Reader Recipe Exchange: Banana Chocolate Cake

Banana Chocolate Cake

When Barbara Kopperman Becker was growing up in St. Louis, her mother, Mariam Kopperman, would bake a chocolate banana cake on Thursday to have for Shabbat dessert. 

“It was a ‘dairy cake,’ because it calls for buttermilk, which is made with milk and vinegar,” explained Becker, who attends Kol Rinah. “Nowadays, CoffeeRich can be substituted for the milk, which will make it parve,” adding, “it’s a scratch cake, but it is worth the effort.”

Becker related a funny story about –  literally – the icing on this cake. Her mother would make an icing using cocoa powder, powdered sugar, Spry (brand name vegetable shortening) and buttermilk, then drizzle it onto the cake. After the icing hardened, when no one was looking, Becker would carefully pick the icing off the sides of the cake. Unfortunately, her younger brother would always get blamed for her dirty work.

Fast-forward to many, many years later when Mariam Kopperman was living at her daughter’s home and Becker’s brother, Myron Kopperman, came to visit. 

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“My mother had pneumonia in her last year of life. It was then that I confessed it was me who ate the icing off the sides of the cake,” said Becker, laughing. “Myron couldn’t believe I would let him take the blame for all those years.”

By the way, Becker’s brother was the co-owner of the now-shuttered Kopperman’s Deli, in the Central West End. 

Banana Chocolate Cake


  • 2¼ cups sifted cake flour
  • 1tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 23 cup shortening
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ounces (squares) chocolate – melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 or 3)
  • ½ cup sour milk or buttermilk


Sift flour, baking powder, soda and salt

Cream shortening  with sugar until fluffy

Add eggs, one at a time

Add chocolate and mix thoroughly.

Stir in vanilla

Add sifted dry ingredients atlternately with bananas and milk in small amounts, beating well after each addition.

Grease two 9-inch circular cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.