Can we talk about the elephant in the room for a moment? Banana bread. Why is it called a bread? Why in fact are all quick breads not called quick cakes? It’s the Emperor’s New Clothing of the culinary world. I’m not complaining, necessarily. Just one of those curious questions that I suppose some research would provide an actual answer to, but I was hoping one of you might know, and save me some time. Now, let’s talk about this Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread that is really a cake.
We went on a quick trip to Vergennes, VT a few weeks ago, and part of prepping for any road trip is packing a snack bag. Since this was a morning departure, I wanted to include something breakfasty. My usual banana bread recipe requires three very ripe bananas. All I had was one on the counter, and not even a stash in the freezer to my surprise. I decided to make a banana bread-inspired quick bread.
The thing about bananas is they infuse anything they touch with flavor, so just one would be enough to qualify it as a banana bread in my book. In an effort to clean out the fridge, I found some sweet bing cherries, too. Not a usual companion in banana bread, but I can’t imagine a banana split without a cherry on top, so this felt like it could work by a big stretch of the imagination. And that’s how the chocolate entered the recipe, too.
After mixing everything, scraping it into the pan, and popping it in the oven, I wondered if I should’ve gone further with the banana split theme. Next time I might add some chopped walnuts, but really the bread (cake, whatever…) was wonderful as it’s presented here. I thought the kids would rebel over this version of banana bread, but they loved it.
I used a mix of sweet and sour cherries since I had some of each in the fridge. Use what you have, or can get your hands on. I wanted them to be bold, and cut them in half. Feel free to chop them finer if you prefer the cherries spread out more evenly throughout your cake (said in my best Mary Berry voice). Lightly toasted, the chocolate gets a little gooey, quite reminiscent of hot fudge on a sundae.
One last note—if you don’t have molasses, but do have brown sugar on hand, then swap that in for the cane sugar listed in the recipe. In case you didn’t realize it, brown sugar is simply regular sugar mixed with molasses (read more here, and learn how to make your own).
You know, it’s odd writing a post like this, compared to my last one. I’m constantly finding a way to balance everything in my life, and these pages are where it all gets unpacked. Sometimes I’m so conflicted with this space. Is it a place for sharing recipes, stories about parenting, honest reflections on my life as a widow?
I know the answer is all of the above, but I always wonder how you as readers feel about the mixing of it all. I know deep down that if you just wanted a recipe you could go any place else (though whether they’re good, well-tested recipes is another story). I guess what I really want to say is thank you for sticking with me all these years. I’ve become more a solitary creature of late, letting my inner introvert take over. The way writing here, here, and here allows me to connect to people from all walks of life is something I cherish, and never take for granted. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. xo-Jennie
More Banana Bread Recipes
Chocolate Cherry Banana Bread
- 1¼ cups (180 grams) whole wheat pastry flour (white all-purpose flour will work, too)
- ⅓ cup (66 grams) granulated natural cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon (7 grams) molasses
- ½ teaspoon (3 grams) baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) sea salt
- 1 very ripe banana, mashed (85 grams)
- ½ pint (141 grams) cherries, pitted (sweet or sour), cut in half
- ½ cup (70 grams) chocolate (milk or dark), chopped
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil (canola or vegetable oil will work fine, too)
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
- Coarse natural cane sugar, to finish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Line an 8-inch by 3-inch loaf pan with parchment, letting the paper hang a bit over the sides (this will act as makeshift “handles” to lift the loaf out once it’s cooled).
- Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a medium bowl. Whisk to mix well.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, banana, molasses, oil, and vanilla to combine. Pour over the flour mixture, and stir with a fork until just mixed, and there are no visible signs of flour (the batter will be a bit lumpy).
- Fold in the cherries and chocolate. Sprinkle a little coarse sugar on top, if desired, for an extra crunch.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until deep golden, and a metal skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes.
- Remove the oven, and set pan on a wire rack. Let cool for at least one hour before serving. I usually slice leftovers, and wrap them individually in plastic wrap, then store them in a ziptop bag in the freezer. This way I can take out what I need, and heat them in the toaster.