What’s on my plate? Banana Chocolate Cake and the story behind it!

This is a first for me, so be kind!

I’m joining my good friend Donna from Retirement Reflections and her friend Deb the Widow Badass, for their monthly What’s on Your Plate? challenge series.

I’m not known as a cook, or a baker, or a foodie – so to join these other bloggers sharing what’s on my plate is kind of a big deal for me. But hey, it’s my year of being Bold remember, so nothing ventured, nothing gained!

I love a good recipe and sometimes the story behind it can be just as enjoyable as eating the finished product – so here’s my story to go with the cake. I hope you enjoy both!

Some background on this cake

I have had this recipe for many years. When I worked in the Correctional Centre, as the Manager of Education, I tried to include an array of interesting and useful short courses for the male inmates. We decided a Nutrition course could be informative and help the inmates prepare for life when they were released – trying new foods, gaining new skills, learning quick and easy recipes and learning about basic nutrition.

The wonderful TAFE teacher, Mandy, who has since become a great friend, would decide on the course content for the one day visit, shop for the course and bring everything, including a convection oven, with her.

The inmates would start with learning cleanliness in the kitchen, basic skills, nutrition information, healthy eating options and then they would prepare the food. This was their favourite part and all these big burly men became clean freaks, took it in turns to do things, shared utensils and ingredients and proudly showed off their efforts before eating it all!

The class introduced the inmates to basic cooking and sometimes new foods, depending on what Mandy had prepared for them. The logistics of this course were crazy – everything Mandy brought in had to be checked over by Correctional Officers for security purposes and the class was observed by patrolling officers throughout the day. The inmates would show a different side to themselves in the classroom and behaved exceptionally well. It was a real treat to have this course available and they didn’t want to risk losing it!

One of the recipes Mandy regularly used was this Banana Chocolate Cake. It has become one of my favourites when I have old bananas needing to be used up.

I’m sure Mandy would love me to share her recipe with you – she’s that type of person!

  • 3 bananas
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate


Mix all ingredients, (except chocolate bits), until smooth, pour into 20cm square or loaf tin. Top with finely chopped chocolate bits. Slice banana on top.

Cook at 180c for 30 mins.

The cake is a bit dense but it is delicious either warm out of the oven or cold in the days to follow. Just store in an airtight container and you’re good to go!

Look at me linking up with Donna from Retirement Reflections and her co-host Deb The Widow Badass Blog in their #whatsonyourplateblogchallenge!

I hope you enjoy looking at the others who are sharing What’s on their plates too. Let me know if you would make this cake and if the story of a recipe is something you consider when cooking.

Don’t miss these posts:

The Widow Badass: Watermelon Salad and Pink Gin & Tonic
Touring My Backyard: Singapore Hawker Noodles
Women Living Well After 50 Date & Walnut Bread
Brookford Kitchen Diaries Vegetarian Carbonara
Retirement Reflections Cantonese Noodles 4 ways



You can also find Deb’s World in lots of other places – stay in touch by clicking any of the buttons below.

You can also find Deb’s World in lots of other places – stay in touch by clicking any of the buttons below.

Debbie - mother of a 40 year old

Everyone has a story to tell! Deb is a young-at-heart & active 60+ blogger/retiree, after being made redundant from her 22-year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre (jail). She now spends her time reading, blogging, riding her ebike and travelling. Deb was awarded a Bravery Award from the Queen when she was 17 after a tragic accident – a definite life changing moment! She is married with 3 grown-up daughters & has 4 grandchildren. She never imagined being Granny Debs would bring so much joy to her life! You can read more of Deb’s story here

Copyright © 2023 debs-world.com – All rights reserved

33 Replies to “What’s on my plate? Banana Chocolate Cake and the story behind it!”

    1. Yes, well spotted Janis – no knives for obvious reasons! Most of the recipes needed to be easy with limited number of equipment required. It’s funny though as inmates had access to knives in their living units.


  1. So enjoyed the back story on this delicious cake. I imagine the nutrition and cooking classes were well received by the inmates. I remember wanting to take home economics in high school but my parents said ‘no!’ My mom felt like she could teach me anything I needed to know about keeping house and cooking. And she did a great job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Leslie, the courses were very well received. I’m sure your mum did a great job with teaching you those necessary skills 🙂


  2. What do you mean, you rarely cook or bake, Deb? I have that amazing recipe, Australian Campfire Damper from you.🙂 Kitchen, healthy eating skills are priceless life skills. This looks like a tasty recipe. I appreciate how you took the liberty of adding even more chocolate. 😅This is a fun series and I am always getting inspired.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know me well Erica! I can cook but I don’t consider myself any good at it is probably more to the point. I do like sharing recipes and stories though, so this challenge suited me fine!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Deb I’m definitely going to make this cake and I enjoyed reading the story behind it. What an interesting job you had working in the Correctional Centre. I would never have thought of a cooking class for the guys. Thanks for the mention and so pleased you joined the Whats on your plate challenge with Donna & Deb. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sue, I hope you like it! My job was always so interesting and never a dull day. I’m glad I joined in with Donna and Deb too, I might even do it again!


  4. I bake banana cake regularly to use up old bananas – but I have never made a Banana Chocolate Cake before … I can’t wait for enough bananas to overripen so I can try your recipe … thank you!

    It’s a wonderful story behind your cake – rather inspirational actually, that baking and being in the kitchen can make such a difference to these inmates’ quality of life!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Chocolate and banana are my favorite cake combinations. One of my earliest memories are of tasting a marbled chocolate & banana birthday cake. Like this recipe, it was an easy mix-’em-up-inna-bowl cake but x2 since it was two batters.
    Loved your background story, I’m always glad to read about education in the correctional system.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for joining us at What’s On Your Plate. Chocolate in all its glorious forms is always welcome. And chocolate and bananas makes it even more divine. I loved learning even more about your from this post, Debbie. Very inspiring!!

    Liked by 1 person

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