• Buttermilk Banana Bread


Buttermilk Banana Bread

By Claire Ptak

For the first five years of Violet, I resisted adding banana bread to the menu. It always seemed to me like something you only made at home, with old bananas. I am not a huge fan of banana and, indeed, was never a huge fan of cake made from them. Eventually, however, I grew tired of telling customers we didn’t have it and set out to make a version I could be proud of. This cake is now one of the most popular items on our menu, and for good reason.

Recipe excerpted from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak.

Buttermilk Banana Bread

Servings: makes one 10x4 loaf


  • 6 very ripe bananas
  • 150g (2/3 cup) vegetable oil
  • 200g (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum
  • 2 eggs
  • 75g (1/3 cup) cultured buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 210g (1  1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar


Preheat the oven to 180°C/355°F (160°C/320°F convection). Butter a 25 by 10-cm (10 by 4-inch) loaf pan and line with parchment paper.

Reserve half a banana for the top of the cake and mash the remaining bananas well.

In a bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, vanilla, rum, eggs, and buttermilk or yogurt. Add the mashed banana and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Fold this into the banana mixture until just combined, then pour into your prepared pan. Smooth the top with an icing spatula or rubber spatula and place the reserved banana half, cut lengthwise, on top. Sprinkle with the sugar.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake has set and starts to caramelize. I sometimes use a kitchen blowtorch to help this along. Leave to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Reprinted with permission from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak, copyright ©2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Photographs copyright © 2015 by Kristin Perers.

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