One of the first things I ever baked successfully was banana bread.
It was this recipe, and for once I didn’t venture off into impulsive ingredient substitutions and additions like I tended to. I think my parents were more relieved than anything when the end result was a basic loaf of quick bread that they didn’t have to pretend to enjoy like my other kitchen “creations”.
Since then I’ve tried many banana bread recipes, even posting about one here, and another super yummy one here, but the recipe I keep returning to is Flour Cookbook’s recipe by Joanne Chang. It’s the best banana bread I’ve tasted. Fragrant, soft, dense, and flavorful. Depending on how well I mash the bananas, it can be almost custardy (for this reason I recommend leaving some larger chunks, or if you’re like me and love bananas, fold in a diced banana at the end).
I recently brought this cake into my internship’s office for a co-worker’s birthday, and let me tell you, I felt like royalty for the rest of the day from all the compliments I received.
Try out this recipe and let me know what you think! If you love the taste of bananas, I think you’ll be a fan of this variation.
Other than that, college has resumed and all I have is a microwave and no ingredients to cook with. I’ll try to post if I end up baking any food with friends, but I’m anticipating a bit of a dry spell. Hang tight, friends.
My Favorite Banana Bread/Cake*
Recipe from Flour by Joanne Chang.
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour [210 g]
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar [230 g]
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup oil
- 3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed [340 g] + 1 banana, diced [~90 g]
- 2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whip the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the oil, 3 1/2 mashed bananas, creme fraiche or sour cream, and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the mashed banana mixture.
- Fold in the diced banana. Pour half the batter in a loaf pan or a 8 inch springform pan. Sprinkle 1/2 recipe crumb topping (recipe below) on top, and spread remaining batter over. Sprinkle the rest of the crumb topping on top.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minuters.
Oatmeal Crumb Topping
I’ve tried to proportion this recipe to be only what you need for 1 loaf of banana bread, but any extra crumb topping can easily be frozen and used in another recipe.
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup quick oats
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup [4 tbs] butter
- optional: 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Mix together the flour, quick oats, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
- Cut in the butter until the mixture forms coarse crumbs and there are no large pieces of butter.
*Traditionally cakes are less dense and have a finer crumb than quick breads, but carrot cake defies this stereotype so I usually define cake vs bread by whether I bake it in a loaf or round pan, or something by whether I top it with frosting. If you’re more picky about this distinction, this is technically banana bread.