This banana bread is a total fruitcake in disguise.
Yes there is a smashed, overripe banana in it, but I also packed it with dried cranberries, and chopped pecans. And the lemon glaze I poured all over the top adds a perfect sweet-sour flavor.
You’ll love how rich and moist it is, but not too sweet. It’s dense too and reminds me of a protein energy bar.
Here’s a side view of a half-slice of the banana bread:
Most sweet-bread and pound cake recipes, including banana bread, use the butter-creaming method, but let’s make it childishly simple in this version, cool?
You don’t need no stand or electric mixer. Just a saucepan and a wooden spoon.
Here’s the banana bread batter prep in 6 easy steps:
- You’ll combine the butter, sugar, cranberries, spices, and water in a saucepan, and heat it up.
- It only takes 5 minutes for everything to melt, infuse and combine.
- You’ll add smashed banana, lightly beaten egg and chopped pecans to the cranberry mixture.
- Stir to mix.
- Sift in the flour, baking soda and baking powder.
- Mix and voilà: Your banana bread batter is ready!
Now you can pour the batter into a prepared baking pan. I love my Pullman loaf pan because it’s narrow and has straight sides.
But any bread pan will do. Just make sure to spray it, and line it with a piece of parchment paper to lift it easily after it’s baked.
How will you know your banana bread is ready? Use a knife or a cake tester:
At this point, your banana bread is done. Just set it on a wire rack to let it cool.
It tastes great just like that. Sliced, slightly warm, and either plain or smeared with butter or cream cheese.
If you really love bananas, you can smash one and spread it on the slice for an extra banana-on-banana flavor!
Want to elevate the banana bread? Make a quick lemon glaze, and pour it all over the top:
This banana bread is a satisfying, decadent snack. Have it with your mid-afternoon cup of coffee or a glass of cold milk.
Keep the oven on and try other delicious recipes:
Another bread, but gluten-free, paleo and keto, using almond butter: Paleo Almond Butter Bread
Another way to use ripe bananas: Chocolate Banana Paleo Cake
Love lemon glaze? Try my grandma’s gingerbread: Gingerbread With Lemon Glaze
Love banana bread? What’s your favorite version? Are you Team Pecan or Team Walnut?
Tell me in the comments.Print
Dense and moist banana bread made with dried cranberries, pecans and topped with a lemon glaze.
- 1 cup (135 g) brown sugar
- 2 cups (200 g) dried cranberries
- ¾ cup (180 ml) water
- 4 tablespoons (60 g) unsalted cold butter, cut into ½-inch (2 cm) cubes
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 very ripe banana
- ¾ cup (70 g) chopped pecans
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1½ cups (200 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Lemon glaze (optional)
- 1¼ cup (120 g) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Combine the brown sugar, cranberries, water, butter, cinnamon, salt, vanilla extract, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan.
- Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and butter dissolve. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, then pour into a large bowl, and let cool for minimum 20 minutes. (You can do this step 1 day ahead and store the mixture, covered, in the refrigerator).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Position an oven rack in the middle.
- Lightly grease or spray a loaf or bread pan (see Notes for size info) with butter or neutral oil. Line it with a piece of parchment paper, making sure it hangs about 2”/5 cm above the edge of the pan. (This helps with lifting the bread out after baking).
- Mash the banana with a fork in a small bowl, or on a cutting board, and add it to the cranberry mixture. Add the pecans and egg. Stir to combine.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda into the bowl with the cranberry-banana mixture. Mix until combined and there’s no flour visible, but be careful not to over-mix.
- Transfer the batter into the bread pan, smooth the top. Bake in the oven until golden brown and a cake tester or a small knife inserted in the middle, comes out clean, about 50–60 minutes. (Baking time will depend on the size of your baking pan—for bread & loaf pans, start testing 45 minutes into baking).
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the bread from the pan, set on a wire rack, and let cool completely. Slice and serve.
- To make the lemon glaze, sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl, add the lemon juice, and whisk vigorously with a whisk or spoon, until smooth and glossy, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the glaze evenly over the top of the cooled bread, letting it come down the sides. Let the glaze firm up, then slice and serve.
- Store the bread, covered, in a cool, dry space for up to 3 days. You can freeze the unglazed bread, sliced or whole, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months.
1. Here are the different baking pans you can use to make this Banana bread:
- Pullman loaf pan: 9 x 4 x 4″ (that’s what I used to make and photograph this recipe) – the bread will be higher with straight sides.
- Bread pan: 9.25 x 5.25 x 2.75″ – the bread will be wider and lower
- Mini loaf pan: 5.75 x 3 x 2″ – in the past, I used 3 mini loaf pans (each filled two-thirds up the pan). The baking time will be shorter—start testing 20 minutes into baking. These make great gifts.
- Muffin tins: medium size – fill each two-thirds up the tin. The baking time will be shorter—start testing 20 minutes into baking.
2. Other nuts you can use: walnuts or pistachios.
3. Other dried fruit you can use: raisins, cherries, blueberries, currants.