This is my favorite banana bread. It's moist and has a rich banana flavor. It doesn't hurt, psychologically, that the recipe title includes the words "morning cake."
I found the recipe on an online index of bed and breakfasts; it's from Aravaipa Farms in Arizona. I usually skip the nuts because of family preferences, and use dried cherries just because I love them.
This particular morning I didn't see any of the wildlife found in the desert preserve where the inn is located, but I did have our Ohio bird guide handy (the blue book in the photo). I don't remember what I saw outside our sunroom that day, because this was months ago. Yep, I am really behind in my posts. It's just that kind of year so far.
Anyway, on to tips for the "cake."
-- Tossing the dried fruit in a little bit of flour (maybe 1/4 cup) before stirring them into the batter helps to keep them from sinking straight to the bottom of the pan. You can tell I skipped that this time. It's not a disaster to skip the flour; I kind of like scraping them off the bottom of the pan when my husband leaves the bottom crust behind. Yum.
-- I find it easiest to mash ripe bananas by smashing them down a bit with the beaters on my hand mixer, than mixing them on a low speed. I think it really helps to incorporate them into the batter.
My changes are in parentheses.
Morning Banana Cake
from Aravaipa Farms
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla (I like to use about 1 tbsp.)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup melted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup dried cranberries (or cherries, chopped if they are large and tossed in a little flour)
1 cup pecans or walnuts (optional; you can add more cherries instead)
Mix mashed bananas and sugar well in a large bowl; a hand mixer makes quick work of this. Add vanilla and eggs; mix well. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and stir to incorporate.
Stir together buttermilk and melted butter and add to batter, stirring well. Stir in dried fruit/nuts.
Butter and flour 10-inch tube pan (I prefer to use two loaf pans; that way I can freeze or share one). Pour in batter and bake about 1 hour at 350 degrees until pick comes out of the center clean and cake pulls away from sides of pan (Start checking at 45 minutes). When completely cool, invert cake to remove from pan. (If the crust starts to brown too much before the middle is done, cover loosely with foil.) Cool.
It's great warm, but it will crumble (not that you will care in your rush to see if it tastes as good as it smells).