Although my favourite Nigella book is still How to Be a Domestic Goddess, both for it’s writing style and its recipes, Nigellissima, Nigella’s take on Italian cooking, definitely has a place of honour on my bookshelf. One of my favourite recipes from the book is Nigella’s Italian Breakfast Banana Bread.
As Nigella points out, Banana Bread really isn’t Italian at all, but as she says, “I don’t claim these recipes are authentically Italian, but authentic they are nonetheless.” Nigellissima is full of wonderful recipes from snacks and starters to easy and satisfying main courses. The Saffron Orzotto is a gorgeous side that makes barley something really special and the Fettuccini with Mushrooms, Marsala and Mascarpone is just amazing. Of course there are plenty of desserts too, including a Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake that is nothing short of divine.
I have my own tried and tested banana bread recipe that I have been making for years, but I couldn’t resist Nigella’s espresso-spiked version. It took less than ten minutes to throw together and you probably already have most of the ingredients on hand. The only one you might not have is the instant espresso powder but it’s well buying. (Ordinary instant coffee just isn’t the same.) It gave the banana bread an amazingly heady scent while it was baking and really added to the flavour. Plus you can make yourself a quick cup of espresso to enjoy with the banana bread!
I’ve also found an espresso powder flavouring that would work too, but I’d use less than the 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder Nigella calls for, perhaps just 1 to 1½.
Nigella wrote the recipe in grams, with some reference to cups. The only difficult conversion was the flour as 175 grams doesn’t actually come out to an even measurement. It’s about 1⅓ cups plus a teaspoon. If you have scales, you can always use the weight measurements for absolute accuracy as I do in this case. I confess, though, I prefer to bake in cups as it is the way I learned.
This bread really does improve with age, just as Nigella says. You can never have too many recipes for banana bread, and I urge you to add this one to your repertoire. You can also find the recipe in Nigellissima, a book you will be happy to have on your bookshelf, no matter how big your cookbook collection!
- ⅔ cup (150 ml) flavourless vegetable oil plus some for greasing (I used mild olive oil)
- 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- ⅔ cup (150 grams) granulated or caster sugar
- 1⅓ cups (175 grams) plain flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder (or 1 to 2 teaspoons espresso powder flavouring)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (about 165°C).
- Grease a one pound loaf tin.
- Mix the vanilla and salt into the mashed bananas.
- Beat in the oil.
- Now beat in the lightly beaten eggs and sugar.
- Mix the flour, baking soda and espresso powder together and beat these dry ingredients into the batter.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until slightly coming away from the sides of the tin. A skewer inserted in the cake should come out virtually clean.
- Cool in the tin for 20 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase via these links I will receive a small commission but the cost to you is still the same. Full Disclosure Policy.