Recipe

Banana Bread loaf with My Ma-Ma's banana bread, easy one bowl recipe title
My Ma-Ma's Banana Bread recipe was passed from my grandma to my mum and now to me.

My Ma-Ma’s Banana Bread Recipe (vegan option)

My go-to easy one bowl vegan banana bread recipe. Customisable with lots of add-in options and always healthy enough to justify baking one every time you find over ripe bananas in the fruit bowl.

Literally as I write this, I’m thinking why does the world need more banana bread recipes? Well because banana bread is just such an easy snack to make especially for first time cooks or when cooking with kids. Everyone should try to bake banana bread at least once in their lives because it is simple, nutritious and the perfect school or afternoon tea snack!

Keys to a good banana bread recipe:

one bowl

– adaptable

– kids like it

– healthy

– Me.

This banana bread is very customisable and you can add items to increase or decrease its health status and taste quality as you see fit. It also uses up over ripe bananas and here in Hong Kong, pretty much all my bananas turn overripe within a few days. I then throw them in the freezer and that means I lose precious freezer real estate and this signals the “banana bread rescue-my-freezer alert”. If you bake sourdough, there are recipes that incorporate the discard too. I’ll post an adaptation of this recipe for that some day too. But for now I want to share this recipe that was originally from my grandmother, whom we affectionately called ‘Ma-Ma’, a term I invented as a baby and it just stuck. Now my kids call my own mum Ma-Ma and it has become our family’s term for grandma.

Vegetarian Banana and blueberry bread
Banana and blueberry bread with a crunchy top

The original recipe for this was always titled ‘Ma-Ma’s Midnight Cafe Banana Cake’ as it was a recipe she used when she owned a cafe in Malaysia. Since then, my mum has passed on this recipe to myself but she simplifed the recipe even further by creaming the sugar and oil with a whisk and avoiding the need for a mixer.

Now passed onto myself, I have ‘hippy-fied’ the recipe further by swapping in whole wheat flour and removed the need for eggs by substituing chia seeds as an egg replacer. With all the changes, this banana bread still holds it’s own and is a very forgiving and reliable recipe. I have used blueberries in today’s recipe but traditionally one should add chopped walnuts. Since schools are nut-free I tend to skip the nuts and add a handful of chopped chocolate or even dessicated coconut for a tropical feel instead. I have been luxurious and used frozen raspberries too. It all works.

What I do highly recommend is the sprinkling of a little raw brown sugar on the top for that added crunch in each slice. Mr R says that this is his favourite part of the banana bread.

We reheat the slices in the morning in the oven or I have been known to pop thick slices into the regular toaster and toast them up so we can enjoy them warm with a little butter for breakfast. Perhaps avoid this technique if the banana bread has chocolate though.

To adapt the recipe from a loaf to muffins, just line a 12 cup muffin tray and fill with the batter to 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes. These make a great snack for the lunchbox.

This recipe also freezes really well, slice it up first and then place in a freezer or silicon storage bag. Then you simply need to microwave the frozen slices in 30 second bursts at medium-high until it is warmed through.

Banana bread with blueberries
My Ma-Ma’s Banana Bread recipe was passed from my grandma to my mum and now to me.

A few tips and words of advice

This recipe is less ‘fluffy cake with an even crumb’ and more akin to a rich fudgy brownie in texture. Do not expect a highly risen cake like those pre-packaged ones at the cafes. This is far better, nuanced and more of a rustic and nutritious loaf. You do need to test with a skewer for doneness and do not be afraid to wait for longer to ensure it bakes through. Each type I bake it, the moisture content varies a little with the state of the bananas that I use so sometimes it needs to stay in the oven for a little longer, which is worth it anyway for the extra crunchy and caramelised topping.

ABOUT BANANAS:

I usually use up to three blackened and sad bananas in this recipe. From the freezer, I need to defrost them, sometimes even running them under water. If I am truly honest, I have been known to mash them inside in the same bowl as the batter to avoid cleaning an extra bowl. I tell you I am pretty lazy sometimes. If the bananas are as black as they could get before they look dangerously close to fermenting, then I will skimp on the amount of sugar too as the sweetness of the cake will be more than sufficiently provided for by the bananas.

ABOUT CHOCOLATE AND OTHER ADD INS:

If you choose (and I don’t blame you) to add chocolate pieces, I like to roughly chop up a dark chocolate bar so there are nice chunks distributed throughout the scone and occasional melted puddle of oozy chocolate. I usually stick to a 75% dark chocolate bar but of course, any chocolate buttons or chips could be used. Try interesting chocolate bar flavours like dark chocolate and sea salt or cacoa nibs for some interest too. If you are vegan then make sure to get vegan chocolate.

Other ingredient suggestions for adding in:

  • Blueberries or other berries, use frozen is fine
  • Chopped nuts, especially walnuts or pecans
  • Flaxseeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Rolled oats
  • Sesame seeds (looks like poppy seeds!)
  • Desiccated coconut
Banana and blueberry bread (vegan option)

So onto the recipe itself.

How to make Banana Bread

Ingredients

Gather your ingredients

Wet ingredients

  • 2 eggs (or 2 tbsp chia seed + 6 tbsp water)
  • 3/4 cup (145g) olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup (203g) whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup (100g) sugar (I used light brown sugar. Coconut sugar or simple castor sugar is also ok)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Add-ins

  • 3 very over-ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 banana (optional for topping)
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar (optional for topping)
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds (optional for topping)

Other equipment

Instructions

The Methodology of Banana Bread

1) Mix the wet together

2) Fold in the dry

3) Then finally add the bananas

– Me
  1. Preheat fan-forced oven 170C
  2. Whisk eggs (or chia seed egg-replacer) with sugar until creamy and well mixed.
  1. While still whisking, add oil in stream then the vanilla and continue whisking to emulsify the liquids.
  1. Add in the dry ingredients and gradually fold with a spatula. Do not overmix. A few spots of flour is ok.
  1. Fold in the mashed bananas and the blueberries.
  1. Pour into a lined loaf pan.
  2. Optional: Decorate the top with a banana sliced in half lengthwise. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and sugar.
  1. Bake in oven for 45-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  2. Cool on a wire rack.
  3. Serve in slices while still warm with a big mug of hot tea.

Notes

  • Feel free to experiment and swap out the blueberries for other goodies such as chopped chocolate chunks, walnuts or raisins. To be honest, you can add as much or as little as the dough will handle.
  • It is nice to sprinkle the top with some raw or demerara sugar to give them a nice crispy topping.
  • Vegan egg-replacer option: I have also had success using aquafaba. Froth up 3 tablespoons of aquafaba per egg (i.e. 6 tablespoons in total for this recipe)
  • Best enjoyed freshly baked. Store leftovers in an air tight container.
  • Can be frozen, slice then freeze. Reheat in the microwave.
  • For muffins, scoop batter into a lined 12 cup muffin tray and bake 20-25 minutes.

Recipe

Banana Bread loaf with My Ma-Ma's banana bread, easy one bowl recipe title
My Ma-Ma’s Banana Bread recipe was passed from my grandma to my mum and now to me.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My Ma-Ma's Banana Bread

  • Servings: 10-12 slices
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

An easy one bowl recipe for banana bread to use up those over ripe bananas in the fruit bowl. They are a great way to The recipe can be customised to whatever add-ins you have in your pantry including blueberries, chocolate or nuts.

  • Swap out the add-ins for other flavours such as chocolate, nuts, dried fruits or desiccated coconut.
  • Do not overmix the batter. Some spots of flour are ok.
  • Vegan options for the egg-replacer: chia seed egg (2 tbsp + 3 tbsp water per egg) or aquafaba (3 tbsp frothed up chickpea can liquid per egg).
  • To make this recipe into muffins: scoop batter into a lined 12 muffin tin tray and bake 20 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs (or 2 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 6 tbsp water til a gel forms)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup wholewheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 over ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • extra banana (optional topping)
  • raw/demarara sugar (optional topping)
  • 1 tbsp raw sunflower seeds (optional topping)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 170C fan-forced.
  2. Whisk eggs (or egg-replacer) with sugar til creamy and frothy
  3. Pour the oil in a stream while continuing to whisk. Then add the vanilla and continue to whisk.
  4. Fold in the dry ingredients with a spatula.
  5. Add the mashed bananas and blueberries. Fold through the batter.
  6. Pour into a lined loaf pan.
  7. (Optional) Decorate the top with the extra banana halved lengthwise. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and sugar.
  8. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
  9. Cool banana bread on a wire rack.
  10. Best enjoyed fresh on the same day.

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