Old-fashioned Banana Nut Bread – Gifting from the Kitchen

Banana Bread in a Wooder Baker Wrapped in a Gift Bag BakeThisCake

I can’t think of anything more loving than a homemade gift from the kitchen!  We baked up some old-fashioned Banana Nut Bread love for a special new friend in a far off city, wrapped it up perrty and sent it off with a smile.  Now we’re sharing our wooden spoon recipe with you so that you can craft a gift of love from your own special kitchen.

Banana Nut Bread with Fixins Recipe Bake This Cake

The Lean Green Bean

It has been a hoot to be a part of the Foodie Penpal program where foodie writers and foodie readers from across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. gather together to share a fun gift box with each other. And they do it every month. Starting off with 30 bloggers, this cool program has grown to a thousand participants!  Lindsey at The Lean Green Bean founded the program and does a bang-up job of directing the action-packed activities. wow!

Incoming Foodie Penpal! Since the only thing I seem to get in my mailbox is a pile of bills, it was so much fun to find a special package waiting for me on my front porch !!

Foodie Penpal Box with the mail BakeThisCake

My Incoming Foodie PenPal is Inspiring! This lovely gift came from Mary at A Small Loss where she writes from the heart about her incredible journey of weight loss.  She’s lost over 150 pounds!  Can you imagine?

Foodie Penpal Letter from Mary to Leslie BakeThisCake

Mary’s moving from the West Coast back to Chicago and she’s a marathon runner (wow!) so she’s on some major adventures.  Her starting weight was 345 pounds in July, 2010. She’s even going to be in an upcoming documentary film!  You go, girl!  We’re so rooting for you!  Isn’t she cute? And I’m so digging her Golden Gate Bridge photo!

Mary from A Small Loss

Mary made me up some marathon runner energy snacks and I thought it was so sweet (in all ways)!  And they’re so yummy.  (Frankly my dears, we snacked on a few bags of these delish-o-licious trail mixes even before I could snap some photos! ha!) 🙂

Runner's Snacks  by ASmallLoss BakeThisCake.Here’s a close-up of Mary’s Marathon Runner’s Snacks (yum!)

Runner's Snack by ASmallLoss closeup BakeThisCake

And her cute hand-written recipe:

Runner's Snack Recipe by ASmallLoss BakeThisCake

My Sending FoodiePal — We have something in common!

Jen at OneCurlyFryInABoxofRegular


The way it works: One package comes in from one Foodie and I send one package out to a different Foodie.  I’m sending off some goodies to Jen at One Curly Fry in a Box of the Regular. Jen’s a 30-something food lover in Philadelphia who adores sports, shopping, cooking, baking, watching good flicks, traveling, and attending food & wine festivals. But most of all, guess what?  She loves cakes! whoo hoo! You should check out her amazing Cupcake Excursions! Looking yum!

Her blog explores the pastry arts, culinary adventures, and “just livin the dream through food wine & cupcakes”.  Sounds good to me!  Check out her Maryland Crab Cakes recipe and her lovely Blueberry Scones recipe!  I think Jen’s an explorer — and she writes up some excellent food and wine festival reviews.

I wanted to bake a cake loaded up with frosting for Jen (cause I see she loves that!) but I fretted (so much!) on how a frosted cake might experience, uh, transit failure with the bumping and thumping and the time delay from SoCal to Philly…SO I decided on a better traveling cake.

Yesterday’s Banana Bread versus Today’s Tea Cake Style: Today’s version of banana bread (at least the last 90 years of it) is more of a sweet tea cake than the banana bread of yesteryear (which resembled yeast bread made with dried plaintain flour (though I see banana flour back in the news as a gluten-free flour of the future). Go bananas! 🙂

Banana Nut Bread in Wooden Baker Bake This Cake

This recipe is based loosely on the “Banana Nut Bread” recipe in the cool metal-cased 1933 Pillsbury “Balanced Recipes” cookbook.  We left out the wheat bran and sour cream, switched up butter for shortening, etc.– and we added tidbits from other vintage recipes –with some Grandma Tips thrown in (like mixing the eggs with the mashed bananas before adding them to the dry ingredients). ha!  Because we’re using really ripe bananas (there’s less acid in really ripe banana) both baking powder and baking soda are needed to add extra leavening power. Aye yie yie! This banana bread thing is more like an art-science-intuition thing.  🙂

Pillsbury's 1933 Balanced Recipes 2 Cookbook Bake This Cake

So let’s have a go at this wooden spoon recipe.  You KNOW there’s no electric beaters required — so please check your electric mixers at the door. 🙂

Old-Fashioned Banana Nut Bread Recipe

Tools Needed:
Cooking spray (or butter) and parchment (unless you’re using the Wood Bakers lined with parchment)
Bread/Loaf pan(s) 1 large (9″x5″x2-1/2″ or 8″x4″x2″) or 2 smaller Wood Bakers (7″x4″x2-1/2″)
Cookie Sheet Pan (if you’re using Wood Bakers)
Large Bowl (for batter)
Dinner-sized plate (for mashing bananas)
Banana Mashing Tool (fork, potato masher, ricer, etc)
Whisk (or fork for mixing drying ingredients)
Small strainer (for de-seeding lemon juice, optional)
Small bowl or cup (for fork beating eggs)
Medium (soup-sized) bowl (for mixing banana puree with eggs)
Wooden Spoon (gotta make it wood, right?) 🙂
Measuring cups and spoons
Pastry brush (for brushing top of bread with butter, optional)

Banana Nut Bread on Wooden Cutting Board Bake This Cake

Ingredients for Banana Nut Bread:
1-1/2 cups mashed bananas from dark-skinned ripe bananas (about 4 to 5 large)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon dried cultured buttermilk (optional)
1/2 cup fine-chopped walnuts (substitute pecans or favorite nuts)
2 eggs, fork beaten
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
1/3 cup milk (2% is fine)
1 to 2 Tablespoons room temperature butter for basting the top of the bread

1.  Defrost the Bananas (if yours are stored frozen):

Haul out your best 4 or 5 large black bananas from the deep freeze.  if you’re like me, you’ll have a regular stash hidden behind the frozen peas.  🙂 We defrosted our frozen bananas on the counter in about 30 minutes, easily peeled them and they were nice and dark and sweet.
Tip: Black ripe bananas seem to make the best banana bread because they make the cake sweet and golden-dark brown-crusted with those nice speckles. (Remember for our Banana Layer Cake recipe, we used only lightly ripened yellow bananas.)

Frozen Ripe Bananas BakeThisCake

2.  Prep the Oven and Baking Pans:

Set the oven rack to center position and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare 1 large or 2 small loaf pans by spraying with cooking spray or rubbing them with a little butter.  We used (our sponsor’s) King Arthur Flour’s darling Bake and Give Wood Bakers that don’t require prepping cause they are lined with parchment papers.

3.  Bring Eggs to Room Temp:

Place into a small bowl (or cup) of warm water for about 10 minutes to bring to room temperature:
2 large eggs

Warming Eggs to Room Temp BakeThisCake

4. Mash the Nanners:

Using a flat plate, use your favorite mashing tool (mine is a potato masher) to puree:
4 to 5 large bananas for 1-1/2 cups banana puree
Tip: Give the bananas a thorough mashing as all banana bits will show in the finished sweet bread but don’t go food processor on me here…leave a few bits showing for extra tastiness. 🙂

Banana Mashing Tool 2 Potato BakeThisCake

Measure out the banana puree and notice how nice and rich the banana puree has become when using dark bananas.

Banana Puree Measured for Banana Nut Bread Recipe BakethisCake

5.  Prep the Butter:

Microwave for a few seconds and stir to ensure fluffy room temperature consistency:
1/3 cup unsalted butter

Room Temp Butter for Banana Bread Recipe BakeThisCake

6.  Prep the Dry Ingredients:

Measure out into a large bowl:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon dried cultured buttermilk (optional)

Dry Ingredients for Banana Bread

 Whisk dry ingredients thoroughly (the lazy sifter’s way) 🙂

Whisking Dry Ingredients for Banana Bread BakeThisCake

Fine chop by hand or in a mini food processor:
1/2 cup walnuts

Walnuts to Ground Walnuts Collage BakeThisCake

Whisk the fine-chopped nuts into the dry ingredients.

Whisking Nuts into Dry Ingredients for Banana Bread BakeThisCake

7.  Squeeze Some Lemon Juice:

De-seed and squeeze to produce (and set aside for a moment):
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (using 1 large lemon)

Tip: My favorite lemon wedge squeezer is shaped like a little bird (and it also seems to catch the seeds). Mine’s inherited and way-old but they seem to have a new version here (we get a lot of requests for where to find one). 🙂

Squeezing Fresh Lemon Juice for Banana Bread recipe  Bake This Cake

8.  Work with the Eggs and Nanners:

Crack the prepared room temperature eggs into a small bowl or cup and, using a fork, beat them until they are thoroughly mixed.

Fork Beat Eggs for Banana Bread Bake This Cake

Stir the fork-beaten eggs into the banana puree and then stir in:
the prepared lemon juice

Mixing Eggs into Banana Puree for Banana Bread BakeThisCake

9.  Stir That Puppy with a Wooden Spoon!

Stir the banana-egg-lemon mixture into the dry ingredients.

Add the prepared softened butter and stir until fully incorporated. 🙂

Banana puree stirred into banana bread ingredients Bake This Cake

 Pour in and stir until thoroughly incorporated (about 30 strokes):
1/3 cup milk (2% works well)

Mixing milk into Banana Bread Batter Recipe Bake This Cake

The final batter lightens up in color and has a lovely aroma even at this stage.

Fully Mixed Banana Bread Batter recipe Bake This Cake

10.  Fill ‘er up and Bake This Cake!

I like to use an old-fashioned ice cream scooper to deliver the batter to the pans.  It seems to help keep the drips at bay. 🙂

Pouring Banana Bread Batter 2 with an ice cream scoop BakeThisCake

I filled the Wood Baker pans about half full for tea cake style cakes.  You can pour all the batter into one pan if you are using just one large loaf pan (the batter should reach to about 2/3 full if it’s all going into one pan).

Banana Bread Batter in Wooden Baker BakeThisCake

Bake at 350 degrees. For the smaller pans, bake for about 65 minutes. For the larger pan bake for about 75 minutes.  Since oven differences can impact the baking time, check on your cakes beforehand.  The banana bread will be done when it is somewhat cracked on top, the sides pull away slightly from the edges, a toothpick tests shows clean, the bread springs back a bit when gently pressed at the top center point and the internal temperature reaches about 210 degrees.

Hot Banana Bread Recipe Bake This Cake

Cool the bread for 10 minutes in the pan before brushing the top of the bread with:
1 to 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Tip: Spreading a little butter on top of the warm bread will help soften the top crust.  The initial shine will fade as the cake cools.  Serve this bread warm from the oven or some folks prefer it with a one-day counter sitting time.

Slices of Banana Bread with Fixins Bake This Cake

If you made 2 small loaves, you’ll have the advantage of being able to test one and give the other as your special kitchen gift. 🙂

Do you take yours hot with butter?  Cooled with softened cream cheese?  My auntie likes her banana bread with cream cheese and orange marmalade.

Slice of Banana Nut Bread in the Garden Bake This Cake

Such a homey kitchen craft.  Heck, next time I’m going to double the recipe like Grandma used to do  — since it seems to go in a flash. 🙂

Okay, time to bake two, keep one and pack one for a friend (or for your very own Foodie PenPal).

best homemade Banana Bread Wrapped in wood baker for Gift Giving Bake This Cake

We tucked our kitchen gift into a darling clear cellophane Treat Bag purchased from our good friends at www.ShopBakersNook.com (the gift bags come in a set of 3 with lovely ribbon ties and round cards for inscriptions that loop through the ribbon ).

Foodie Penpal Box to Jen from BakeThisCake

My Foodie PenPal Box for Jen

Thank you for joining me on this vintage baking adventure.  I hope you’ll hang with us on Facebook (where you’ll get a sneak peek of our testing cakes) — and where you’ll find me asking for advice from our baker friends as we make our way through recipe quandaries.  You might even want to check your grandma’s recipe cards and tip us on what you think might be fun to bake up next. 🙂

If you bake this tea cake (okay, bread), shoot me a photo at Lesliemak@facebook.com and I’ll post it. 🙂

Happy vintage cake baking!


Leslie Macchiarella photo by Julie Macchiarella

3 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Banana Nut Bread – Gifting from the Kitchen

  1. Trying this recipe for the first time today. Though it’s hard to tell when you incorporate butter in the overall mixture.

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