Banana bread has a bit of a bad rep because of all the bad banana bread out there. I prefer to call my version banana loaf cake, to differentiate it from all those dry banana breads that have too much sugar and not enough banana. Not everyone likes nuts, so feel free to leave them out if you don't. Some people like to toast the nuts first, but I rarely take the time to do that and haven't had any complaints yet.
Of course, you can spread a slice with softened butter and call it breakfast. Or top a slice with a dollop of whipped cream and call it dessert. I suppose you could even frost the loaf, or just the top of it, with a thin icing. But I guess I'm a no-frills kinda gal because I prefer just a plain, unadorned slice along with a nice cup of tea.
How about you? Don't tell me you don't like bananas; I'll only tell you that even people who don't like bananas like this. But if you really really really don't like bananas, try my chocolate loaf cake! Frugal types like banana cake/bread because it's a great way to use up really overripe bananas instead of throwing them out. In fact, the more overripe, the better. If you can, wait until the bananas are thoroughly disgusting before making this.
(Makes one 9x5x3-inch or 9x4x4-inch loaf)
2 packed cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted or not
1 2/3 cups (about 1.5 pounds, unpeeled) mashed very ripe bananas
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
Milk to make 2/3 cup
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 packed cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease, butter or spray a 9x5x3-inch or 9x4x4-inch loaf tin. In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in chopped walnuts.
2 In medium bowl, mash bananas and 1 tablespoon lemon juice with large fork or potato masher.
3 In measuring cup, put 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, add milk to make 2/3 cup; stir gently and let stand for 5 minutes.
4 In large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, then vanilla and mashed bananas. Add dry ingredients and lemon-thickened milk alternately to wet ingredients, and stir just until combined. Scrape into prepared loaf tin; smooth top.
5 Bake at 350 degrees for 65 to 75 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and continue cooling on wire rack for an hour.