Tajin Chile Lime Seasoning and Chocolate Marbled Banana Bread: whew that’s a mouthful. I’m addicted to this not too sweet combination of dark chocolate swirled with a subtly spiced banana batter, the result is tender and flavorful without veering too far into dessert territory. Even the Mr. who, maddeningly, can take or leave most desserts made happy noises when we had this for breakfast.
I’ve baked one wedding cake in my life, technically I didn’t know it was a wedding cake but when someone asks for multiple layers and white frosting you suspect. One of the grooms favorite things was (is?) chocolate banana bread and ombre in all things was the rage so I decided on a five layer cake that began all banana and ended rich in chocolate. Sorry to disappoint, but there is no dramatic turn to this story. Five bowls and five cake pans later it actually worked and the ombre on the inside wedding not wedding cake arrived intact at it’s destination. It was a hit. It looked amazing. That was almost six years ago and I haven’t made chocolate banana bread/cake since.
Then last week I bought a bunch of bananas. We ate bananas (with Tajin sprinkled on top, of course). Then I forgot about that bunch of bananas. Then I lifted the unofficial ban on marbled banana bread. Life is good.
Some tips for getting the best banana bread possible
- Make sure the bananas are ripe enough. They should be soft with plenty of black and brown spots. You can freeze whole bananas peel and all if they get past the eating stage but you’re not yet in baking mode. Just remember to give them time to defrost before baking.
- How much you mash is up to you- purée the banana in a food processor if you don’t like banana bits, or use a fork for flecks of straight up banana throughout
Storing this (or any) banana bread
- banana bread keeps just fine on the countertop for four or five days. Just wrap tightly in parchment, foil, or plastic wrap
- you can freeze the tajin chocolate banana bread for up to 8 weeks- best to double wrap before placing in a freezer bag. Defrost in the wrapping for about two hours before serving.
Lets talk ingredients
- Tajin is the brand that introduced me to chile lime seasoning and for that reason it is my instinctive goto- almost anytime we have fruit for breakfast be it bananas or apples, pears or melon, there is just a touch of Tajin on top for flavor (and bonus, it slows down browning). That being said, there are a few alternatives that you might want to try instead.
- Trader Joes makes a chile lime seasoning blend that is also quite nice- a little less salty than Tajin, which, may or may not be a good thing.
- Penzeys Spices has a blend called Pico Fruta– I’ve not tried it but I love all things Penzeys and if you need to have things shipped this is a good way to go. Looks like they add sugar and cilantro so likely less salty than Tajin as well
- Speaking of Penzeys… I use their cocoa powders (both dutched and not) for baking and hot chocolate and and… In this recipe you are fine going with either dutched or natural. The smitten kitchen recipe I based this on used dutched and I used natural, so there you go.
Tajin Chile Lime Seasoning and Chocolate Marbled Banana Bread
- 3 medium to large very ripe bananas two strips cut lengthwise reserved for the top of the bread
- 1 stick 1/2 cup or 115 grams unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup 145 grams dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup 130 grams
- 2 Tablespoons approx. 20 grams all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp Tajin or other chili lime salt- plus more for the top of the bread
- 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons approximately 15 grams dark cocoa powder sifted if lumpy
- 1/4 teaspoon diamond kosher salt just a pinch if using fine salt
Heat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or coat it with a nonstick baking spray- alternately you can line the loaf pan with parchment.
Cut two banana strips for decorating the top of the cake and set aside.
Melt butter in the bottom of a large bowl in the microwave. Mash the remaining bananas directly into the butter until mostly smooth. Whisk in brown sugar, egg, and baking soda until thoroughly combined. Add 1 cup of the flour. Stir just until it disappears.
Pour half of batter into a second bowl. (You can eyeball it, it’s fine. Or you can know that my batter halves were roughly 365 grams each, but weights will vary with banana sizes.) Into one bowl, stir the 2 Tablespoons of flour and the Tajin chile lime salt. In the other bowl, stir in the cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and ground cinnamon.
Drop alternating blobs of tajin and chocolate batter into the prepared baking pan, then marbleize by using a spoon or small offset spatula to gently turn the batter over in three places down the length of the pan, you can swirl a little more than than but not much if you want to maintain the marbleized look when you cut the bread. Top with the two banana strips and sprinkle the top with about another 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Tajin (I had a spill and ended up with a bit more on the bananas than planned and it was delicious)
Bake 50-60 minutes, until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then gently run a knife around the edge and invert the banana bread onto a cooling rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s marbled banana bread