Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I am not the only one who has been puzzling over the difference between a banana bread and a banana cake. Even David Lebovitz is as perplexed as I am. Yes I have, in total, spent between 1800-2100 seconds over the past ten years trying to sort out the difference between the two. 

An American friend of mine had offered me a slice of "banana 'bread' " one morning. I studied it and it seemed to me, in all its look and texture, a banana cake. At the time I didn't give it much thought. A shrug was all the puzzle had got out of me. But since I started this blog the question has become more immediate and urgent. I feel stupid. I feel shallow. I feel I should know. 

But then I thought, surely, it cannot be as perplexing as confronting the fifth dimension of wormholes and parallel universes or, at the least, cataloging the properties of subatomic particles such as quarks and gluons. Then.... Why?...People?....Have I not found the answer? Help. Michio Kaku? Einstien?

And I have also just learnt...yes ...learnt.... that Rose Beranbaum has a recipe for banana bread in her book The Bread Bible. She used a plain white bread recipe, added some milk and a couple of bananas to it and called it Banana Bread. Now that makes complete sense no? Yes. 

Yes it makes so much sense that I can almost write an algebraic formula for it. Like...........Bread + Banana = Banana Bread. Check. A++

But Ho No.....banana bread to the rest of the universe is simply banana cake. Eat your banana bread up Rosie. You're alone.  

So here I am I am.....with a Banana Bread recipe called Starbucks Banana Walnut Cake .....oops...Bread.  

Okay...I'll admit ...it's little bit denser than my banana cake, firmer perhaps, cuts more neatly, is more domed and uses oil instead of butter (but hey...a carrot CAKE uses oil too) and it's got stuff on top of it but is just as sweet, moist and delicious. 

This . just .  cannot . be . for breakfast. I forbid it! Banana 'Bread' indeed! Hmmmph!

The recipe ~ adapted from food.com.

I tweaked it a little by adding the zest and juice of an orange and instead of bananas I had used plantains. Because that was what I had darkening in the refrigerator. 

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/8 cup sugar  (you could reduce this to 1 cup)
1/2 cup vegetable oil 
2 T buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I omitted) and used instead the 
Zest of 1 orange and juice of half an orange
3 large ripe bananas or 1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Some rolled oat to top the cake with

Grease and flour a loaf tin measuring 9x5x3 inches. Pre heat oven to 350 F.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Keep aside.

Beat egg, sugar and oil in another bowl until pale and well combined. Add flour mixture to egg/oil mixture and mix well, adding buttermilk as you go along and then the mashed bananas. Add in teh 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. Combine.

Pour batter into the prepared loaf tin. level out and scatter 1/3 chopped walnuts and then some rolled oats over the top.

Bake for 50 - 60 mintes or until skewer inserted in teh centre comes out clean. If the top gets too brown before its done tent it with a piece of foil.


pam said...

It's a good thing we have inquiring minds like yours to try and help us solve these perplexing delimas.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Banana Bread/Cake! The denser, the better! This looks absolutely scrumptious and hope to bake it sometime soon cos hubby loves it too. It's a gorgeous bread/cake, Zurin! Wish I could have a slice (or two) of that with my coffee this morning. :)


Unknown said...

Thanks for the post. We will make sure all of our followers see this delicious recipe. We post all walnut love to walnutlovers.com. This will be great, our followers will very much appreciate it.

La Table De Nana said...

It's one of my faves too..Thanks for yours and as always pretty pics...

Torviewtoronto said...

looks lovely
delicious combination

pigpigscorner said...

Oh I don't mind either, love both!

Federica Simoni said...

splendide foto e ricetta..domani passo a colazione allora!!:-)))

Linda said...

Zurin that is a gorgeous banana bread/cake. I guess becasue the banana bread falls into the "Quick Bread" category..we call it a bread.
Always in a loaf pan. I have made banana cakes that are somewhat lighter...but no mind...this looks like a grand recipe. I have some bananas languishing on the counter...almost ready to become a banana bread...
Thanks for a lovely recipe!

Ravenous Rowie said...

That recipe sounds delicious! Love how moist the bread looks!

Yin said...

The bread looks so moist and delicious. Nice shot.

Ropas Ninos said...

The banana bread looks sooo yummy! I have a question and i hope it's not silly! What is buttermilk? Can i buy it at the hypermarts?

WendyinKK said...

Oh-hohohoho, I posted a real banana bread today, from Jamie Oliver. Such coincidence.
I love banana cake anytime, but I loathe those made with flavourings, makes me want to puke.

Zurin said...

ROpas ninos, yes u can get buttermilk at the supermarket but only certain ones like cold storage. If you cant find it dont bother...just use regular milk. tq for dropping by :)

Zurin said...

We Love,

tq so much. Im glad you liked the recipe. I looked at ur site and its wonderful ! :)

busygran said...

I love your banana bread. I would slather butter on it and it would be heavenly for me!

Cherine said...

A wonderful banana bread/cake!

Elin Chia said...

Zurin .... I just hop over from Wendy's banana bread and look what we have here...banana cake or banana bread hahaha whatever term we may named it but yours look good. I will try this too....you know Zurin , your pixs are so well taken that I am salivating over your banana cake or banana bread now :)))

Sarah-Jane - SiliconeMoulds.com said...

oohhh - I do like banana bread. I used to make it quite a lot using my Grandmother's recipe. It freezes well too whole or in slices.

Haven't made it in a long time. I'll need to get the recipe our so we can compare differences.

Yummy !

Luciana said...

This cake is delicious...very inviting!!! congratulations :)

Deeba PAB said...

ROFL...love the banana bread banter =FUN!! I love your pictures. The bread, cake whatever looks fabulous! This is a gorgeous post Zurin! xo

terri@adailyobsession said...

i just had two slices of lovely banana bread a couple of days ago, and like you, was wondering why it was called bread n not cake. one of those things. hey what camera are you using ah. you practising for your upcoming cookbook?

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Banana Cake/Bread, whatever, I love it and yours look divine! I am glad this does not look 'bready' - I have always felt that bananas should go with a texture that is more buttery and dense. This just suits me swell!

Clare @ Mrs Multitasker said...

Zurin your pictures are just beautiful! And yes such a great question haha! I've often wondered about the difference myself...


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