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Banana bread

This fragrant, gently spiced tea bread is a true pick-me-up perfect for ravenous children returning from school, or anyone in need of cheering up. Bananas become much sweeter and more deliciously scented as they mature, so make sure the ones you use are well ripened. They will be much easier to mash too. Serve this tea bread thickly sliced - just as it is or with butter. After a few days, it's best lightly toasted and buttered.


Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.

Sift the flour, salt and ground cardamom into a large mixing bowl.

Add the butter and rub in, with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles medium breadcrumbs.

Add the muscovado sugar and raisins and mix lightly until well distributed. Make a well in the centre.

In another bowl, mash the bananas to a soft and slightly lumpy purée. Add the egg and blend together, then pour into the well in the dry ingredients.

Mix together with a wooden spoon and then beat until the mixture is thoroughly combined and has a soft dropping consistency.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, levelling it out with the back of the spoon.

Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top. Bake for about 45 minutes until well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

This cake will keep for 5 days in an airtight tin and freezes superbly.


Replace the raisins with dates or walnuts

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  • 250g self-raising flour
  • Good pinch of sea salt
  • 1½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 100g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 125g light muscovado sugar
  • 100g raisins
  • 2 ripe bananas (about 250g, peeled weight)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Cakes Handbook

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