I am bananas for banana bread. The gooey texture, sweet taste, and complete satisfaction you get from baking a fresh loaf always makes me feel completely fulfilled.
If you enjoy banana bread as much as I do, and if you relish coffee as much as I do, then you’ll absolutely love this recipe.
This recipe is the perfect balance between the delicious moreishness of banana bread and the lovely buzz of a fresh cup of joe all combined into one. It’s the perfect recipe for a mid-morning snack or can even make a decadent breakfast.
If you’re ready to get baking this fantastic treat then grab your apron, get that wooden spoon in hand and let’s get started!
We will cover the essential ingredients first and why they are so important and then I’ll dive straight into how to bake this espresso banana bread.
The key player in this recipe is the fiery twist that only coffee can bring. The banana bread is very rich and sweet so you need a very strong coffee to balance this out. A double shot of espresso is ideal but you can increase or decrease this to suit your taste preferences.
Choose an extra-strong, dark roast, and ideally one that’s rich in berry, caramel, and chocolate notes.
The best way to make espresso is using an espresso machine but if you don’t have one of these then a Moka pot or AeroPress is an ideal choice as a runner-up. Alternatively, you can use a Turkish coffee pot or even just brew a very strong coffee in your french press.
You should brew the coffee first and sit it to one side so that it cools before it’s added to the batter. If the coffee is hot when added it can react with the eggs and even scramble them which is not ideal!
The flour you use when baking a cake has a surprisingly large impact on the end results. To get a light and fluffy texture you need to use a finely milled cake flour. Cake flour is perfectly balanced with the correct amount of protein to give you that beautiful texture.
Cake flours are often bleached with chlorine which helps give a slower rise time and a lighter, fluffier end result.
If you don’t have cake flour to hand then a good quality all-purpose flour will work nicely.
The fat you use when baking a cake helps give it that richness and if you skimp out here you will taste it in the end result. A poor quality butter substitute will leave the cake just somewhat lacking.
I would recommend using unsalted butter when it comes to baking as this tends to be fresher and allows you to control the salt content easier. If you only have salted butter to hand then leave out the salt that this recipe calls for.
A grass-fed, organic butter is the ideal choice.
You want the butter to be soft, not melted, so it’s a good idea to get it out of the fridge an hour or two before the cooking process. Alternatively, you can soften it in the microwave in ten-second bursts, keeping a close eye on it.
Caster sugar is the perfect choice for baking cakes due to its finer grain size. The particles dissolve quickly when the sugar is creamed with the butter which affects the resultant texture of the batter.
Golden caster sugar is an ideal choice as this gives extra richness to the cake and goes well with the banana and coffee flavors.
If you don’t have caster sugar to hand then a soft, light brown sugar is a good second choice. Granulated sugar will do the job but it can leave a gritty texture in the cake which can be quite unpleasant.
For this recipe, you want 2 medium-sized eggs. The fresher these are, the better. Free-range is best and if you can source these eggs from a farm shop or local farmers market then your cake game will improve significantly.
With every good banana bread recipe, you need lovely ripe bananas. They need to be almost at the inedible stage ie lots of brown spots. The riper the banana, the more sugars are released in the fruit and the richer and sweeter they are. This adds a thick and intense banana flavor to the cake that you simply can’t get from under-ripe bananas.
A good rule of thumb is that the bananas should be a dark yellow color with plenty of brown spots. They should mash easily with a fork to form a creamy paste. This recipe calls for 4 ripe bananas to be added to the batter but I like to add an extra one on top of the cake to give a lovely presentation.
Buttermilk is a common ingredient for home bakers and is found in recipes for pancakes, waffles, and other types of cake. If you don’t have buttermilk to hand you can use whole milk (or any other form of dairy milk you have to hand) and add 1 ½ teaspoons of lemon juice or white wine vinegar to it.
Another good substitute is plain or greek yogurt which can be used in place of buttermilk.
Ok, so now we have a good understanding of all the important ingredients let’s dive straight in and get baking banana bread!
Espresso Banana Bread Recipe (A Family Recipe)
- A 2lb Loaf Tin (or 20×12.5cm or 8×5 inch)
- Greaseproof Paper / Parchment Paper / Cake Liner (plus butter to grease it)
- An espresso machine, Moka pot, or Aeropress (anything that'll brew strong coffee)
- 2 Mixing Bowls (one for the wet and one for the dry ingredients)
- A Wooden Spoon for mixing (or, if you prefer, you can use a hand mixer or stand mixer)
- 285  grams [Oz] Plain Flour
- 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 110  grams [Oz] Butter (plus extra for greasing)
- 225  grams [Oz] Caster sugar
- 2 Free-Range Eggs
- 4 Ripe Bananas
- 85  ml [fl Oz] Buttermilk (or normal milk mixed with 1.5 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar or plain yogurt)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 shots Espresso
- Dark Chocolate Chips (around 300g or as many or few as you like!)
- Before you get stuck in and start making your batter you need to be sure everything is ready. Pre-heat your oven to 350F (that’s 180C) or gas mark 4.It’s best to prepare the coffee first so that it has time to cool before you add it to the batter.Next, you’ll want to grease your loaf tin or line it with greaseproof paper.Once you have all this ready, your equipment out, and the ingredients all lined up, we are finally ready to start making this cake.
- Sift the flour, bicarbonate, and salt into a mixing bowl and set to one side.
- In the second mixing bowl (or stand mixer bowl if using), cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (a hand mixer works well for this or you can use a fork)
- Crack the eggs into a small bowl or mug so that you can catch any eggshell that makes its way into the mix.
- In a separate small bowl, mash the bananas up using a fork, spoon or potato masher.
- Add the eggs and bananas to the butter-sugar mix alongside the buttermilk, coffee, and vanilla extract.
- Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
- You want to use a wooden spoon now to gently fold the flour into the batter, a small amount at a time until it’s all well combined and the batter is smooth.
- Add your chocolate chips to the batter and mix.
- Transfer the batter to your cake tin and you can top this off with a banana that’s been sliced lengthways or just leave the top plain, whichever method you prefer.
- Place the tin in the oven and bake for 1 hour or until it is well risen and the top is a dark, golden brown.
- To test if the cake is cooked through, insert a wooden tooth pick or knife into the cake and if it comes out clean then the cake is done. If it comes out covered in batter then the cake needs a bit longer.
- Once the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before transferring it onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Top Tip – Don’t open the oven door too often during the baking process as the changes in temperature can affect the rising of the cake and if the temperature drops too low the cake can end up collapsing!
Banana bread is always a winner, whether it’s a mid-morning snack or baked ready to impress your friends at a dinner party, it always goes down well. This recipe combines the smooth sweet flavors of the banana bread with the intense buzz of an espresso coffee.
Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think in the comments below!