Filled with sweet bananas and crunchy nuts, this banana loaf cake is so moist and delicious. A quick and easy banana bread recipe!
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Ok, ok, I know I’m a little late to the game with this recipe, what with everyone making banana bread during lockdown!
However, I wanted to take my time and perfect my own, and here it is! This super moist banana loaf cake is so comforting and moreish. With a touch of cinnamon and the crunch of finely chopped pecans, it has all the flavour of classic banana bread. Plus, it comes together in a few easy steps!
What’s the difference between banana loaf cake and banana bread?
I’ll be honest, I’ve always used the terms ‘banana loaf’ and ‘banana bread’ interchangeably, not thinking there was a difference between the two. After doing some research, I believe it has something to do with the overall texture of the bake. Banana bread is thought to be denser and some recipes contain yeast for leavening. A banana loaf, however, is lighter and more cake-like. So, I’ve decided to make its official name ‘banana loaf cake’ but will still probably call it banana bread too! Such a rebel, me.
Banana loaf cake ingredients
I’ve tried to keep this easy banana loaf cake recipe as simple as possible with common ingredients. Full measurements can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but to summarise:
- Plain flour for the loaf’s main structure
- Bicarbonate of soda reacts with the acidic ingredients to help the loaf cake rise
- Salt to balance the flavours
- Cinnamon is optional but I love the hint of cinnamon with the sweet banana flavour!
- Light brown sugar brings both sweetness and extra moisture to this loaf cake
- Butter gives lovely buttery flavour. Plus, when beaten with the sugar, helps to create a more fluffy cake
- Eggs for structure
- Overripe bananas super spotty bananas give this cake that amazingly sweet banana flavour!
- Milk to help make the cake light yet moist. I recommend buttermilk for the moistest cake, but any milk is fine
- Vanilla for added flavour
- Nuts are optional but I love adding some finely chopped pecans. You could add walnuts or any other nuts instead. They give a great crunchy texture to compliment the soft, moist loaf!
P.S. Don’t forget to make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature! This really helps them to incorporate so much better, giving you the best possible banana loaf cake.
How to make this easy banana loaf cake
Full instructions with step-by-step photos can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but to summarise:
- Preheat your oven to 160°C/140°C fan and prepare a 2lb/1kg loaf tin by either lining it with baking/parchment paper or spraying with non-stick baking pan spray
- Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer with a large mixing bowl and beater/paddle attachments, beat the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy
- Add the eggs and beat to combine
- Add the mashed bananas, milk and vanilla and beat to combine
- Add half the dry ingredients and beat on low speed to combine, then repeat with the final half of dry ingredients
- Add the chopped nuts and beat on low to combine
- Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf tin and bake on the lowest shelf of the oven for around an hour
- Leave to cool on a wire rack!
Tips for making the best banana loaf cake
- Be sure to use overripe bananas! You know, those spotty, soft bananas that really don’t look appetising anymore? They are perfect for using up in this banana loaf cake!
- Avoid overmixing the cake mixture. The more you beat the ingredients together (especially once the dry ingredients are added) the more dense, tough and chewy it will become. For a lighter, fluffier cake, mix the ingredients until just combined
- Loaf cakes can be a little trickier to bake all the way through, or at least to bake them through without burning the outside! Use a cake skewer or cocktail stick and insert it into the tallest, central part of the cake when you think it’s done – it should come out clean. If it has any wet mixture on it, place the loaf tin back in the oven for five more minutes before checking again
- To avoid a burned cake while waiting for it to bake through, place a sheet of foil loosely over the top of the cake after around 35-40 minutes. This will protect the top while still allowing it to finish baking through!
- Don’t like nuts? No worries! You can leave them out completely or swap them for the same amount of other add-ins like chocolate chips or raisins!
Banana loaf cake FAQs
Can I use underripe bananas for banana bread or cake?
I definitely wouldn’t recommend using underripe bananas in this recipe, mainly because you won’t get much banana flavour at all! That sweet banana flavour develops as the banana ripens, so I try to use my spottiest bananas to get the best flavour.
Top tip for leftover overripe bananas – if you don’t want to bake with them right away, simply freeze them whole in their skins. Then you can simply defrost them in short increments in the microwave or leave them to defrost on your counter on the day you want to bake with them. I always have some ugly bananas floating around in my freezer!
How can I quickly ripen bananas?
If you only have underripe, yellow bananas but are itching to bake with them, try this trick! Place the whole, unpeeled bananas on a tray lined with foil. Bake them in the oven at around 180°C/160°C fan for around 20 minutes until the skins turn pure black and shiny. Leave them to cool and then scoop the soft bananas from their skins. This process helps to speed up the ripening process and sweeten them, making them perfect to bake with!
Why is my banana loaf cake soggy and uncooked in the middle?
This is a common issue when baking loaf cakes. This could be down to using too much mashed banana or other liquid, not enough flour, or from underbaking the loaf cake.
Make sure your oven temperature is correct by using an oven thermometer. They’re cheap and a must for bakers, as oven temperature differences can cause big issues in baking!
As advised above, you can ensure it’s baked through in the centre by inserting a cake skewer or cocktail stick into the tallest central part and checking it comes out clean. Try the foil trick mentioned above too to ensure it bakes through without burning!
How to store banana bread or cake
This banana loaf cake is best stored in an airtight container at room temperature. There’s no need to keep it in the fridge and in fact, the fridge will dry the cake out quicker so room temperature is best!
How long does banana bread or cake keep for?
I find that the flavour intensifies the day after baking so that’s when it’s at its best! However, this cake should keep well for around five days when stored correctly.
Can I freeze banana bread or cake?
Yes! Simply double wrap it in film and store in an airtight container. It should keep well in the freezer for around 3-4 months.
To summarise, this banana loaf cake is:
- light and moist
- full of natural sweet banana flavour
- filled with deliciously crunchy chopped pecans
- quick and simple to make
- great for freezing!
If you try this recipe I’d love to see! You can show me by tagging me @bakerjoblog or using #bakerjoblog!
Other loaf cake recipes to try:
Other banana recipes to try:
Banana Loaf Cake
- 2lb/1kg loaf tin
- Stand or hand mixer with beater/paddle attachment
- Medium mixing bowl
- 200 g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda level
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon level
- 1/4 tsp salt level
- 130 g light brown sugar
- 90 g unsalted butter softened/room temperature
- 2 medium eggs room temperature
- 190 g bananas, mashed around 2 medium bananas (whole, unpeeled weight)
- 120 ml buttermilk room temperature, any other milk is fine too!
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 80 g pecans finely chopped
- Add the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon to a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- Add the softened butter and light brown sugar to the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl if using a hand mixer. Attach the paddle or beater attachments and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for around 30 seconds until combined. It might look at a little curdled at this stage but that's ok!
- Add the milk, vanilla and mashed bananas and beat on medium speed again for around 30 seconds to combine. It will still look a little lumpy.
- Add half the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined. Repeat with the remaining half of dry ingredients.
- Add the finely chopped pecans (or alternative nuts/add ins) and beat on low until just combined.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf tin and level the top. Bake on the lowest shelf of your preheated oven for around an hour. Mine took 1 hour 5 minutes, but it will vary based on the shape of your loaf pan so start checking from around 55 minutes. Do this by inserting a cake skewer or cocktail stick into the centre of the loaf cake; it should come out clean. If not, place it back in the oven for 5 more minutes before checking again.To avoid burning the top of your loaf cake, add a loose sheet of foil over the top from around 35-40 minutes into baking!
- Once baked, place on a wire rack to cool for around 15 minutes, then remove the loaf cake and place it back on the wire rack to finish cooling.
- This cake should keep well for 4-5 days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature.