This marbled banana bread was inspired by a loaf of marbled chocolate and banana bread we encountered at a hotel breakfast buffet in New York City.
Normally I wouldn’t get excited about hotel banana bread, but this loaf was pretty good. Or maybe I was just really hungry at the time. Either way, I came home from the trip ready to make my own loaf of banana bread marbled with chocolate.
Rather than come up with a completely new version, I started with Dorie Greenspan’s “Black and White Banana Bread” from Baking: From My Home to Yours. Wow, was it ever good! In fact, I don’t think I could ever find a better recipe, so I’m stopping here and making this my number one (and only) marbled banana bread. It’s got a nice rounded appearance, just the right level of banana flavor, and the chocolate marbling is satisfyingly chocolatey and not just dark colored banana bread with a hint of cocoa. I skipped the rum for this batch, but after making it I went and bought dark rum and plan on adding it to the next loaf just for kicks. Then again, even without the rum it still has a lot going on with the nutmeg, the bananas and vanilla.
Ah, but perfect as it was, I couldn’t resist adding some bittersweet chocolate chips to the chocolate portion of the bread and would most definitely do that again. If you are banana bread fan, this one’s worth a try.
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (6 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 11/2 ripe bananas, peeled
- Squirt of fresh lemon juice
- Grated zest of ½ a lemon (I omitted this)
- 1 tablespoon dark rum (I omitted this)
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided use
- 2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Make sure the rack in the center.
- Grease and flour an 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ inch loaf pan. Line with a strip of parchment if desired, then grease the parchment and dust with more flour. Set the loaf pan on two stacked baking sheets (or use one insulated sheet). This is supposed to protect the bottom from burning.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
- In a small bowl, mash the bananas with the lemon juice and zest (if using), then stir in the rum if using.
- Melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons of the butter together in the microwave or using your favorite method.
- With an electric mixer (I use a handheld), beat the remaining stick (8 tablespoons) of butter at medium speed until creamy. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. The batter will look curdled, and it will continue to look curdled as you add ingredients. By hand or using the lowest speed of mixer, add half the flour mixture. Pour in the milk and stir until blended, then add the remaining flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed bananas.
- Pour a little less than half the batter (I weighed out 16 oz) and blend with the melted chocolate to make a chocolate batter. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into the prepared pan, then very carefully draw a knife through the batter in a zig-zag fashion just to get a marble effect going.
- Bake for 80 to 90 minutes, or until a knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. NOTE: Check after 30 minutes and if the cake starts to brown too much, cover it loosely with a foil tent.
- Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for about 15 minutes before unmolding (I let mine cool longer), then let the cake cool to room temperature directly on the rack.