Black Sesame Banana Cake with Peanut Butter

December 18, 2014
8 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes one 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf
Author Notes

Adapted heavily from a recipe published in the March 2012 issue of Bon Appétit : Jampel

What You'll Need
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup black sesame seeds, plus more for sprinkling
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 6 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter one 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and two tablespoons of the black sesame seeds in a medium bowl. Grind the remaining sesame seeds in a spice mill to form a thick paste, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until well-combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sesame paste and beat, occasionally scraping down the sides, until blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the mashed banana.
  3. On low speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 additions. (Begin and end with the dry ingredients.)
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Dollop peanut butter over top and use a knife to swirl it into the batter. Smooth the top, then sprinkle sesame seeds and granulated sugar over top. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a tester comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
  5. Cool completely in the pan before turning out and slicing.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Mari Yomota
    Mari Yomota
  • thzhou
  • Zozo
  • DB
  • Young Mimi Lee
    Young Mimi Lee

31 Reviews

Mari Y. August 23, 2023
This has been my most favorite banana bread recipe for several years. Every time I make it, it comes out very moist and flavorful. Instead of grinding sesame seeds by myself, I use a store bought black sesame paste.
Suganthi L. February 21, 2021
Hello, this recipe is very appealing to me. Only thing is I can't have eggs, can I substitute with flax eggs? if so, how many tablespoons do you recommend? thanks so much .
Bernadette H. July 24, 2020
This cake is perfection! I used 3 tbsp of tahini instead of grinding sesame seeds. Directions were so thorough. I will definitely make this again!
thzhou October 4, 2019
I made a handful of adjustments based on what i had at home, and it turned out fantastic. I at 1/3 of the loaf for breakfast this morning!
1. I didn't have AP flour, so I used 1/2 cup whole wheat + 1/4 cup barley flour + a pinch of vital wheat gluten. didn't taste overly wheat-y at all
2. i had pre-ground black sesame (you can buy it at asian markets), so used a 1/4 cup of that instead. still used whole sesame in and on top of the cake too
3. didn't have buttermilk so I subbed in yogurt (specifically Trader Joe's European-style yogurt)
4. my peanut butter wouldn't emulsify easily, so instead of swirling it in I just mixed it straight in to the batter (after the egg, before the banana). it was also crunchy, not smooth.
5. sprinkled the top with turbinado sugar (but used granulated white in the batter)
Zozo May 28, 2017
This was fantastic! I adapted it to use up some sourdough starter which appeared to make it puff up much more than in the photo.

Note for anyone who uses black sesame tahini (I had some, so used it instead of grinding the sesame) that you should probably not use much more than 50g or the black sesame flavour will be all you can taste!
DB March 22, 2017
Do you use roasted or raw sesame seeds?
Sarah J. March 22, 2017
Use roasted if you can find them at the store! But I've used raw, too. I just would be careful trying to toast your own black sesame seeds at home—it's easy to burn them since you can't tell when they're toasted from a change in color.
DB March 22, 2017
DB March 22, 2017 still need to be a "paste".
Young M. February 7, 2017
Left it in the oven, not venue. Autocoŕrect!
Young M. February 7, 2017
What a delicious midmorning cake this is! Not too sweet, nutty, at times crunchy from the whole black sesame seeds, and the peanut buttery bites. This is a keeper! I left it in the venue for 55 minutes after reading reviews, maybe I'll bake it for 50 min next time. Would anyone know how to bake this with Stevia? Thanks for the recipe!
Elizabeth December 14, 2016
Turned out beautifully- with a lovely golden, sesame seed studded lid (the prettiest banana bread I've made). I only had white sesame seeds, and used tahini in place of the peanut butter and the ground sesame seeds. It took exactly 45 minutes at gas mark 5.
Marsha G. September 11, 2016
This wasn't great. It's edible and it's moist. It is also bland and unattractive. It took about an hour and 15 minutes to bake in my oven. I substituted 1/2 c. ww flour for the buckwheat and almond flours. At least it used up the majority of a bunch of overripe bananas I had. I will not be making it again.
Sarah J. September 11, 2016
Sorry to hear that Marsha!! Definitely not for everyone but I hope you try another recipe from Food52 that you love!
KirstenInCO April 10, 2016
Just baked this after a week of scouring my local shops for the uncommon-to-MY-pantry items. I used Justin's honey almond butter instead of peanut butter but followed the rest of the recipe exactly. I live at 10,500ft in Colorado and baking breads/cakes can be difficult. This came out perfectly! It is so light and fluffy and didn't fall/sink in the middle as so many of my cakes do. I was concerned about the flavor prior to baking (no cinnamon, no vanilla or other flavors) and the raw batter had quite a sour smell. It is delicious! This is going to be my go-to banana bread now. Thank you so much!
Kate M. January 25, 2016
i made this with quite a few substitutions: coconut oil for butter, whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, kefir instead of buttermilk, tahini for the ground black sesame seeds, etc. etc. IT WAS DELICIOUS. highly recommend this recipe!
Nicolette D. January 22, 2016
This looks like a great snowy day recipe! I made a few substitutions because of what I had on hand. I used goat milk instead of buttermilk, white sesame seeds and flaxseed instead of black sesame seeds, and extra almond flour in place of the buckwheat (although I'd love to try it again with the buckwheat). Also, I keep my overripe bananas in the freezer, and use them to bake with once they're extra brown and sweet. It's in the oven now - fingers crossed!
Kerin S. July 23, 2015
Made this yesterday, just divine. Mashed the blk sesame in a mortar & pestle with a little egg white.
shu-jin_rankin February 11, 2015
If I sub tahini for the sesame paste, do I just use 1/4 cup of it?
Hannah R. February 10, 2015
I've had this cake bookmarked since it was published, and just got around to making it this weekend. Incredible. I used tahini and unhulled sesame seeds in place of the black ones, and boy I have to say - this is my new favorite banana quickbread! Buckwheat, bananas, sesame and peanut butter forever.
Sarah J. February 10, 2015
So thrilled to hear that!
Nozlee S. January 26, 2015
Okay Sarah, it's snowing outside and I have all of the ingredients for this EXCEPT THE BANANA. I'm gonna sub in pureed butternut squash and HOPE FOR THE BEST.
Nozlee S. January 27, 2015
Holy wow Sarah THIS CAKE
Nozlee S. January 27, 2015
"It's like a little bit of a shock at first, but then it grows on you" -- Jarrett
Sarah J. January 27, 2015
HOORAY! I am so happy!
weshook January 12, 2015
You have definitely grabbed my attention; I'll be trying an egg-free version soon.
Windischgirl January 11, 2015
Baking right now. Made a double batch as I had lots of bananas and 1/2c of PB to finish. Making mini loaves (3 minis=1 full size). I used tahini for the sesame paste but thickened it up with some flax meal. As I was mixing the batter, all I could think about was Elvis. Wasn't PB and banana his go-to sandwich?
Sarah J. January 11, 2015
I think PB, banana, AND bacon was Elvis's order!
Windischgirl January 11, 2015
I think I'll put off making BLTs with the bread! Do love the combo of banana and sesame...reminds we of halvah, one of my favorite treats. I'm taking a loaf to work tomorrow for my taste testers. One of my colleagues and I are dreaming of opening a bakery...that is, when we hit the lottery.
Beth100 January 7, 2015
This sounds heavenly to me – everything I love in a flavor profile! Thanks for sharing something appealingly off the beaten path.
Sarah J. January 7, 2015
Thanks, Beth100!! Hope you like it as much as I do.