Espresso Banana Bread


As a baker, I try not to get too hung up on the same recipes (even though I have my favorites that I make on repeat). When you have something as classic as banana bread, it’s so much fun to revisit it in creative ways. While so much of my baking inspiration comes from traveling, eating out, and seeing what my friends are making, with the social distance order in place, all of those outlets are sort of suspended. So, I’m using a different approach that’s basically based on my own food preferences. My “creative process” if you will, is considering the base of the recipe and then applying new flavors, textures, etc. to it to make it something new that I personally would love. Whether it be the base of a cookie, cake, or today, banana bread, I think up flavors that 1) I love in general and then 2) Would be good with the bake in question.

A few flavors that I love in general:

  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Caramel
  • Vanilla
  • Nuts
  • Tangy cream cheese
  • Coffee

Then applying these flavors through a banana bread lens.

And finally that brings me to coffee. While banana coffee cakes are very popular, or any sort of banana bread with a streusel type topping is, actual coffee mixed in is less so. That thought was so exciting to me and I went straight to the kitchen to test things. Since I’m married to a French guy, we’re a purely espresso household. And so espresso banana bread is born.

It’s so good!! The coffee is subtle but present and detectable (omit the granules and just use the actual espresso if you’re not into coffee) and it gives the cake a caramel-y flavor that’s to die for. I swear, you’ll love this. It’s moist, full of flavor, and easy as can be. Also, I think decades of banana bread consumption has trained me to really appreciate the little flecks of banana in bakes that incorporate them. It somehow feels more authentically banana. This recipe has that, in addition to a nice deep golden hue that the espresso gives, making it very bakery-esque. Enjoy!

Espresso Banana Bread

  • 3 bananas, overly ripe (medium or large)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream (or crème fraiche or plain yogurt)
  • 2 oz. espresso shot (a double shot) or very strong coffee
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso granules (or 2 tsp. instant coffee granules)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (co)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas until smooth. Whisk in the egg, sour cream, espresso shot, and vanilla.Stir in the instant espresso granules. Whisk in the oil and then the sugar until smooth. Gently fold in the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring until combined.

  3. Pour the lumpy (it’s fine) batter into prepared pan.

  4. Bake for 55 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from Food52.


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