking Splenda instead of the granulated sugar? I don't digest sugar and would love to try this.

  9. Hi Leigh,
    I'm sure that another Tablespoon of yogurt would work (I almost just called for 3 Tb. of yogurt in the recipe so it would be easier than having to measure out yogurt and milk). And I bet soymilk would be fine, too.

    Hi Amanda,
    Welcome to the farm! : )

    Hi Kevin,
    I don't have any ricotta, and you probably know that, which means you're just being mean taunting me with Apple Ricotta Cheese coffee cake. So I'm not going over there. Well, maybe just to check out the English muffins. . .

    P.S. Do I detect the scent of a Battle Of The Bakers wafting through the blogosphere? (Or are you just still mad about the llama dream?) : )

    Hi Heather,
    Like I told Leigh, I'm sure that soy milk would be a fine substitute--probably for all 3 Tablespoons. And Earth Balance Natural Buttery Sticks (available at natural food stores) are dairy free. They work pretty well for most baked goods.

    Hi Nic,
    Why thank you. : )

    Hi Rosa,
    Oooh, a new food word--'yummilicious!' I like it. Definitely describes the cake, too. : )

    Hi Amy,
    The Chocolate Force is always lurking somewhere on the farm (usually right next to me, waiting to overtake my brain). : )

    Hi Jamie,
    You must let me know how it turns out.

    Hi Vickie,
    I have no experience baking with Splenda, but I do keep reading that you can use it as a substitution for sugar in pretty much any recipe.

    Maybe somebody else has something more helpful to add regarding Splenda?

  10. Susan,

    I'm over my mad llama dreams.

    On the subject of Splenda, I've used the baking version. It's not bad, although I think I can detect a faint metallic aftertaste. The problem with it is that unlike real sugar it's not hydrophilic and so baked goods tend to dry out much faster.

  11. That name is BRILLIANT. I had to read more...and the cake, well, I am hungry now for sure.

    And...Im betting that is one happy chicken...lucky Lindy to be eating your table scraps!

  12. Farmgirl I made this cake last night, and I cannot begin to describe how absolutely yummy it is! Except to say that I ate so much of it when it was hot and pudding like, that I began to feel slightly ill. And I have another piece (there was some left) with me to sustain me during a long morning at work. I made only 2 changes to your recipe - I had no choc chips so I cut a bar of plain chocolate up into small chunks, which gave me lovely gooey bits in the cake and puddles and lumps of chocolate. I used the walnuts and I am glad I did. And I used 1 cup of wholemeal flour, and half a cup of white flour. That helped it stand up to my extra chunky topping, I think.
    The way the sugar goes crunchy on the top is magical. And the smell while it is cooking, oooo yum. I am suprised I didn't get a queue forming down the street!

  13. I found your blog by accident and am so glad I did. I just made your Mexican Monkey Cake and it's amazingly delicious. My house smells wonderful and I can't wait to share it with everyone when they get home later. Thanks for posting it. Your blog is really enjoyable to read. Robyn


  15. Hi Farm Girl
    I've made your Mexican Monkey Cake three times in the last two weeks - needless to say - it's fabulous, totally versatile, addicting and downright dangerous! The first time I made it I doubled the recipe knowing that one 8x8 pan wouldn't last long in my house with two chocoholics in residence. (I actually followed the recipe exactly which is totally unlike me as typically I am incapable of following recipes as I always seem to be missing some ingredient or become "inspired" mid-recipe) The smell when it was baking was so cozy/comfy - perfect for a fall day. The second time I made it I used whole wheat flour and homemade apple butter that I thought was applesauce and I cut up one Braeburn apple and put half in the batter and half with the Streusal layers - also yummy, not too sweet (maybe because of the ww flour?) and a different cake altogether - per my husband's opinion. The last time I made this was as I had intended for the second go around - before I got distracted by the apple idea - and that was with substituting with ww flour alone which was fine until I was nearly finished mixing the batter and looked around and saw an innocent bag of quick oats on the counter and before I knew it a couple handfuls had been thrown into the bowl. The finished product was moist (denser than the original recipe - we like stick to your ribs food) and I think the oatmeal added a little more texture but might try a bit more next time. I also used Soymilk instead of regular as it was all I had on hand which worked fine. My husband loved the cake right out of the oven. It does freeze really well which is good since I've made so much of it and only gets better with age - well, after two days at least - it won't last much longer than that! I'd send pix but my camera batteries died. Love your blog - don't even know how I came upon it originally but it's now in my "Favorites"! Thank you!

  16. My hubby made this for me on New Years Eve--delicious! I think I'll leave him recipes more often!

  17. This is really good cake and even after being frozen for a few months it's a wonderful chocolate, spice, gooy treat.

    Ya, I was cleaning the freezer last night. Now that my taste buds have been reminded, I'm making more tonight!! This one is a keeper and I LOVE the name.

  18. Awesome cake, I used have the chocolate chips recommended and used Mexican Abuelita (a Mexican Chocolate with Cinnamon) for the balance. Delicious!

  19. Just finished your recipe...was looking for Mexican Monkey whatever, when you're site jumped on my computer screen.  Wow, this will be served at our Inverness "No Monkey Business Jamboree", golf event for lady golfers in Florida. Evil, strictly Evil, when tasting this recipe....Marilyn, President of Inverness Women's golf Program.

  20. Susan,
    Total fan and OMG! this is absolutely delish!!! I baked some last night since I had some ripe bananas sitting around the house. A definite keeper!!!


  21. Hi Farmgirl! I found your blog via another site and totally loved the name of the cake! I'm pretty sure that I have all the ingrediants so a baking I will go! If your other recipes look half as good as this one, I'll be visiting often. Thank you for posting!

  22. Thanks for this great recipe. My kids and neighbour loved it.

  23. I saw this and was glad to have another recipe for ripe bananas, because I had a bunch...And Oh. My. Goodness!! This stuff is amazing!

    We are halfway through it, and I just had to restrain myself from getting after my husband for eating one of the bananas I was eyeing for another batch. I need to try it with milk chocolate chips and in muffin cups and slivered almonds and chopped dates and...

    Thanks so much for the awesome recipe!

  24. Have it in the oven baking right now:) I used coconut yogurt and coconut milk. May cause an international disruption as I used my favorite Vietnamese cinnamon:) Will try to share my results and I am confident it will be good.

  25. This is simply delicious! Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe!!

  26. So late to the party, and don't even know if comments are still open, but...
    As much as I have loved every other recipe I've ever made from this site--I'm not a fan. It's just too sweet. And I am a gal with an enormous, hangry sweet tooth.
    If I made this again, I would:
    -cut back the choc chips to 3/4 cup (and would use mini-morsels to ensure good coverage)
    -cut back the brown sugar to 1/2 cup
    -cut back the white sugar to 1/3 cup

    That said, I still love this site so much and come back here often for inspiration and recipes that I have always been meaning to try. I know that you post much less often, Farmgirl Susan. Seasons of life change and what seemed right 5 years ago is not so important. But it is wonderful that your site is still up and available for perusing. So thank you for that!

    Hugs, Sue


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

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Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!