Our Favourite Banana Bread Recipe

I have a folder on my computer called Food Pornography (since I love food photography so much). Whenever a dish turns out, I pull out my camera and take tones of photos. As I was browsing through the folder, our favourite banana bread seemed like the perfect recipe to share. It's tender, moist and full of banana flavour! (Keep reading to find out the secret ingredient I use for the banana flavour to stand out.)

You're probably wondering why things have been quiet around here (again). Well, over a month ago, I finally got the job of my dreams as a pastry chef at a local restaurant in a department store. Ever since I started working, I haven't been cooking as much, but I have been doing a lot of baking! (Picture me doing the happy dance.) I started work in mid-December and the first four weeks were a trial period. A few weeks ago, I was offered a one year contract. I was over-the-moon happy! This is my first real paying job ever since I moved to Germany.

However, where there is an "up", there is always a "down". On November 21st I got a call from my brother. My world turned up-side-down when he told me that Mom was in the hospital. She had to undergo a major surgery to remove an aggressive brain tumour. Ten minutes after I got off the phone with my brother, I booked a ticket to Canada and flew out the next morning. I wasn't sure what to expect when I got there. When I saw my mom the next day at the hospital, she was all smiles and maintained her sense of humour. But there were times throughout the day, that I noticed the fear in her eyes. I wished she never had to go through it. I wished it wasn't true.

After the surgery, mom didn't wake up immediately, as the doctors expected. The longer she slept, the longer the road to recovery would be. She slipped in and out of coma and had seizures in between. My dad and I argued a lot with the doctors. We didn't want to believe some of the things they were telling us. The two weeks that I was in Canada consisted of long days at the hospital, sleepless nights, and lots of praying. My dad and I tried to stay positive, but there were times when we just lost it, but somehow we kept our faith in God. When I left, Mom seemed to be doing okay.

When I returned to Germany on December 8th, I had a job interview at Stackmann lined up a few days later. Even though I completely bombed the interview (it was my first job interview in 12 years and I was really nervous), the Chocolate Cupcakes and the Red Velvet Cupcakes (made with butter) that I brought along, were enough to convince my interviewers to give me the job. Two days later, I started working there. It was stressful and non-stop, but I loved every moment. A month later, I signed a one year contract. I have never been so convinced about a job until I came across this one. 

The last few months have really been an emotional roller coaster ride, but things seem to be calming down, returning to a regular routine. I started thinking about this little blog of mine again and how I have missed writing. Our favourite banana bread seemed like the perfect recipe to share.

Sure, there are a lot of recipes out there claiming to be the best, but there is always one key ingredient that is always missing - vanilla extract. Banana bread just isn't the same without it. Add a teaspoon to your favourite banana bread recipe and you'll notice how a tiny amount will enhance the flavour and sweetness of the banana!

I have tried so many banana bread recipes, but this is the one that my kids always keep asking for. I immediately knew it was a keeper after it disappeared in a day the first time a made it. I found the original recipe on Bon Appetit, called Julia's Best Banana Bread. It seems to be a popular recipe on the site, with varying opinions. 

I make this with two minor changes: a) I add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and b) I use regular table salt instead of kosher (the salt grain doesn't dissolve into the batter like regular salt does, leaving a salty taste). Sometimes I add chocolate chips or walnuts, but most of the time I leave it plain.

The best part about this recipe is how unbelievably tender the crumb is! I never had that soft texture with recipes that call for butter. The recipe calls for 3/4 cup of oil - which may seem a lot - but I don't find the bread oily at all.

Give this recipe a try or at least add that one teaspoon of vanilla extract to your favourite banana bread recipe (if it doesn't already call for it). You will definitely notice a difference in banana flavour.

And ... did I mention that my version uses a hand whisk and the batter is mixed in one bowl? Clean up will be a breeze. :-)  Give this recipe a try and let me know how it turns out by leaving a comment below.

(From the Kitchen of For the Love of Italian Cooking)

  • 1 3/4 cup (245 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp regular salt
  • 3 medium or large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (330 g) of sugar
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 large bananas)
  • 3/4 cup (200 ml) vegetable or sunflower seed oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F (175/180 °C) and grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan (I use a pyrex loaf pan for best results).
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients first in a large bowl. Mix in wet ingredients and stir only till combined (don't overbeat). Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 60-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. Run a knife along the sides and let cool completely in the pan. 
  4. Slice to desired thickness before serving.
MAKES 8-12 SERVINGS (depending on how thick you slice the bread) 

(Adapted from Bon Appetit)

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Rosa G.
Hamburg, Germany
Hi! My name is Rosa and welcome to my blog! I'm a fun loving, most-of-the-time stressed mother of three small boys, and a former cubicle dweller turned pastry chef. I am an amateur blogger and food photographer and lover of good Italian food. My food is simple, fresh, and seasonal (with an occasional frozen pizza).