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Author Notes: One cold January week, I just couldn’t get away from banana bread. A loaf packed up in string and brown paper arrived in the post from a baker friend; another friend emailed me asking for my ultimate banana bread recipe; and I arrived at a third friend’s house to the smell of a loaf in the oven. The signs were there: It was a week for banana bread and a quest for the best loaf I could make.
This was the result. Deeply seeded, it’s a blend of all the good things from the different loaves I made. Trust me on the brave use of seeds—they make the bread. I use the same mixture every time—50 grams of golden flax seeds, 50 grams of poppy seeds and 50 grams of black sesame seeds—but any tiny seeds would work.
Banana bread is brilliant, as there is so little sugar needed to make something that feels like a real treat. I like to keep the bananas quite chunky so you can see some bits in the cake, but mash them up completely if you prefer.
The cake stays very moist because of the bananas, so don’t worry if it looks quite soft as you slice into it—that’s what makes it so delicious. You can also swap in gluten-free flour.
The seeds in this cake contain a long list of vitamins and minerals and hence have amazing health benefits. Little flax seeds are the richest plant source of omega 3, which helps our brains, joints, and immune systems; they can also help level out hormones and are packed with fiber. So eat your cake and know it’s doing you some serious good. Having your cake and eating it is what that’s called.
From A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones, published by 4th Estate —The Curious Pear
Makes one good-sized loaf
For the cake:
- 125 grams plain flour (I use unbleached)
- 125 grams whole wheat or spelt flour
- 125 grams light brown sugar
- 150 grams little seeds (see headnote)
- 1 good pinch sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 medium, ripe bananas, peeled
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons natural or unsweetened soy yogurt or coconut yogurt
- 2 eggs, preferably organic or free-range, eggs, beaten
For the lemon sesame drizzle:
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 3 tablespoons golden icing sugar, confectioners' sugar, or set honey
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat your oven to 400° F (200° C) . Butter and flour a non-stick 450-gram (1-pound) loaf tin (if your loaf tin is not non-stick, line it with parchment paper too).
- Put all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl—the flours, sugar, seeds, salt, and baking powder—and mix well.
- In another bowl, mash the bananas with a fork (I like to keep them quite chunky), then add the lemon juice and zest, olive oil, yogurt, and eggs and mix well.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, taking care not to over-mix—just do enough to make sure it is all combined. Spoon into the loaf tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
- While your loaf is baking, make the lemon drizzle. Beat the tahini and confectioners' sugar in a bowl until smooth, squeeze in the lemon juice and mix well.
- Take your loaf out of the oven and leave it in the pan until it is cool enough to move to a cooling rack. While the loaf is still warm, place a large plate under the rack, then skewer the cake all over, pour over the drizzle and leave it to sink in.
- This is delicious on its own, thickly sliced, with a cup of coffee, but sometimes I like to spread the slices with a thick layer of almond or peanut butter.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!