Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sasha's Favorite Banana Bread and Giveaway Winners

01/14/14 UPDATE: I recently remade this and realized that it still tastes great with much less sugar. Thus, I've edited the recipe below to reduce the sugar as well as to make some of the instructions clearer and more detailed. This is always a crowd pleaser whenever I make it, so I do hope you'll try it and let me know how you like it!

First I'd like to thank everyone who participated in my very first giveaway. It was really fun reading about your favorite things about Halloween! So much fun, in fact, that I wanted to spread the cupcake joy even more than I'd planned. I'm happy to announce that the 2 winners (chosen randomly) of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World are Joanne (comment #2) and Snulfers (comment #26). I'll be emailing you both shortly - congrats! For the rest of you, stayed tuned 'cause I'll be giving away more stuff for sure.

Now with the gray wet weather currently blanketing the D.C. area, this just felt like the right time to share my simple and beloved recipe for classic banana bread. Though I wrote earlier about a delightful twist on banana bread that added coconut, citrus, and rum flavors, today's recipe is the one I return to time after time for it's unbeatable moist texture and pure banana flavor. The simplicity of one-bowl mixing can't be beat. Plus the recipe is so flexible that I've made many versions with different nuts, chocolates, flavorings, and grains.

All this playing around took place in my last year of college, when I regularly made this bread for my friends. One in particular, Sasha, would always get adorably excited when presented with a slice (or 2 ^_^). That was years ago and despite the fact that she's since moved out of the U.S., we've all stayed friends. When I learned earlier this week that Sasha would be in town, I immediately pulled out this recipe. As I'd hoped she still loved the bread, and we had a wonderful weekend catching up with college friends.

I've recently grown conscious that each passing year scatters our group further apart across the country and the globe. But it's comforting to know that the bonds of friendship remain. And with this recipe carefully stowed away, I'll always know just the thing to bring to our reunions.

Sasha's Favorite Banana Bread [Printable Recipe]
Loosely adapted from
Makes 16 to 20 servings (1 large bundt cake or 2 loaves)

XIAOLU'S NOTES: If your bananas aren’t quite ripe enough (should be nearly black and soft to the touch), peel and microwave them for 1 to 2 minutes before mashing and increase sugar by 2 tablespoons (50 g). You can omit the oats and cornmeal and just use 2 1/3 cups (10.4 oz./294 g) of all-purpose flour instead, but I enjoy the textural contrast provided by the other grains. If you don’t have applesauce, simply replace it with 1/3 cup buttermilk or thinned plain yogurt. Also try substituting 3/4 cup (3 oz./85 g) of white whole wheat flour in place of 3/4 cup (3.35 oz./95 g) of all-purpose flour.

1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 tsp (7 g) all-purpose flour

3 large eggs, room temperature

Slightly over 2 cups (16.6 oz./471 g) very ripe mashed bananas (from 4 to 5 mostly black-brown bananas)
2/3 cup (1.9 oz./53 g) rolled oats
1/4 cup (1.1 oz./32 g) cornmeal
1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cups (8.9 to 9.4 oz./252 to 267 g) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Large pinch of ground cloves
1 tsp instant coffee OR espresso powder, broken up by rubbing between your fingertips
1/3 cup canola OR vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain yogurt OR sour cream
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp unsulphured molasses
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp dark OR gold rum (optional)
1 3/4 cups (7.8 oz./221 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (3 oz./85 g) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup (2.3 oz./66 g) pecans OR walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoons of melted butter with 2 1/2 teaspoons of flour into a uniform paste. Thoroughly brush the inside of a 10 to 12-cup bundt pan OR two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans with a layer of this paste (it will help the cake come cleanly out of the pan after baking).

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until whites and yolks are well combined. Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT for flour, chocolate, and nuts; whisk until well incorporated. Add the flour and immediately mix just until evenly combined (no more than 2 minutes and a few small lumps are fine). Gently stir in chopped chocolate and nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan, or divide evenly between loaf pans. If using the bundt pan, use a spatula to push the batter slightly up the outside walls of the pan; this will help the cake climb up the sides, giving you greater detail on the outside of the cake. Now slam the pan(s) evenly and firmly downward from 3 inches above the counter to force out any large air bubbles.

Bake until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs but NO wet batter, about 45 to 65 minutes. If not yet done at 45 minutes, gently tent a piece of aluminum foil across the top of the pan(s) to prevent over-browning. After removing from the oven, let cool for 15 minutes in pan(s) then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely. If you don’t plan to eat the banana bread within a few days, cover with foil, slide into freezer bag(s), and freeze for up to several months.


  1. I adore banana bread and this recipe looks wonderful. What a great way to think of your college friends- I'm sure Sasha will still love this!! Who wouldn't!?

  2. YUM def going to have to try this soon since you make it sound AHmazing!

  3. Thanks, Koko! Sasha took a big hunk on the road with her so I take that as approval hehe.

    Thanks and let me know if you do, Michelle. I love the texture of the cornmeal and oats but you may want to try it with all flour first.

  4. I've never seen a banana bread recipe with cornmeal! How interesting. Sounds like a great recipe!

  5. Yum - I love banana bread. I actually just finished baking a banana cake for Mat's birthday cake - yummy!

  6. emd - Thanks - I really like the slight variation in texture the cornmeal provides.

    Alicia - your cake sounds yummy. I love banana in most baked goods.

  7. I was attracted to your site when searching for banana bread cupcake recipes (woke up with a hankering), and thought I'd try this first. OMG. This is, by far, the best banana bread recipe I've ever made. Got rave reviews at the fall party I brought one loaf to, and my husband doesn't want to share the other loaf. I didn't have oats, so tried a 1/2 cup of corn meal instead... like it but might try all flour or the mix of oats and corn meal next time. Also works well with a 1/2 c of chopped walnuts instead of chocolate chips. Another thing I tried - didn't have applesauce, so I made my own makeshift batch using one apple. MMMMMMMM SO GOOD! thanks for sharing!

  8. Yay I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Sarah. Thanks for the feedback! FYI, I do also have a banana cupcake recipe on the blog here:

  9. Yup - saw that already and plan to try it soon. Thanks! Great site... I'll definitely be coming back for more inspiration.


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu