“Banana Buttermilk Bread” from “The Violet Bakery Cookbook”


Banana bread is one of those foods that never thrills me. I’ll eat it, sure, but I would never choose it enthusiastically.

I think my main problem with it is that its main ingredient is the black, nearly not edible, bananas that are lurking around in your fruit bowl. Frankly, banana bread is the Last Chance Cafe for old bananas, which hardly is a strong selling point.

But alas, we did have some old bananas kicking around in our kitchen. I didn’t want to throw them away if could give them a second chance at stardom, so this is how I ended up baking banana bread on a cold Saturday morning.

This variation on banana bread does two things differently from your standard recipe. The first is you take one of your bananas, cut it lengthwise, and then put the banana half on top of the bread to give it a more interesting appearance. Alas, I didn’t do this because I only had five very ripe bananas and I wanted to use all available bananas in the bread itself. But I will try this if I decide to make this again.

The other top tip was to put three tablespoons (that is not a misprint) of caster sugar on top of the bread once you pour the batter into the tin. Three tablespoons is a lot; I found that it had completely covered, and then some, the top. I almost stopped at one, but I thought the step was in there for a reason, so I did it all. I’m glad I did. What ends up happening is the massive amounts of sugar put a nice crust on the top of the bread, which gives a nice crunch to otherwise very moist cake.

Was it good? Sure. It still didn’t convert me to the Joys of Banana bread, but everybody liked it. Most importantly, it made a very cold, grey, cheerless Saturday morning better, and that’s saying something.

If you’d like to make this yourself, Yahoo had this recipe as its Cake of the Day in October 2015. Click through this paragraph to read it.

“Banana Buttermilk Bread” from “The Violet Bakery Cookbook”

5 thoughts on ““Banana Buttermilk Bread” from “The Violet Bakery Cookbook”

  1. Emma says:

    Did you have any trouble with the cooking time? When I made this I had to cook it for much longer than the recommended time, and even then it was still very squidgy. I have made several things from this book and overall I have had better success with the smaller, individual items (cookies, friands) than with the larger items (the banana bread, the brownie). I borrowed the book from the library. I’m glad I didn’t actually purchase it.

  2. Maureen Stapleton says:

    No, I didn’t have trouble with the cooking time and I didn’t alter it in any way. I like how she specifies the temperature for fan and non-fan ovens, since when I bake I always use the fan, but not all cookbooks make that differentiation. However, In my experience, banana bread is usually pretty squidgy anyway, which might be why I’m not such a huge fan of it. Like I said above, the recipe didn’t convert me to the joy of banana bread, but everyone else seemed to like it.

  3. Emma says:

    Thanks for your reply. Maybe the issue for me was that the recipe states a number of bananas rather than a weight. I could have been unlucky and just had a bigger volume of bananas than average!

    1. Maureen Stapleton says:

      That definitely could have been it. I thought it strange that in a book that specified the weight of eggs to use for one recipe, they didn’t specify the weight here. I only used five, instead of the required six, because that’s all I had on hand.

      But if you want to try another banana cake recipe– and you’ve got a few black bananas mocking you from the fruit bowl– this from Nigella is pretty good.

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