October 17, 2014


I love the way the whole house feels when I make this banana bread loaf cake. Every room is infused with this amazingly warm, spicy aroma that makes you feel all cozy and homey and delicious and wonderful when this is in the oven. Sometimes I make it a point to bake it before Ben gets home from work so that I can look forward to him walking into the house, inhaling deeply, and saying, “Mmmm smells gooood in here! …Banana bread?!?!”

Smells good in here! Best Ever Banana Bread Recipe

If that’s not the very picture of domestic bliss, I don’t know what is.

This banana bread is unlike any other banana bread I’ve ever had. Maybe because it’s actually called “Fresh Banana Loaf Cake.” To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of most banana breads. I don’t know what it is… too moist? Too banana-y? Those all sound like good things though, so I dunno. It was just never my thing. But I LOVE this one, and I’ve been making it for years. I’m pretty sure I will never try another banana bread recipe. This is it.

I was on the fence about sharing it, because the ingredient list can appear a little long, and I make it a point to share simple recipes… but if you have a normal baker’s pantry, many of these ingredients are hanging out in your cupboard anyway. The one ingredient that always gets me, though, is the sour cream. I frequently have to run out and pick it up mid-mixing, so try to remember that when you’re picking up bananas to make this!

This recipe makes a big batch, so be prepared to freeze some or have people in mind to share it with. I made it about a month ago to share with my friend Jenny, who had just had a baby. Yesterday, she came to visit and asked if this recipe was on my blog, because she liked it so much! Then she said something really really nice about it– so nice that I actually asked her if I could quote it for my blog post. She gave me permission to. Unfortunately, I can’t recall what she said anymore. Yes. I know. My memory. Awful. So let’s just pretend it was something like, “IT WAS THE BEST BANANA BREAD I’VE EVER HADDDD!” (Which can’t be true because she rarely speaks in all-caps, but since we’re pretending, why not.)

Another trick that makes this banana bread delicious is the crunchy sugar-almond topping. I got this trick from my friend Hanna, who never steers me wrong. Thank you, Hanna. Know that I think of you fondly every time I make it :). <3!

It’s great fresh out of the oven, but I like to let it cool and then slice and toast each individual piece for maximum golden brownedness. It makes the house smell good every time :].


Fresh Banana Loaf Cake
adapted from Nick Malgieri’s recipe (which he got from his “dear friend and second mother, Ann Amedolara Nurse.”) in his book Perfect Cakes


Two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans, buttered and bottoms lined with buttered parchment paper
(and maybe line a muffin tin with liners, too, because I always have a lot more batter than 2 loaf pans’ worth)


  1. Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Stir together the 3 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl, mixing well. In a medium bowl, toss the nuts and chocolate chips with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour. (This will keep them from sinking to the bottom while baking.)
  3. Place the brown sugar in a large mixing bowl and add the eggs one at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula. Switch to a whisk and whisk the mixture for a few seconds to lighten it. Whisk in the oil in a stream, then whisk in the sour cream and vanilla.
  4. Use a rubber spatula to fold half the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Stir in the mashed bananas. Fold in the remaining flour mixture, then fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans* and smooth the tops.
  5. Sprinkle the tops with a dusting of sugar and sliced almonds.
  6. Bake for about 70-80 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean.
  7. Cool the cakes in the pans for 5 minutes, then unmold onto a rack and turn right side up to cool. Remove the paper after cooling.

Storage: Wrap the cooled cake in plastic and keep at room temperature for up to several days, or double-wrap and freeze for longer storage.

*You can also bake these into muffin tins for muffins. First line your muffin tin with liners for easy cleanup. Fill each well 2/3 full with batter, sprinkle with sugar and almonds, and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until muffins are well risen and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean.

8 responses to “Best Ever Banana Bread”

  1. Jenny says:

    Yum! Thanks for posting the recipe. I did say something along those lines, including how much we enjoyed eating it. 🙂 I never thought about how I don’t really speak in CAPS, but you’re right! haha.

    • joellen says:

      Haha. Well, I imagined you speaking it in your version of all-caps, which is more like a whispery yell… haha. Enjoy the recipe! 🙂

  2. Dakota says:

    Your illustration made me laugh out loud… truly. I love it.

    Oh man… see, the hubs is on an non-carb diet right now so he can’t eat ANY of this yummy deliciousness. I’m saving this one for my next banana bread making though. It sounds really yummy!

    • joellen says:

      😀 Thanks! Oooh good luck with accommodating the diet. I like this website for non- diets. You can search for egg-free, gluten-free, etc… http://www.petite-kitchen.com. I’m sure you have lots of tasty stuff, but it could be nice to browse ideas? =)

      • Dakota says:

        I always love good recipe websites. And, wow… this is so timely. I have another friend who is trying to start her son on the GAPS diet. She’s looking for ideas! I’ll send her this one right away!

        • joellen says:

          I hope she likes it! I’ve REALLY LIKED about 2/3 of her recipes I’ve tried, and love feeling like I’m actually being healthy or something :). The other 1/3 were either okay, or maybe there was some user error… hrm. Haha.

          Also just realized my comment above read “…website for non-diets,” which doesn’t make sense. I had actually written “non-(insert your restriction) diets” with greater-than/less-than brackets, which apparently caused some text not to show up. I guess you figured out my meaning anyway, but just wanted to clarify :).

  3. Lucas says:

    Had some bananas I needed to do something with. Decided on this recipe and I’m glad I did. It was quick and easy. I have also made Best Ever Banana Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting and it’s really really good as well, just a bit more time consuming. I’m sure I’ll make this one again. Thanks!

    • joellen says:

      Hooray! So glad you tried it and liked it! I’m actually making it soon (probably today!), too, with my browning bananas :D. If you get a chance, I’d love to see that Best Ever Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe :].