Banana Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Dulce de Leche Frosting

Happy Halloween!!

Hopefully everyone is having a ghoulishly wonderful day! I suppose I should have posted something more fitting of the holiday, or at the very least, something with pumpkin in it, but this cake was too good not to share.

We are finally back from our vacation, and while it was sad to leave, it is certainly great to be back to the comforts of home. We had a great trip, and I plan to share some photos soon. It took us a while to back into the swing of things, because the jet-lag really kicked my but this time around. I totally blame it on the old age :)

It had been almost a month since I had baked anything, so what better way to get back into the kitchen than with a layer cake! For the last week, my indecision really got the best of me and I just couldn’t decide what kind of cake to make, so I decided to share one of my favourites. Even my super picky, chocolate cake loving taste testers deemed this to be a really, really good cake. So, that must count for something right?

The cake is an incredibly moist banana cake studded with dark chocolate chunks layered with dulce de leche AND a dulce de leche cream cheese frosting. Yes two layers of incredible deliciousness between each cake layer. Surprisingly it’s not overly sweet, and the cream cheese icing really balances all of the flavours. I opted not to frost the sides of this cake, because I love the rustic elegance it gives to the cake. Plus, I think it makes it more approachable, and not to mention that I absolutely despise trying to smooth the sides of the cake with cream cheese icing. It’s just not meant to be. That being said, there is enough frosting to do that if you choose.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Halloween!

Banana Chocolate Chunk Cake with Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: one 8-inch, 3 layer cake

A moist and decadent banana chocolate chunk cake, layered with dulce de leche and dulce de leche cream cheese frosting.


    For the Cake
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup (8 oz/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups very ripe mashed bananas (about 5 to 6 large)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate chopped (I used 72%)
  • For the Frosting
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz/ 1 stick), unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cold and cut into 10 pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons dulce de leche, homemade or store-bought
  • pinch of salt
  • about 6 to 8 tablespoons additional dulce de leche for assembly


    For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 3 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper, and coat the parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, and both sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. On low speed, add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl occasionally. Beat in the vanilla.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until combined, about 30 seconds. Add in the mashed bananas and yogurt, and mix on low speed just until combined. Fold in the chopped chocolate.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the 3 pans (I like to weigh the batter for very even cakes), and smooth out the tops.
  6. Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks and remove the parchment, and let cool completely.
  7. For the Frosting
  8. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and powdered sugar on medium speed (start off slowly), until combined and a thick paste is formed, about 5 minutes. Beat in the cream cheese, 1 piece at a time over medium speed until combined. Add in the vanilla and beat to combine. Add in the dulce de leche and salt, and beat on low speed until combined. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
  9. Assembly
  10. If you choose, trim the domes of the cake to create an even cake layers. Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate or stand. Spread a thin layer,about 3 to 4 tablespoons of dulce de leche over the layer. Top with about 1/3 of frosting (less if frosting sides), and spread evenly over the layer. Top with second cake layer, and repeat. For the top layer, only top with frosting and not dulce de leche. Drizzle frosted top with dulce de leche, if you wish.
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Jessica’s Notes:

    • I used quality store bought dulce de leche for this cake, but feel free to use homemade. The brand I really like is La Salamandra Dulce de Leche.




Cake recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, October 2012. Frosting is Portuguese Girl Cooks original.

  • Tashiana

    Ok. I am OFFICIALLY in love now. Like now. Dulche de Leche is my current ‘I can’t stop using it’ thing. And banana cake with frosting is my ultimate weakness. You are basically a wizard and the pictures here are amazing!

  • Alyssa

    This is fantastic. I’ve made it twice; once for my son’s 1st birthday party and again for his 2nd birthday, because it was so popular the first go-around! A high-quality jarred caramel sauce (or home-made) works well if you don’t have dulce de leche on hand…just use a little less. I’ve made it with both and they were both truly awesome. Thanks Jessica for a WONDERFUL recipe!

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Alyssa!! So happy to be part of your sons birthday! Happy that you enjoyed the cake!!!

  • Sheila Sinn

    I baked the layers and boiled the dulce de leche this evening and will frost it tomorrow for my friend, who requested a banana cake for her birthday. Came across your recipe and had to make it for her. Can’t wait to assemble it. I’ll report back.

  • Mafalda R.

    Really nice cake!! I tried it for the first time because I had to bake for 50 people in my works cake club and it was a success! thanks

  • Emily

    Fantastic cake ! Breathtaking photography……..

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thank you!!

  • Averie Cooks

    This looks so good, Jessica! The dulce de leche frosting just takes it to another level. Pinning!

  • Annie

    Can this get anymore tempting?? I don’t think so!

  • Tutti Dolci

    What a gorgeous cake, I’m in love with that dulce de leche frosting!

  • Sommer Collier

    Holy heaven, what have you done?!? I will NEVER be able to sop thinking about this cake….

  • Erin @ Texanerin Baking

    I just saw this on Pinterest and came over here and am a little dumbfounded as to how I’m just now visiting. It’s lovely! And this cake looks awesome. I’ve been using a lot of dulce de leche lately. With cream cheese. Best thing ever!

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks so much, Erin! I appreciate you stopping by :)

  • grandbabycakes

    Wow this looks so incredible. I adore banana in cakes. It gives it such a subtle flavor that is really so delightful. And the dulce de leche frosting seems like the perfect compliment for this.

  • Jen Laceda

    Hi, Jess! I love your blog! I’m glad we “met” through our food blogger’s group! Your cake looks so professional and the styling is just too pretty for words! I love, love, love it! Did I say “love” too many times? Lol.

    By the way, I started following you on Pinterest and I saw that you’re Canadian. Me, too!!! I’m from Toronto :) Glad to meet another food lover and talented cook / photographer from Canada! I’m off to catch up on your past posts…!

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks so much Jen! I’m from Vaughan, but lived in Toronto for many years, so looks like we are neighbours! Glad to meet someone from my neck of the woods! Thanks for stopping by.

  • Lori Lange

    I’d like to dive into that frosting, for sure!

  • Roxana GreenGirl

    oh my, What a gorgeous cake Jessica. I love dulce de leche and pairing with a moist banana cake sounds so good! Thanks for sharing

  • Georgia The Comfort of Cooking

    This is such a lovely cake! I love that you didn’t frost the outside of it… Doing that always proves too technical for me, and it’s frosting overload anyway. Great job!

    • Erin @ Texanerin Baking

      Same here! Smacking together some cake layers with frosting between each layer… I can do. But then making the cake look non-lopsided and then not getting crumbs in the frosting and so on? I hate that. I literally spend hours on it. So I’ve given up and never frost the sides. And like you said, who wants all that frosting? :)

  • Patty

    I love the look of your cake and the flavors sound just over the top delicious!

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks, Patty!

  • Filipa

    Que bolo fantástico!! Terei de experimentar sem dúvida!! Adoro banana e chocolate! :)

  • jelka

    I love it!

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks, Jelka!

  • Valerie

    I was already in love with this cake just by looking at the first photo (the fact that it contains a double dose of dulce de leche makes me all the more smitten). Welcome home, and happy Belated Halloween! :)

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks so much, Valerie!

  • Izy Hossack

    gaaaah, I can’t stand how delicious this looks! Loving the flavour combo – I always pair banana and caramel together haha :)

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks, Izy!

  • baker-in-disguise

    You had me at that first shot.. who can resist that!! am really taken in with the dulche de leche frosting!!

  • Rina I Thee Cook

    This looks delicious.

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks, Rina!

  • Mafalda Lucena e Vale

    Ai….ai…ai…. Estou a babar para cima do computador …. Que bolo delicioso…
    parabéns e espero que saiba ler português…
    Um beijinho

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      muito obrigado!

  • Jennifer

    Oh my god, this cake looks SO good! I really love how you haven’t frosted the sides of the cake. I think it looks so much more beautiful!

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thank you, Jennifer!

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    So glad you’re back! I can’t wait to see pictures! Now this cake – AMMMMAZING! I could really use a slice (or more like 3 slices) right now!

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks so much, Chung-Ah!

  • Erin@theLawStudentsWife

    Holy heavens, this look wonderful! Dark chocolate + dulce de leche + frosting between each layer?? **Swoon**
    I also really like the unfrosted look. Beautiful!

    • Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thank you so much, Erin!