When my Mom made banana bread it meant that there were “Sorry-Looking Bananas” in the fruit basket and since we no longer wanted to eat the over-ripe bananas and we didn’t want to waste food, into a batter they’d go. Like with almost everything my mom made, this banana bread recipe calls for nuts and lemon zest. Seriously, my mom has a penchant for anything that has a lemon flavor or scent, and while as a child I couldn’t understand this, I now understand why. Lemon zest and fresh lemon juice add another dimension of flavor and freshness to recipes. Along with lemon zest and juice, my mom baked with a lot of almonds and hazelnuts. There are a lot of Swiss baking recipes that call for a variety of nuts, so it only made sense that she create a banana nut loaf with ground almonds. And I’m glad she did! I’ve found that ground almonds impart a nice nutty flavor, and provide the loaf with moisture.
Starting out with super ripe bananas for this recipe is a must! I remember long ago I made a banana loaf with bananas that were not not ripe enough and the results were disappointing. So, once you’ve got your ingredients along with the star of the loaf – overripe bananas or in my mom’s case, “Sorry-looking bananas”, then you’ll be happy you waited so long to bake this loaf!
I can’t quit describe the feeling I have when I pour the batter into the cake/loaf pan. Feelings of excitement, happiness and anticipation fill my heart as I smooth the batter in place, because the aroma of baking sets a calm and happy mood, and that the baked loaf will bring happiness to others!
Once the loaf is baked through (by testing with toothpick), I like to leave it in the pan to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before popping it out. I learned the hard way as to why it is important to let loaves and cakes chill out in their respective pan for a bit – broken ends, pieces stuck to the sides or bottom of the pan….you name it, I’ve seen it!
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- zest of 1 small lemon
- 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups flour
- ½ c ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup mashed, overripe bananas
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C.
- Butter and flour a 9"x5" loaf pan, set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, and then add ground almonds, set aside.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer (or a large bowl with a hand mixer or whisk ), cream butter and sugar together until it is light in color, (about 10 minutes)
- To the sugar and butter mixture, you'll add vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice and add eggs, one at a time, beating between additions (1 -2 minutes before adding the second egg)
- Next, you'll add the dry ingredients to the sugar butter mixture, and the mashed bananas, alternating between the two, beating on low setting and just until combined and smooth; do not over beat as it does not bode well for the banana bread.
- Pour batter into a prepared 9"x5" baking pan and put into a preheated oven, on the middle rack. Baking time is 35-40 minutes or maybe longer, depending on climate, humidity, oven (convection or conventional) so just use a toothpick to check for doneness to be sure!