Anna Jones' Seeded Banana Bread with Lemon Sesame Drizzle

October 14, 2015
2 Ratings
Photo by Issy Croker
  • Makes one good-sized loaf
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  1. 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).
  2. Put all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl—the flours, sugar, seeds, salt, and baking powder—and mix well.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Antares
  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
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  • The Model Well Fed
    The Model Well Fed
Best friends Issy and Meg have spent the last decade sitting across tables from each other, travelling the world knife and fork in hand. Photographing bowls of steaming noodles, exotic street food and some of the world's most exciting cooks, Issy makes up the photography side of the duo, while Meg records each bite in words. Considering their equal obsession for food and each other, it was inevitable that the two would eventually combine to become The Curious Pear, intent on bringing you reviews, food features and interviews with the culinary crowd, as well as pieces on their favourite eating spots from around the world. The Curious Pear are the contributing Food Editors at SUITCASE Magazine, bringing you a weekly food column at, as well as contributing for Time Out, Food52, Life & Thyme, Trends on Trends, Guest of a Guest and more!

16 Reviews

Antares February 25, 2021
This was delicious and a welcome change to the boring banana bread.

I replaced the wheat flour with flaxseed flour & used sesame & chia seeds. Excellent texture.

Next time I’d like to use poppy seeds — they should be great with the lemon.
Taylor S. December 30, 2017
Wow, just wow. Texturally these are insanely good. I used a nearly equal mixture of poppy, pumpkin, and sesame seeds. Baked these in 4 little loaf pans which took about 35 minutes. The glaze set up perfectly and is the perfect little complement!
Antares February 25, 2021
Did you chop the pumpkin seeds so they matched the size of the other seeds or did you leave them whole?
msmely September 30, 2017
Made with straight AP flour and 50g honey/75g white sugar since it's what I had on hand. Seeds were an equal mix of poppy, chia, sesame, flax, and hemp hearts. I topped with more seeds and made the drizzle out of honey instead of confectioner's sugar. It developed a very deep brown crust and a light crumb that was very visually appealing. I wanted to have the halved banana in the top but I wasn't sure if that banana was part of the 3 mashed bananas or if it was a 4th banana added for decoration so I topped with more seeds instead and used the 3 bananas in the batter. I'm not normally a fan of banana bread or things that taste strongly of banana, but this version was not too sweet and between the seeds and brown crust had a great contrast in varying flavors that kept it from being a dessert-y banana onslaught. The tahini drizzle was quite nice, though if omitted I think it would be fine as well, especially if you're serving the bread with a spread. It was tempting to do the drizzle inside the pan to keep all the liquid in but I'm not sure if it would have gotten soggy. "Juice of 1 lemon" is imprecise in a recipe that weighs its flour but not the rest of its ingredients.
Claire September 4, 2016
Can you freeze this bread
Ted M. May 6, 2016
My god I cannot think of an uglier way to present bananas. They look awful.
suzanne January 5, 2016
I make it in a springform pan... the bananas are so pretty on top.
tressa November 22, 2015
the bananas on the top aren't mentioned?
The M. January 5, 2016
Hi Tressa! When I made this recipe I sliced a banana lengthwise, placed it on top of the batter, gently rubbed it with apple cider vinegar and baked it. The vinegar slows down the browning process. It turned out pretty well!
nicole.lee June 26, 2016
When I baked with the banana on top, all of the batter under the banana didn't cook. I've made this recipe a dozen times the exact same way and never had trouble with it cooking though, so it has to be the banana. Any ideas on how to prevent the raw batter while still keeping the pretty banana on top?
suzanne November 21, 2015
PLEEZE convert your recipe to cups.
The M. January 5, 2016
Hi Suzanne! I used 1 cup of the flours, sugar, 3/4 c. + 2 tablespoons of seeds and 1 extra tablespoon of yogurt. It turned out very well!
The M. January 5, 2016
3/4 c. sugar**
Hippolyta November 19, 2015
This bread is excellent. I used chopped preserved lemon and the juice from the preserved lemon in lieu of fresh juice and zest. I also subbed coconut sugar 100% for the brown sugar. Very tasty, great texture, a cool twist on a classic.
Ausra November 9, 2015
I will try baking tonight; one quick question - do the whole banana halves go on top of the batter before the cake goes in the oven?? thanks;
MMR October 21, 2015
Looks delicious! What do you mean by "skewer the cake all over"?