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My mother learned to cook this bread during the Depression, when nothing was wasted — especially overripe bananas. We clamored for this treat so often that she frequently bought extra bananas and let them get almost black. I've discovered that overripe bananas can be peeled, mashed, and frozen, then defrosted whenever I want to bake up this memory.


⅔ cup whole milk1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice2 ½ cup sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)1 tsp baking powder¾ tsp salt½ tsp baking soda1 stick unsalted butter, softened (.5 cup)⅔ cup sugar2 large eggs2 very ripe medium bananas3 oz walnuts, chopped (1 cup)


  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan and line bottom of pan with wax paper or parchment, then grease paper.
  2. Mix together milk and lemon juice and let stand until milk curdles, about 1 minute.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a bowl.
  4. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until combined, then beat in bananas until combined. (Mixture will look curdled.)
  5. Add flour mixture to banana mixture alternately with milk, mixing at low speed just until batter is smooth. Stir in walnuts. Pour into loaf pan and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of bread comes out clean, about 1 hour.
  6. Cool bread in pan on a rack 20 minutes, then invert bread onto rack. Remove paper and turn bread right side up on rack to cool completely.

This recipe makes one (9-inch) loaf.

Recipe by Ruth Cousineau
Photo by Romulo Yanes

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Tags: Bread, Brunch, Breakfast, Snack, Kid-Friendly, Vegetarian, Banana, Nut, Baking

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