The original banana bread

We call this the original banana bread because it’s the one I’ve been making for years and years. We’ve taken it to parties, church teas, work morning teas, anywhere with lots of people. We had to stop making it for the family because of the amount of egg, but it’s still popular everywhere we take it.

It’s at its softest and most crumbly while it’s still warm.

The original banana bread, still warm and deliciously soft and crumbly

The original banana bread, still warm and deliciously soft and crumbly

Like most Moosewood recipes, it’s fiddly but never fails. It’s also rich, deliciously crumbly and very sweet. I’m not usually a fan of wholemeal flour in cakes, but it’s a must for this banana bread. I’ve been known to eat leftover slices topped with natural yoghurt for breakfast.

We usually make it the day before we need it, because it takes a bit of time to prepare. It seems to lose some of its crumb and become a bit more substantial overnight, making it better suited to feeding a cast of thousands. It still has a lovely texture—maybe you just can’t beat straight-out-of-the-oven cake!

The original banana bread, cooled and sliced for morning tea, or even breakfast, the next day

The original banana bread, cooled and sliced for morning tea, or even breakfast, the next day

The original banana bread

  • Servings: 1 large cake
  • Difficulty: a bit fiddly
  • Print


  • 2 cups of wholemeal plain flour
  • 2 cups of ordinary plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • grated rind from 1 orange
  • 1 cup of melted butter
  • 1¾ cups (packed) of brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
  • 1½ cups of mashed, overripe bananas (about three bananas)
  • ⅔ cup of black coffee
  • sesame seeds


  1. Grease a large cake tin (ours is 20 cm x 20 cm) and sprinkle sesame seeds across the greased surface.
  2. Take two mixing bowls: one smaller one (for the dry ingredients) and a larger one (for the wet ingredients and, eventually, the entire mixture).
  3. In the smaller bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: all the flour, the salt, bicarb soda, baking powder, grated orange rind, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  4. In the larger bowl, mix together the melted butter, egg and vanilla essence.
    This larger bowl is now your main mixing bowl: you’ll be adding everything into this bowl.
  5. Start adding the dry ingredients to the larger bowl. To start with, add just enough to be able to fold it in but still have a wettish cake mix. There’s no chemistry here: it’s just easier this way.
  6. Add the banana and coffee. Then add more of the dry ingredients, then more of the banana and coffee, and so on.
  7. Pour (dollop) the mixture into the cake tin, then coat the top with sesame seeds.
  8. Bake in a 180 degree C (350°F) oven for 40 to 50 minutes.
  9. Let it cool in the tin.


If you’re using electric beaters and very overripe bananas, you can just add the bananas whole to the eggs and butter mix, before adding any of the dry ingredients: the beaters will do the mashing for you. You can then add the coffee and flour as step 6 says.

In case you’re wondering, this cake never has anything go wrong with it. If you notice the top cracks, next time you make it, double check you have set the temperature dial on your oven to exactly 350°F (180°C).

Source: Adapted from the ever-so-famous Moosewood Cookbook  by Mollie Katzen (1977), California: Ten Speed Press.

The original banana bread

The original banana bread

8 thoughts on “The original banana bread

  1. Looks so good!! Thanks for sharing the recipe!! Of course I’ll have to swap out the flour even tho you say it’s a must – but I’ll use your other unique ingredients. Like coffee? In banana bread? I never woulda thought of that. I can’t wait to make this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s only the bran part of the wholemeal you need for the texture. If you can find a way of getting that without wheat, then you’ll be fine. I’d be interested to know how you do it.


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