Back when my site was a young baby, I blogged about one of the greatest classics in American cooking, the banana bread. I had no idea that a few months down the line, that recipe would be part of a fun quest to find the world’s best banana bread, and what’s even more amazing, it tied for first place! To me, that matter was solved. No need to even bother trying another recipe. Then, on a quiet Saturday morning, while checking FoodTV episodes taped during the previous week, I saw Giada cheerfully making a blueberry banana loaf. Blueberries and bananas, baked together until the blueberries get all soft and intensely sweet… I decided that my blog can handle a second take on a classic, especially one with a purple twist! 😉

(from Giada de Laurentiis)
Butter, for greasing the loaf pan
1 + 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the loaf pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 3/4 cup of mashed banana)
1 cup (about 4 ounces) fresh blueberries

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9- by 5- by 3-inch loaf pan. Set aside. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until blended. Stir in the bananas and blueberries. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool for 15 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours.
to print the recipe, click here

:  I decided to make this loaf around 9pm on a Monday night.  It was a dark and stormy night… ooops, no, that’s the beginning of a bad novel…   It was actually a nice and warm summer night, but one in which I had to be in the lab at midnight to get some bacteria growing for an experiment early next day.   I wanted to make sure I would  not fall asleep in the middle of a Law and Order episode, and baking definitely gets my adrenaline going.  Side benefit?  Taking banana bread to the department, to make the life of the early birds a little sweeter…    😉

This banana bread (or cake, or loaf, whatever you want to call it) is a breeze to make! I followed Giada’s advice and did not even use the electric mixer, was left with only a whisk plus two bowls to clean.  Awesome!

ONE YEAR AGO: Busy Times (one year since we moved our lab to KSU!)

TWO YEARS AGO: Oriental-Style Turkey Patties

THREE YEARS AGO: Sourdough English Muffins

FOUR YEARS AGO: Kaiser Rolls


I realize  the world has no shortage of banana bread recipes, as a quick google produces 5,580,000 hits!   You’ll find all shapes and styles: moist, classic, healthy, vegan, gluten-free, low-calorie (!?!?), with nuts, chocolate chips, blueberries, cinnamon, with sour cream or pumpkin…. if you dream it, chances are someone already made it and spread the word about it. Once I hit “publish”, you’ll have at least 5,580,001 options!   I am sure you will sleep better tonigt… 😉

This recipe comes from cookbook author extraordinaire (and very dear net-friend), Glenys Morgan, and makes a moist, very pure, dense but not heavy, banana bread. She doesn’t recommend using this recipe to bake muffins, so stick to a regular loaf pan.

(from Glenys Morgan)

1 cup mashed bananas (2 large or 3 medium, very ripe bananas)
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 egg
1 + 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla or dark rum (optional)

Heat the oven to 375F.

Mash or purée the bananas and buttermilk until smooth. Add the baking soda and mix.
Cream the brown sugar and butter together until smooth. Beat in the egg. Add the banana purée and combine. The mixture will seem curdle.

Add the baking powder to the flour, mix well. Gradually add it to the banana mixture. Stir just enough to combine evenly.   Add the vanilla or rum.

Pour into sprayed or greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch pan, filling the pan to 2/3 full of its capacity. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Leave in the pan for 10-15 minutes before turning out. Do not leave in the pan as the loaves sweat and become soggy.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The most important thing in this recipe is to use very ripe bananas, those that are black, soft, begging to be put out of their misery.  Usually I peel them, mash lightly and stick in a zip-lock bag (writing on the bag how many bananas are inside).   You can also freeze the bananas whole, but sometimes they can be tricky to peel.  Some people like nuts and other bells and whistles in their banana bread, I am more of a purist, and find this recipe absolutely perfect.  Our graduate students seemed to agree, as the loaf was gone in minutes!   😉

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