Brown Sugar and Spice Banana Bread

brown sugar and spice banana bread

I have tried so many banana bread recipes over the years. After all, every family needs a go-to recipe for what to do with those bananas after they’ve sprouted brown spots and no one will touch them. But I always come back to this one, from The Moosewood Cookbook. I have tweaked and omitted and tested until this recipe is quite different from Mollie Katzen’s. In other words, it’s just the way I like it. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Makes 2 loaves


  • 1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups ripe bananas, mashed (about 5 medium)
  • Optional: add 3/4 cup chopped nuts such as pecans or walnuts, or 3/4 chocolate chips, or top with cream cheese frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease 2 standard-sized loaf pans.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. When the mixture is fluffy, stir in vanilla and almond extracts and orange zest.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add half to butter mixture. Then add in bananas. Mix until all is well-combined. Add in rest of dry ingredients and rest of bananas. Stir in any optional ingredients. Mix well but do not over-mix.
  4. Divide batter evenly between two loaf pans. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  5. Cool for 10 minutes in pan. Loosen sides of pan with knife, then turn upside-down to remove bread. Transfer to cooling rack and let rest for at least 1 hour before slicing.