21/2 cups all-purpose flour
11/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
11/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso or coffee powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature
2 cups banana puree (3 to 4 very ripe bananas)
11/4 cups walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
10 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper.
To make the cake, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, 11/2 teaspoons cinnamon, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl by hand), beat together the 1 cup butter and 11/2 cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and instant espresso or coffee powder, then beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing until completely incorporated. Mix in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk and banana puree. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then stir in the pecans or walnuts just until combined. Don't overmix. Divide the batter evenly among the 2 prepared pans. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the chocolate and coffee in a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the 10 tablespoons butter until combined.
To assemble the cake, invert one cake onto a serving plate and peel off the parchment. Spread about 3/4 cup of the mocha frosting over the surface of the cake. Invert the second cake layer out of its pan, peel off the parchment, and place it over the frosted cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake.
recipe from bon appetite / photography by kristin kerr luber