Banana Bread

Makes a 10 x 2 ½ inch loaf.

Confession time. I hate bananas. I don’t like them as a fruit, I deplore them as a flavour in candy or gum, and detest them in any kind of dessert. But banana bread is the one way I absolutely adore my lifetime fruit nemesis. Moistened with yoghurt and brown sugar, this one is sweet without being sickly, and good for you to boot. Feeling indulgent? Then top it with cream cheese frosting. Whether you treat it like a dessert or a healthy snack, it will convert all you routine banana bashers into regular banana mashers.

At a glance

– This cake comprises banana bread + cream cheese frosting 
– You will need one 10×3 inch loaf pan
– This recipe has been broken into 2 stages for ease and comprehension. Please read the entire recipe from start to finish before beginning.

Stage 1: banana bread

1. 250 gm all purpose flour
2. ¾ tsp cinnamon powder
3. 1/8 tsp nutmeg
4. ¼ tsp salt
5. 1 tsp baking soda
6. 150 gm dark brown sugar
7. 115 gm salted butter, at room temperature
8. 2 large eggs (114 gm) at room temperature
9. 4-5 large, very ripe bananas to yield 600 gm mashed bananas
10. 1 tsp vanilla extract
11. 180-160 gm unflavoured full fat curd to yield 80 gm strained curd (or 80 gm Greek yoghurt)
12. 100 gm chopped walnuts

1 – Strain your curd; place a fine-meshed strainer over a vessel. Line the strainer with a cheesecloth or muslin. Place the curd on the cheesecloth. Gather the 4 edges of the cheesecloth and lightly squeeze out the excess whey. Put the cheesecloth bundle back in the strainer. Let this sit on your counter for an hour, dripping away. Thereafter, your strained or thickened curd is ready to be used. Set it aside.

2 – Grease your loaf pan and line it with parchment. Remember to grease the parchment as well.

3 – Ready your dry ingredients; In a large bowl, add the flour, salt, cinnamon powder, grated nutmeg, and baking soda. Using a balloon whisk, whisk everything together well to aerate and combine.

4 – Peel and mash your bananas and weigh out 600 grams’ worth.

5 – Chop up your walnuts into rough chunks.

1 – Start preheating your oven at 175OC.

2 – Place the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl. Using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on high speed for roughly two minutes or until smooth.

3 – Add in the eggs one at a time, beating on medium speed with each addition until each egg is combined (30 seconds after each egg).

4 – Add the strained curd and beat on medium speed until combined (30 seconds). Remember to periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is being mixed properly. 

5 – Add the vanilla and mashed bananas and and beat on medium speed until combined (30-45 seconds). Remember to periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is being mixed properly. 

6 – Turn your mixer down to the lowest speed and add the dry ingredients in thirds. Beat together with each addition until just combined (you should see no floury pockets or liquidy pools). Take care not to over-mix the flour, or you’ll end up with a dense, stodgy crumb.

7 – Add your chopped walnuts and gently fold them into the batter with a spatula.

8 – Transfer the batter into your prepared loaf pan and place it inside your preheated oven. If your oven has 4 levels, place your loaf pan on the third level from the top.

9 – Bake your banana bread at 175OC for 60-65 minutes. For perfectly even heating, you may need to rotate your pan at the 30 minute mark. Be sure to check for doneness at the 60 minute mark; that is, if a bamboo skewer inserted in the middle of your cake comes out clean, it’s done. 

10 – Remove the pan from the oven and cool it on a wire rack. Don’t remove the bread from the pan until it comes to room temperature. Once no longer warm, wrap the pan in cling wrap and transfer it to the fridge for a day. Why? Because banana bread tastes best when the flavours have had a chance to settle. You could wrap and leave it out at room temperature as well, but I do not recommend doing this in warm climates, and the bread will spoil very fast.

11 – After 24 hours in the fridge, remove the banana bread from the pan, and cut it into even slices using a serrated knife. Store the slices in an airtight container in the fridge while you move on to Stage 2

Stored in the fridge, banana bread will keep for a week, assuming you won’t eat it all up before that! Banana bread freezes and thaws very well; it can be kept in your freezer, sliced and wrapped, for up to 4 months. If you live in a hot climate, do not leave the bread outside for even a day, as the super ripe bananas in the cake will spoil fast.

Stage 2: cream cheese frosting

1. 115 gm full fat cream cheese (not cream cheese spread or the whipped stuff) at room temperature
2. 60 gm unsalted butter at room temperature
3. 120 gm icing sugar
4. ½ tsp vanilla extract
5. Pinch of salt

1 – Place the butter in a large bowl. Using a hand held mixer, beat it for 2-3 minutes on medium speed until very smooth and creamy.

2 – Add in the cream cheese. Beat the mixture on medium once again, until you achieve a fluffy consistency, approximately 1-2 minutes.

3 – Add in the icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating on low speed for 30 seconds with each addition. Repeat until all the icing sugar has been incorporated and is combined.

4 – Add in the vanilla and salt. Once again, beat everything on low speed for 30 seconds until combined.

5 – Cover your bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate your frosting for 15 minutes before serving.

6 – Some like it cold, but I think banana bread tastes best at room temperature. When you’re ready to eat, take out a slice and rest it at room temperature for half an hour. Slather a generous spoonful of cream cheese frosting on the slice. Now eat!

Cream cheese frosting and banana bread are a match made in heaven. You could spread all of the frosting on the whole cooled banana bread loaf but I find it nicer to slice the bread and then individually ‘butter’ the slices with frosting for a higher frosting to cake ratio!

Tips & Tricks

How to line a loaf pan with baking parchment: