One Banana Banana Bread | 1 Mini Loaf

"Choose me! Eat me! Eat me, please!!" That's the little voice of Overripe Banana, beckoning and pleading to us as we peer into the fruit bowl contemplating what fruit to pick for a snack. But after a good once over and sometimes a quick feel, sadly, we all bypass Overripe Banana and go for the younger, fresher, juicier, more good-looking fruit. C'est la vie!

So Overripe Banana continues to grow riper and blacker by the minute until finally, he's the last one left in the fruit bowl. By this time, he's in a real sorry state; his skin is completely black and his insides are as mushy as pudding. He's not going to make it. And nobody wants him other than the wispy little fruit flies flitting around lazily. 

My customary practice at this time, is to throw Overripe Banana into the bin without not so much as even a backward glance. How unceremonious and oh, so cruel! But really, what can I do with just one overripe banana?

Apparently, I can make a quick and easy one banana banana bread;  a mini banana loaf using small portions of flour, sugar, egg and 1 black banana.

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Just like in life, I had to select a perfectly yellow banana model for this photo shoot. But, in reality, use the most over-ripe banana you can find with the blackest skin. My blackened, overripe banana was too disgraceful to photograph, but made the most delicious bread.

I finally took the time to work out the proportions and test my recipe and it was brilliant. This homemade loaf is so moist and easy to make. I do feel like I'm baking for a doll, though, since a one banana banana bread turns out a real baby cake. But the little slices are sweet and charming and provide just the little sweet treat required to complement a cup of morning coffee, or afternoon tea or an any-time-of-the-day glass of milk.

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Why go through the trouble of baking such a small batch, you may ask. The fact is, it's no trouble at all. This small banana bread recipe is so easy to make. No special equipment required. No need to take out your hand held mixer or stand mixer, nor your weighing scale. Two kitchen bowls and a fork are all you need to mix up the batter in a jiffy. Quick and simple and clean up is a breeze. 

Tips and Tricks

  • Use a black banana for banana bread

The secret to a moist banana bread is to use a really overripe black banana. The blacker the better. I wait for the banana to turn completely black to use it. They are soft and very, very sweet at this point. However, you could also use overripe bananas that are mottled with brown spots and partially black.

  • Measure flour correctly

Too much flour will make the banana bread dry. So, measuring the flour correctly is important. This recipe calls for 2/3 cup flour. 

To measure the flour correctly, first spoon flour into a 2/3 cup measure along with the baking soda. Do not compress or flatten the flour. And do not shake the measure to make the flour settle. Pile the flour into the measure and then without shaking the measure, drag a knife over the top of the measure to level the flour. This process is called "spooning and leveling."

Then sift this flour into a plate. 

Now spoon the sifted flour back into the 2/3 cup measure and level out the flour again with a knife dragged over the top of the measure. You will find that you have about 2 teaspoons of flour remaining. Discard that flour.

  • Don't overmix the batter

Once you add the flour mixture to the batter, using a fork or spatula, just fold together until everything is just about combined. An over mixed batter will result in a heavier, rubbery bread as more glutens develop the more you mix the batter. For a soft banana bread, refrain from overmixing.

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Baked in a metal tin gives the banana bread the most evenly golden brown color.

Recipe for a Small Batch, One Banana Banana Bread

Servings: Bakes one 3x4 inch mini loaf, 10 slices

Time: 15 minutes prep, 40 hour cook


Dry Ingredients:

☐  2/3 cups all-purpose flour*
☐  1/4 teaspoon baking soda*
(*spoon and level 2/3 cup flour. Add the baking soda, then sift everything together. Then spoon and level the sifted flour back into the 2/3 cup measure. There will be about 2 teaspoons excess flour. Discard the excess flour)
☐  1/4 cup sugar 
☐  1/3 cup -mix of golden raisins and pecans or walnuts

Wet Ingredients:

☐  1 very ripe banana with blackened skin
☐  2 heaped teaspoons yogurt or Greek yogurt
☐  1 egg, lightly beaten
☐  4 tablespoons canola oil
☐  1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

Step-by- Step Instructions:

Step 1: Prep

Grease and lightly flour a 3x4 inch mini loaf tin. 

Pre-heat oven to 350°F and place rack in the center of oven.

Step 2: Mix wet ingredients together

In a bowl, lightly beat the egg with a fork. Then add yogurt, egg, oil and vanilla essence and beat altogether. Finally, add the banana and mash it into the mix. Then beat everything together with the fork to combine.

Step 3: Combine dry ingredients

Sift the flour and baking soda together into another large bowl. Add the sugar. 

Then add the raisins and nuts to the flour mixture and give them a good toss to coat the fruit and nuts with the flour mixture. 

Step 4: Make batter

Add the flour mixture in 3-4 batches to the wet mixture and combine the ingredients together with the fork. Do not overwork the ingredients. Fold until everything is just about combined well.

Step 5: Bake

Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake at 350°F. Bake for 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Do not open the oven door while the loaf is baking.

Remove from oven and allow to cook for 15 minutes before turning banana bread out of tin.

Wait until cool to slice. Slice with a serrated knife.

To store banana bread, wrap tightly in foil or cling wrap.

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Kitchen Notes and FAQs

What can I substitute for 1 banana?

Well, really this is a recipe for a banana bread! But, if you do want a substitute, then use 1/2 cup of applesauce instead of 1 over-ripe banana.

How ripe is too ripe for banana bread?

There's no such thing as too ripe for banana bread! Unless of course, they are rotting and covered with mould! The best bananas for banana bread are bananas with skins that have turned completely black. 

What else can I add to banana bread?

Any kinds of raisins (dark or golden), currants and broken pieces of nuts like walnuts, pecans, hazel nuts are good combinations. Though, other tart dried fruits like cranberries and blueberries work well too. If using larger dried fruit like apricots or prunes, cut them up into small pieces. Be sure to mix the fruits and nuts in the flour mixture before adding the flour mixture to the batter. This will ensure an even distribution in the batter and prevent the fruits and nuts from sinking during baking.

Chocolate and banana go well together. So, chocolate chips are an excellent addition to banana bread.

What spices work well with banana?

While I flavored this banana bread with just vanilla, you could add a sprinkling of nutmeg, cinnamon or allspice to the batter to create a warm, spiced up version of banana bread.

What can I use if I don't have a loaf pan for banana bread?

I used a small 3x4 inch mini loaf tin for this banana loaf recipe. But, if you don't have a little tin, no worries. Use a muffin or cupcake tin with liners. Everybody has one of those! Fill the liners only 2/3 full with batter as the banana bread will rise.

Other options are mini bundt pans or a small cast iron skillet, if you have one. A metal tin or pan works best to get the golden brown color. But, if you don't have a small enough pan that will work, then as a fall back option you could use a small glass casserole or Pyrex dish. Though, do note that the cooking time in a glass dish will be a little longer than in a metal pan.

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Why does my banana bread loaf crack on top?

Yes, banana bread does end up getting a crack on top. But, it's not a bad thing. This happens when the outside of the bread cooks at a faster rate than the inside. The top of the bread, or the crust forms sooner, while the inside is still cooking. As the inside continues to cook and rise, there is nowhere for it to go but up, breaking through the crust, thus forming the characteristic seismic crack on the top of the bread.

I actually like the crack along the top of the banana bread. It's similar to a loaf of bread that has been scored before baking. The crack doesn't affect anything. The banana bread will still rise, the inside of the bread will still cook evenly and when you cut the banana bread into slices, each slice looks very good.

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Banana bread studded with golden raisins and pecans.

This banana loaf is delicious just as it is. But, since chocolate and banana go so well together, you could frost it with a semi-sweet chocolate ganache. To frost this mini loaf, use 1/4 the proportions that the chocolate ganache recipe below calls for.

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Related Recipes:

For a regular size loaf banana bread with 3 bananas, try my recipe for : Banana Rum Bread. It's been 'monkey tested.'

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post!
To see my other global recipes, click on the 'Global' label below.

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