Nine Keys to Great Banana Bread

It seems that we always have overripe bananas on the counter.  We just  don’t have enough time to make banana bread.  Then we discovered that we could turn a simple cake mix into really good banana bread by adding those ripe bananas on the counter.

Here’s how to do it using our Vanilla Bean Baby Cake Mix.

1 Vanilla Bean Cake Mix
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs
1 cup mashed banana
1 teaspoon banana flavor
1/2 cup chopped nuts
3/4 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

  1. Mix cake mix, oil, eggs, banana, and flavor in a stand-type mixer, per package instructions.
  2. Add the nuts and cinnamon chips to the cake batter. Mix just until combined.
  3. Spread the batter in a greased or parchment lined 9”X5” loaf pan and bake for 65 minutes to 75 minutes at 300º or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  4. Allow the bread to cool in the pan on a wire rack for a few minutes and then remove the loaf to a wire rack. If you are using parchment paper, grab the edges of the paper and lift to transfer it to a wire cooling rack.

Whether you are using a mix or scratch, there are keys to great banana bread.

  1. Start with a good, proven recipe.
  2. Use really ripe bananas.  They should be getting dark.  Ripe bananas have over twice the flavor.
  3. Add a little banana flavor.  No matter how ripe your bananas, extra flavor helps.
  4. Add about one-half cup chopped nuts per loaf if you like them.
  5. Consider adding 3/4 cup cinnamon chips.  Banana bread is mild in flavor and cinnamon chips add a great burst of sweet flavor.
  6. Turn the heat down.  Banana loaves are thick and dense and it takes a long time to drive the heat through the loaves.  We’ve started baking most quick breads loaves at 300 degrees regardless of what the recipe calls for.
  7. Check for doneness; don’t rely on the recipe.  Different ovens and different pans will change cooking times.
  8. Get the loaf out of the pan to cool.  After about five minutes, use a soft-bladed spatula to loosen the edges and tip the loaf from the pan.  If you line the pan with parchment paper, you can grab the edges of the paper and lift the loaf from the pan.  Remove the parchment paper from the loaf so that the loaf can breathe.
  9. Wait until the next day.  Banana bread is so much better after it has chilled and the flavors have melded through the loaf.

The following is a great banana nut bread recipe with banana flavor  added.  It was a good recipe before added the flavor but the flavor makes it better.

Banana Nut Bread “Scratch” Recipe


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups ripe mashed banana
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt (not low fat)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon banana flavor

1 cup pecan or walnut pieces


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl, mix the mashed banana, sugar, yogurt, vegetable oil, egg yolks, vanilla, and banana flavor together.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until the ingredients are mixed well.  Fold in the nuts.
  4. Spoon the batter into a well-greased and floured 9 x 5 loaf pan.  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees or until it tests done with toothpick.
  5. Let sit for five minutes in the pan on a rack and then remove the loaf from the pan and place on a rack to completely cool.   For the best flavor, wrap tightly in foil or plastic and store overnight in the refrigerator.