Is there anything more homey than transforming overripe bananas into a tasty treat the whole family will enjoy? Acclaimed pastry chef Dominique Ansel shares his favorite foundational banana bread recipe and teases ways you can take it to the next level in this special selection from his new book EVERYONE CAN BAKE.
I tasted banana bread for the first time when I moved to America. Even though it’s traditionally baked in a loaf pan, I loved its flavor so much that I thought it could be a component to build even more desserts. Its forgiving texture—moist and easy to slice—allowed me to experiment with it. I built it into layer cakes. I added ingredients—like pumpkin, strawberry, and zucchini, and I loved those variations, too. Think about that classic banana bread differently, and try elevating it to new levels.
MAKES: One 8-inch (20 cm) round cake or one 81⁄2 x 41⁄2-inch (21 x 11 cm) loaf cake
TIME: About 1 hour 30 minutes
- 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 teaspoon (3 grams) baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon (2 grams) ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
- 3 large eggs (about 150 grams)
- 2 cups (400 grams) overripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 4 bananas)
- 14 tablespoons (200 grams or about 1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
8-inch (20 cm) round cake pan, or a 8 1⁄2 x 4 1⁄2-inch (21×11 cm) loaf pan
1. Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter the bottom, sides, and edges of an 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pan or 81⁄2 x 41⁄2-inch (21 x 11 cm) loaf pan. Pour in some flour and shake it around until the pan is evenly coated, then tap out any excess flour.*
*If you’re using a loaf pan, you can line the bottom and sides with parchment paper instead of buttering and flouring it. (This makes cleanup a little easier.)
2. Combine the dry ingredients: Combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.
3. Make the batter: Whisk the eggs in a separate large bowl. Mix in the mashed bananas. Pour the egg mixture over the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined. Stir in the melted butter.
4. Bake the cake: Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling it to 3⁄4 inch (2 cm) from the top (you may have extra batter). Bake until the cake is golden brown, about 1 hour. There are three ways to check if it’s done:
- Jiggle it: The cake should wiggle a little in the middle. If it wiggles a lot, it’s not ready.
- Nudge it: Press the top gently; it should bounce back to your touch.
- Poke it: Stick a toothpick or paring knife into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done.
5. Cool and unmold the cake: Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. While the cake is still warm, turn it out of the pan. Let cool completely if using it to build a layer cake. Otherwise, slice and eat while still warm.
The banana bread can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. For longer storage, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, place in an airtight container, and freeze for up to 3 weeks. To use the frozen banana bread, remove it from the airtight container and transfer it to the refrigerator (still in the plastic wrap) to thaw for at least 3 hours or up to overnight, until the banana bread is soft again.
Pair It With…
- RECOMMENDED FILLINGS: curd, jam, compote, mousse, whipped ganache
- RECOMMENDED FINISHINGS: buttercream, glaze, streusel crumble
Two Ideas to Get You Started
One layer: Slice, toast, and slather with butter and jam
Two layers: Peanut Butter Mousse (find the recipe on page 195 of EVERYONE CAN BAKE), between the layers and on top, with Caramelized Bananas (page 238)
Banana Bread (page 58 of EVERYONE CAN BAKE): Finished with Carmelized Bananas and Chestnut-Whiskey Chantilly Cream (page 253)
If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Kitchen Sink Bars Recipe from Procrastibaking
Excerpted from Everyone Can Bake by Dominique Ansel. Copyright © 2020 by the author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.