Banana Bread

Banana Bread | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Here in Minnesota there is a timeless tradition of going to the “cabin.” During the summer everyone heads out of the city on the weekend to fish, and during the winter they still fish, but on frozen lakes. I am not originally from around here and have not quite embraced this weekend exodus, but I have a friend who is and she lures me to her cabin, not with the prospect of fishing, but with her banana bread. She always bakes the loaf in the early morning while I am sleeping; I wake to the fabulous smell of the bread and fresh coffee. It is sweet and cakey, much lighter than this fruity bread has the reputation for. After 17 years in Minnesota I still don’t have a cabin, but I am grateful for the 5-hour drive to my friend’s, just to have her banana bread.

I also keep a stash of overly ripe bananas in my freezer, so I can make it at home. The flavor of this recipe depends on the sweetness of the fruit. Those black spotted bananas your kids don’t want to eat in their lunch are perfect. If you don’t have any overly ripe ones on hand, you can roast the fruit to bring out the sweetness. Just throw your yellow bananas; the green ones won’t work, on to a cookie sheet, peels and all. Pierce the skins and bake them at 350°F for about 45 minutes. Let the bananas cool and then peel and mash.

Banana Bread:

2 cups (about 4 medium sized or 1 pound) very ripe bananas, mashed

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (scoop and sweep)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar, tightly packed

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup (4 ounces) vegetable oil

¾ cup pecan pieces (optional)

To make the banana bread:

Preheat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle of the oven. Butter two 8.5 x 4.5 Inch loaf pans, set aside.

In a bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar, brown sugar and eggs on medium speed for about 4 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla and slowly drizzle in the oil while the beater is on medium low speed.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to stir, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the mashed bananas in 3 batches, mixing just enough to combine them. Add the nuts and mix just to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and smooth out the top. Bake for about 1 hour or until a tester comes out clean. If the top is over browning after 45 minutes, gently drape the top with foil.


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16 thoughts to “Banana Bread”

  1. Wow…cocoa powder in banana bread! I’ve got to try this recipe…it looks just scrumptious. What a lovely way to wake up at the cabin…to fresh banana bread. That’s a very good friend.

  2. I just made this yesterday for a friend’s birthday. Banana bread is the only dessert she likes and it turned out wonderful. I usually don’t like banana bread because it is usually such a dense cake but this one was so light and rich, thank you so much for sharing.

  3. I’m getting ready to start baking for a benefit for Epilepsy- I’m doing 20 loaves of bread, copius amounts of muffins,coffeecakes, and now, your banana bread! I’m betting it will be the first thing to sell out!

  4. I’ve used only one banana bread recipe my whole life, my grandmother’s. I know it by heart, no need for the card any more. I saw this recipe and had to try it. This recipe is great. The chocolate adds a “hmmm… what is it?” factor without overwhelming the banana flavor. Moist, great crumb, and best of all, it makes two loaves instead of just one.

  5. Hi Zoe, Thanks for the recipe! I made banana bread a couple of days ago and it tasted good 🙂 How can I make it a bit less dry though?


    1. Hi Alice,

      If your banana bread was dry, you may want to bake it for a bit less time. Try testing it 10 minutes early and see if a tester comes out clean.

      Thanks, Zoë

    1. Hi Kamal,

      You can probably get away will substituting a portion of the butter, but not all of it or the texture and flavor will be compromised.

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. Hi Zoe,
    I love Banana Bread and I am sure this one taste wonderful.
    Would you happen to have a recipe for Banana Bread that’s Gluten free?
    Thanks much!

  7. Texture looks exceptional! But more flour than banana suggests the banana flavor is not going to be strong enough. I think banana bread has to be rather dense (that means big crumbs). It’s a flavor vs texture thing; can only have one not both. I wish someone would create a recipe that uses way more banana than flour and still somehow ends up with very fine crumbs.

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