Weekend Recipe: Banana bread with brandy butter icing by Mark Pupo

We love a reliable banana bread recipe and you should too

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Lead image via unsplash, photos and recipe below courtesy of Penguin Random House.
excerpted from Mark Pupo's cookbook Sundays: A Celebration of Breakfast and Family in 52 Essential Recipes: A Cookbook

There are Sundays when the usual breakfast staples—eggs, meat, griddled this and that—just aren’t appealing. Or when you’ve got people coming over who don’t eat meat or object to the scent of cooking eggs, or are otherwise impossible to please. In those circumstances, it’s good to have a backup. That backup should be banana bread. Even the lightest banana breads are heftier and more filling than most other baked goods. Add some icing (our household is fond of a butter icing with a touch of brandy) and serve it with a big bowl of fruit salad or fresh berries, plus a fresh pot of coffee, and you’re set.

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It goes without saying that you can’t make banana bread unless you’ve got ripe bananas, so for all my talk of a “backup,” this recipe still requires some forethought. It’s also heavy on the bananas—four, compared to the typical two- or three-banana loaf—and is best made in a Bundt pan. So, if we’re being strict about it, this is technically a cake, but so is any “bread” that you make by creaming sugar and butter. Nuts are optional, but if your visitors aren’t allergic, I recommend mixing some chopped toasted pecans.

Banana bread

2⅓ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt 4 ripe bananas

3 eggs, separated into yolks and whites

½ cup milk

½ cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

½ cup chopped and toasted pecans (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter every nook and cranny of the inside of a Bundt pan, then dust with flour to help prevent the cake from sticking.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork, then mix well with the egg yolks, milk, oil, and vanilla. Pour into the dry mixture and mix until just combined.

If you’re including the nuts, stir them into the batter. Now, in a dry mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until they turn solid white and form peaks. This will take some extra muscle, and you may want to take turns with an eager kid.

Alternatively, use an electric mixer, which will later come in handy if you’re making the brandy butter.

Fold the whites into the batter, being careful not to overmix (you want to keep that extra volume from the whites). Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes.

Test by inserting a toothpick or wood skewer into the cake—if it comes out clean, it’s done.

Brandy buttercream icing

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1½ cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons brandy

12 pecan halves, for topping (optional)


In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and then add the powdered sugar, trying your best to avoid it blowing everywhere.

Mix until smooth, then add the brandy to taste.


You’ll have enough icing to spread over the very top of the cooled cake—any more would be too rich, especially at breakfast.

Decorate the top with pecan halves.

Serves 8-10