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We are a family of cake lovers and banana bread is right up there as a firm favourite; a banana will rarely make it to the compost bin as they are always saved for baking. There’s no such thing as a ‘too far gone’ banana in our house!

This recipe is based on a Nigella Lawson recipe from her ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ cookbook. Of all the recipes I’ve tried, this is my favourite, I’ve always found it to be reliable and very moist.  I have altered it to be dairy free, using unrefined sugar and spelt flour, it’s easy to make it gluten free too.

Banana bread ingredients

  • 175 grams spelt flour*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt
  • 125 grams sunflower spread (I use Pure brand)
  • 150 grams unrefined sugar, i.e. coconut blossom or whole cane
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 small very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 100 grams sultanas or cranberries
  • 60 grams chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*for a gluten free version, substitute gluten free flour and add 1/2 teaspon xantham gum. Make sure your baking powder is also gluten free.

Making the banana bread

Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3/325ºF.
I like to get all the ingredients ready first – uses more bowls but making the bread is a quicker (and more fluid) process!
  1. In separate bowls:
    1. Sieve together the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt, and mix well
    2. Mash the bananas
    3. Crack & beat the eggs
    4. Chop the nuts & mix with dried fruit, add vanilla extract to this mix
  2. Then in a large bowl, whisk together the sunflower spread and sugar, keep whisking until well blended and lighter in colour.
  3. Tip in half the egg mixture along with a tablespoon of the flour mix and whisk in, then add the rest of the egg with another tablespoon of flour and whisk.
  4. Then whisk in the mashed bananas.
  5. With a wooden spoon, stir the nut/fruit/vanilla extract mixture and finally, add the flour mixture a third at a time, stirring well after each bit.
  6. Scrape into a loaf tin (23 x 13 x 7cm / 9 x 5 x 3 inches) – I use ready made loaf tine liners, otherwise line with greaseproof paper – and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-1¼ hours.
  7. Check after 50 minutes or so – if the top looks like it’s getting a bit dark, cover the top loosely with some foil.
  8. After the cooking time, insert a toothpick or fine skewer in the middle of the bread to see if it comes out clean.
  9. Leave in the tin on a rack to cool and store in an airtight container.
  10. Enjoy!!