Because I can’t have this blog without sharing my favourite banana bread recipe. On Earth. Ever. Bread? Cake? Is there a difference between banana versions of either? I personally just call it banana bread, you dashing BB, because I’ve always associated the teatime stuff with a traditional bread-like texture. More robust, hearty, almost wholesome. Less airy-fairy, but call it a cake if you wish. I think I’ll stick to the former. My favourite sweet and dense bread. There are those who like sticky fruit cakes, the sort you can stick your hand into and it feels like muddy air, and this is no different, except perhaps the bits and bobs of banana will stick lovingly to your fingers, and when you pull them out your hands smell like the best bloody thing in the universe.
The smell of banana bread baking and emerging from the oven, then resting for a while, a solid, plump and golden thing, is my favourite ‘oven smell’ ever. One of the purest joys in life.
I think there are 3 things which make it brilliant.
1. There’s thick and lush Greek yoghurt in it, for superb moisture and flavour.
2. The whole cup of mashed banana and perhaps more, in some cases where 3 mashed bananas nicely exceed that capacity. If I had to re-label this recipe, it would definitely be ‘double banana bread’.
3. The use of flavourless vegetable oil instead of melted butter, which I think aids in producing a lighter, more tender crumb, and doesn’t mask the natural sweetness or flavour of ripe banana.
Divine, and so easy that there’s really no other way I make it now. I have serious history with this recipe, and it’s funny how I’m only posting it now. Ridiculous. I’ve tried out so many variations– with and without yoghurt, made with just milk, no oil/no butter… Anyways, here I am and boy am I glad I’m finally spilling the beans.
Classic Banana Bread (makes one 9×5-inch loaf)
3 medium bananas, ripe and mashed (usually amounts to about one cup, and lumps of banana make for better texture)
90g (0.5 cup) light brown sugar
100g (0.5 cup) white caster sugar
2 eggs (vegan sub: 2 flax eggs made from 2 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 4 tbsp water)
45g (3 tbsp) melted salted butter/vegetable oil
125g yoghurt, or use almond/soy/coconut yoghurt if you’re vegan
240g (1.5-2 cups) all-purpose flour
*note: I’ve made this using half whole-wheat flour and half all-purpose flour, and the end result was just as brilliant. A little less devious, but equally moist and decadent.
1 tsp each of baking powder and baking soda
Optional add-ins: 150g dark chocolate/nuts/a mix of both
Grease a standard 9×5-inch loaf pan, line with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 162 C (325F).
In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, sugars, eggs, melted butter and yoghurt with a whisk or a fork. If your butter is not salted then add 0.5 tsp of fine salt now. In another smaller bowl, briefly mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a spoon. Add the chocolate and/or nuts at this point and mix these in well. Add the dry mix to wet mix, and fold briefly until just combined. Lumps are welcome. Pour into the pan and bake for 60-75 minutes. With my oven, I found that the perfect baking time is 70 minutes (1hr and 10 mins). Bask in that smell.