The Very Best Banana Bread And No Refined Sugar Version!

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Best Banana Bread Healthy No Sugar

There are millions of banana bread recipes but I promise that you only need this one. It's great to serve for breakfast and this recipe makes 8 generously portioned slices. It is also delicious toasted as well.

Best Banana Bread Healthy No Sugar

Make your banana bread healthier: Replace a quarter of the total flour with wholemeal flour. You can't really taste the difference at that level. But just remember wholemeal flour results in a drier texture in baked goods than white flour so if you're going for moistness and longevity use white flour. You can also replace the sugar with date puree. See this refined sugar free banana bread recipe!

What is Cake Flour? Cake flour is a softer, finely ground wheat flour with a low protein content. Protein (in this case gluten) is not desirable in cakes as it can make them tough if you overwork the batter. Normally you can buy it from the supermarket (outside of COVID-19 times!). To make 1 cup of your own cake flour you just replace 2 tablespoons of plain all purpose flour with cornflour or fine cornstarch.

Best Banana Bread Healthy No Sugar

Bananas after 3 days - left in a ziplock and right uncovered in fruit basket

How to Store your Bananas to keep them fresh - A REVELATION! Okay I've been testing something crazy lately and it goes against what people have been saying. To keep your bananas from getting riper, place them in a plastic ziplock bag. I did some experimentation to hasten up the ripening, putting them in a ziplock, brown paper bag or fruit bowl and check out the pic! The bananas in the ziplock are firm and yellow while the spotted bananas were just in the fruit bowl. Seriously, mind blown. Try it!

Best Banana Bread Healthy No Sugar

After 6 days (left ziplock, right fruit basket)

Use very ripe bananas: Having said that, we want super ripe bananas for banana bread. The riper the banana, the sweeter it is and the more antioxidants it has. To make a banana ripen faster place it in a brown paper bag and seal it shut and the ethylene gas produced will ripen it quickly. Alternatively, puncture a banana with a fork half a dozen times in the skin and then microwave for 30 seconds.

Best Banana Bread Healthy No Sugar

How many bananas will you need? I used 330g/11.6ozs, of bananas which when peeled, made 3/4 cup of mashed banana.

Banana Bread Baking tin: This cake can only be baked in a metal or silicon tin, not glass as it goes from the oven to the freezer and glass may break with the super quick drop in temperature. I used a 19.5cm x 10cm x 11cm or 7.6 x 3.9 x 4.3 inch loaf tin.

Why this super low oven temperature? This allows for more even baking of the cake. That means the outside isn't dry and the cake has a consistent texture throughout. If you saw my top 40 baking tips I usually bake my cakes quite low.

Freezing the banana bread? Yes it sounds strange but freezing it after baking it traps the steam inside the cake to keep the moisture in. Yes it sounds crazy but I swear it works! If you don't have room in your freezer you can skip this step but if you do have room try it. I wrap it twice in a tea towel to prevent the hot tin from defrosting other food in the freezer.

Too many bananas? Skin them and place them in a container or zip lock bag in the freezer. They'll come out super soft and perfect for banana bread!

Frost or not to frost? Banana bread is usually uniced but sometimes you just need icing or frosting (frosting really elevates it to banana cake IYKWIM hehe). Try this whipped cream cheese frosting, classic buttercream or sour cream frosting.

Sugar Free Banana Bread? Try this sugar free banana bread made with the goodness of dates and no refined sugar! Some people actually prefer this version to the regular one but it depends on your sweet preferences.

Low sugar frosting: But if you want to try a low sugar frosting, try soaking 8 medjool dates in a cup of hot water for 20 minutes and then draining and blending them with 200g/8.8ozs. cream cheese!

Best Banana Bread Healthy No Sugar

Spice it up! This banana bread recipe has vanilla in it but cinnamon and nutmeg also work really well too. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.

More goodness You can add nuts or dried fruit to your banana bread too. Just toss them in the flour before adding them to the mixture so that they don't sink to the bottom of the bread.

Toast it up! Pan fry or toast a slice of this-it's amazing! It has a crispy edge and a luscious, soft interior.

Serve this with: salted honey butter below!

Please note: there is no baking powder in this recipe, only bicarb.

Want more Banana Bread Recipes? Take a look at the banana bread bake off from 2008 where readers submitted their best banana breads. There are also these the Banana Bread Bake Off where I rate cookbook writers' banana breads; Caramelised Baby Banana Breads; Tahini Chocolate Banana Bread; Coffee Walnut Banana Bread; A Fat Free Banana Bread and this fabulously intriguing but delicious Curry Pineapple Banana Bread!

I tested out so many of these banana breads to come up with this post (four in total!) that I needed to make sure that I kept up with my workouts. So far I've been doing it every day since we've been isolating but the sheer deliciousness of the banana bread trials and the sedentary nature of isolation isn't a great match.

Sometimes when I exercise Mr NQN happens to be on a zoom meeting. I can't really work out around his schedule because he seems to spend about 7 hours a day in these meetings so I just do it whenever I want to. Usually it's before lunch (I have very low motivation to work out after lunch).

Best Banana Bread Healthy No Sugar

"Thanks for the soundtrack," he said dryly when he emerged from the other room after another marathon call. "It was wonderful how everyone could hear you playing Britney," he said sarcastically.

I delight at embarrassing Mr NQN at times, especially when he is being self conscious or awkward. "Tell me which song would embarrass you the most?" I asked him grinning fiendishly.

"Hanson, but don't..." he said warning.

"Mmmmbop it is tomorrow!" I said.

So tell me Dear Reader, do you often bake banana bread? Have you ever tried a cake baked at a very low temperature? And have you had any instances where both your lives have intruded on each other?

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella

The Very Best Banana Bread EVER!

Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 11 readers

Adapted from my best banana cake from Happy Hooligans

Preparation time: 15 minutes plus 45 minutes freezing time

Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

  • 3/4 cup/225g/7.9ozs. mashed bananas (330g/11.7ozs or 2 large bananas)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1.5 cups/195g/6.7ozs. cake flour*
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 85g/3ozs. soft butter
  • 3/4 cup/150g/5oz. caster or superfine sugar
  • 3/4 cup/180ml/6flozs. buttermilk**
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Salted honey butter

  • 50g/1.7ozs. butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Fat pinch of salt flakes

For every cup of cake flour, replace 2 tablespoons of plain all purpose flour with 2 tablespoons cornflour or fine cornstarch

I never have buttermilk on hand. Instead add 2 tablespoons lemon juice to milk to make up 3/4 cup of buttermilk

Best Banana Bread Healthy No Sugar

Step 1 - First clear some freezer space that will fit your loaf tin. I know this sounds crazy but it makes for an incredible texture in the end so there is a method to my madness. Line the base and sides of a loaf tin (mine is 19.5cm x 10cm x 11cm or or 7.6 x 3.9 x 4.3 inches) and preheat oven to 135C/275F (yes very low!). Mash the bananas with the lemon juice and set aside. In a jug measure the flour, bicarb and salt and whisk until combined. In another jug whisk the buttermilk with eggs and vanilla and set aside.

Best Banana Bread Healthy No Sugar

Step 2 - Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy (around 3 minutes). Add the bananas and milky egg mixture in two lots and then beat until combined. On the lowest speed or by hand add the flour mixture mixing until just combined. Scoop into the tin and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until the centre of the cake springs back when touched.

Best Banana Bread Healthy No Sugar

Step 3 - Take the bread out of the oven and wrap it in two teatowels (to protect the other food in your freezer). Place the wrapped tin directly in your freezer for 45 minutes. Remove and serve with honey butter.

Best Banana Bread Healthy No Sugar