This light, cakey and perfectly sweet banana bread recipe is a classic in my family! It’s killer served for breakfast or a snack, generously spread with butter or cream cheese.
There are probably as many banana bread recipes in the world as there are stars in the sky. This one was my mom’s moms, and it’s one of those signature recipes that families tend to develop over time. We have it A LOT! Anytime we get together in a room, this banana bread is probably floating around somewhere. It’s a recipe that we all collectively swear by. And at any given moment, one of us has probably broken off from the rest of the family to go sneak themselves a slice.
The original recipe calls for shortening. In my parents house, that means Crisco. However, I don’t really mess with shortening for a variety of reasons and prefer to use butter. Butter is an excellent replacement for shortening as it too creates the perfect cakey texture that is the cornerstone of this recipe. It is incredibly close- almost indistinguishable- from the original recipe made with shortening. I would also argue that it adds a richer flavor to the finished bread. (I know I’m going to hear about this later!) Margarine would work as well. But whatever you do, don’t substitute any type of oil! Oil will create a texture that is too dense for what we’re aiming for here.
This is probably just a personal failing of mine, but there’s something about baking recipes that always makes me want to fudge them, just a little. Which is to say, I often talk myself out of some of the specifics of baking instructions (“Will it really make THAT much of a difference if I don’t sift the flour?” “What if I just eyeball the spices instead of measuring them?” “I don’t want to go to the store, I’ll just substitute table salt for kosher salt”) and baking really is the wrong time for that. In fact, baking is the time to be following instructions to the letter! So for all the people like me out there, I encourage you to really follow this recipe. Do take the time to mix each set of ingredients individually instead of just dumping them all in the mixing bowl. Don’t skip the flour sifting step- sifted flour is much more aerated and helps contribute to the light and cakey texture of this bread.
There’s also another step that is easy to skip- the resting stage before baking the bread. The reason that this step exists is to give the leaveners (that’s the baking soda and baking powder) a chance to produce gas after they have come in contact with the liquid ingredients. This gas helps create the perfect rounded loaf and contributes to the cake-like texture of this bread (see how many parts of this recipe are geared toward obtaining this consistency??). That said, more is not better on this quick bread. After about 20 minutes, the leaveners will have produced too much gas and the middle of your loaf will sink. So just give it a rest at room temperature on the counter for the prescribed 20 minutes and you will be in the clear!
This banana bread recipe, like many, also features overripe bananas. Using overripe bananas makes the final product sweeter and more banana-ier; but if you absolutely can’t wait, regular bananas will work just as well.
If you somehow have the self-control to not eat this banana bread immediately, this recipe is freezer-friendly! To freeze, simply remove the bread from the loaf pan and let cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and then in aluminum foil. When ready to use, remove from freezer and let it get to room temperature.
This light, cakey and perfectly sweet banana bread recipe is a classic in my family! It's killer served for breakfast or a snack, generously spread with butter or cream cheese.
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup shortening or butter
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp buttermilk
- 2 overripe (brown-black) bananas
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a (8.5" x 4.5") loaf pan and set aside.
In a medium to large mixing bowl: beat the white sugar, shortening (or butter) and eggs.
Add the buttermilk and overripe bananas and beat until bananas are mashed and evenly spread throughout.
Use a fine mesh strainer to sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir until just incorporated. Stir in the walnuts if using.
Pour batter evenly into greased loaf pan. Let the batter rest for 20 minutes before baking. This gives the baking soda and baking powder a chance to produce gas for a lighter bread- but don't leave out any longer than 20 minutes or the middle of your loaf will sink!
Bake on the middle rack for 50-60 minutes, checking with a toothpick to make sure it's done.
Remove pan from oven and let cool before removing and slicing. To store, wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
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