Overweight Primate Cake

I wanted to call this Chunky Monkey Cake, but Katrina had concerns about us being sued. So...Overweight Primate Cake! Banana and chocolate cake layered with banana cream, frosted with chocolate buttercream, chocolate chips and walnuts, and topped with chocolate ganache! Shout to to the family member who suggested we tackle the famous Banana Dream Cake made by TooJays Deli. Here is our version. We added a chocolate cake layer since we thought it could use some chocolate in the middle, not just on the top and sides.

We're proud of this cake. We weren't sure how it would come out since neither of us had ever tried the TooJays' Banana Dream Cake, and had never made anything similar. We were impressed! It looks awesome and all of the flavors together were delicious. It's a long ingredient list, but the process actually wasn't hard at all and wasn't even that time-consuming. You can do it!

Overweight Primate Cake (aka Chunky Monkey Cake)

servings: 16
time: 2 hours


Banana cake: 
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups greek yogurt
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
Chocolate cake: 
  • ¾ cup + 1⁄8 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Banana cream: 
  • 1 ½ cups evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
Chocolate buttercream:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
Chocolate ganache:
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
Banana cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9" cake pans and line with parchment paper.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and sugar.
  4. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and greek yogurt.
  5. Gradually beat in flour.
  6. Mix mashed banana in until just incorporated.
  7. Divide evenly between cake pans and bake for 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Chocolate cake: 
  1. Grease one 9" cake pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cocoa.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, yogurt, water, vanilla.
  4. Add to dry ingredients and beat for 1 minute.
  5. Pour into cake pan and bake for 25-35 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Banana cream:
  1. Cook milk, sugar, egg yolks, and butter over medium heat for about 18 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and mashed bananas.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, whip 1 ½ cups heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold the banana mixture into the whipped cream and refrigerate until ready to use.
Chocolate buttercream:
  1. Cream butter, sugar, cocoa, salt, and vanilla. Add milk, 1 Tbsp at a time, until frosting reaches desired consistency for easy spreading. Beat for 2 minutes and set aside.
Chocolate ganache:
  1. Microwave chocolate chips and heavy cream in 30 second intervals, stirring between, until chocolate is just melted. Set aside to cool.
  1. Place one banana layer on cake stand. Spread half of the banana cream mixture on the cake.
  2. Place your chocolate cake layer on and spread the other half of your banana cream layer (we actually had a bit of the banana cream left over. Use your judgement as to how much to put on so it doesn't get too tall and want to squish out).
  3. Place your second banana cake on top. We also used three trimmed down skewers that we stabbed down into the cake to help stabilize it at this point.
  4. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes.
  5. Frost with buttercream and pour ganache on top. Chill for another 10 minutes or so.
  6. Mix chocolate chips and walnuts in a small bowl and press them into side of cake. Sprinkle some on top for good measure.
Here are some more photos from the process of making this cake:

Banana cakes 

Chocolate cake 

 Whipping the cream

 Bananas have been folded in

 Ready to layer!

First cake and cream layer 

We used skewers to stabilize the cake as it started getting tall, they work beautifully. 

Ready for frosting! 


Frosted and ganached... 

Katrina using her freakishly large hands to press the chocolate chips and walnuts into the side of the cake (just kidding - her hands are not weirdly oversized, it's just perspective playing mind tricks) 

Ready to serve! 

Loaded with gorgeous layers 

This cake is delicious! We had rave reviews from all our taste-testers.


  1. The family member who loves the TooJay's version is leaving for TooJay's in a few minutes to buy a slice of Banana Dream cake to get us by until we can taste the Overweight Primate cake in October :-)


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