I love the way the whole house feels when I make this banana bread loaf cake. Every room is infused with this amazingly warm, spicy aroma that makes you feel all cozy and homey and delicious and wonderful when this is in the oven. Sometimes I make it a point to bake it before Ben gets home from work so that I can look forward to him walking into the house, inhaling deeply, and saying, “Mmmm smells gooood in here! …Banana bread?!?!”
If that’s not the very picture of domestic bliss, I don’t know what is.
This banana bread is unlike any other banana bread I’ve ever had. Maybe because it’s actually called “Fresh Banana Loaf Cake.” To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of most banana breads. I don’t know what it is… too moist? Too banana-y? Those all sound like good things though, so I dunno. It was just never my thing. But I LOVE this one, and I’ve been making it for years. I’m pretty sure I will never try another banana bread recipe. This is it.
I was on the fence about sharing it, because the ingredient list can appear a little long, and I make it a point to share simple recipes… but if you have a normal baker’s pantry, many of these ingredients are hanging out in your cupboard anyway. The one ingredient that always gets me, though, is the sour cream. I frequently have to run out and pick it up mid-mixing, so try to remember that when you’re picking up bananas to make this!
This recipe makes a big batch, so be prepared to freeze some or have people in mind to share it with. I made it about a month ago to share with my friend Jenny, who had just had a baby. Yesterday, she came to visit and asked if this recipe was on my blog, because she liked it so much! Then she said something really really nice about it– so nice that I actually asked her if I could quote it for my blog post. She gave me permission to. Unfortunately, I can’t recall what she said anymore. Yes. I know. My memory. Awful. So let’s just pretend it was something like, “IT WAS THE BEST BANANA BREAD I’VE EVER HADDDD!” (Which can’t be true because she rarely speaks in all-caps, but since we’re pretending, why not.)
Another trick that makes this banana bread delicious is the crunchy sugar-almond topping. I got this trick from my friend Hanna, who never steers me wrong. Thank you, Hanna. Know that I think of you fondly every time I make it :). <3!
It’s great fresh out of the oven, but I like to let it cool and then slice and toast each individual piece for maximum golden brownedness. It makes the house smell good every time :].
Fresh Banana Loaf Cake
adapted from Nick Malgieri’s recipe (which he got from his “dear friend and second mother, Ann Amedolara Nurse.”) in his book Perfect Cakes
Two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans, buttered and bottoms lined with buttered parchment paper
(and maybe line a muffin tin with liners, too, because I always have a lot more batter than 2 loaf pans’ worth)
Storage: Wrap the cooled cake in plastic and keep at room temperature for up to several days, or double-wrap and freeze for longer storage.
*You can also bake these into muffin tins for muffins. First line your muffin tin with liners for easy cleanup. Fill each well 2/3 full with batter, sprinkle with sugar and almonds, and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until muffins are well risen and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean.