Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread Recipe

Certain adventures call for the perfect banana bread, and this was one of them. A moist, ridiculously good banana bread recipe. A banana bread that is chocolate studded, lemon kissed, and made with whole wheat flour (and olive oil) - from Melissa Clark's new book.

Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread

Certain adventures call for the perfect banana bread, and this was one of them. You can't really know what to expect regarding the weather when someone invites you to a late-October wedding near Monterey, California. A wedding at an off-season summer camp. I thought there was a good chance I'd be wearing Wellies under whatever dress I picked out, sloshing around in puddles. Not the case! The sun was strong, old moss-laced oak trees lent some shade, and the guests swam, shot rifles, barn danced, and drank plenty of bubbles at this multi-day fête. Knowing I couldn't go off to camp without a couple treats in my bag, I wrapped a massive piece of Melissa Clark's Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread in parchment paper and tucked it away for snacking later.
Best Banana Bread Recipe
If you drive south, and then a bit east from Monterey, the landscape changes. It goes from the big horizons, slates and blues of the coast to rolling, golden hills, warmer temperatures, craggy trees, and horse properties. I grew up north of here by an hour, also inland in a similar way. Filled with oak trees, hills, yellow/gold, and hot days that extend into warm nights. The setting of the wedding felt incredibly familiar to me. In a way, those trees, the colors, that sky have always been a part of my life. It was nice. And I suppose it goes without saying, I was happy to have a camera with me to try to capture some moments from the wedding. Plus some shots that share a sense of what I love about this part of California.Best Banana Bread Recipe

A Special Banana Bread

The banana bread - it's amazing. And, if you ask me, best served on a picnic table. There were a couple tiny tweaks I made to Melissa's recipe (it's one of about a dozen recipes I tagged from her new book, Cook This Now). Instead of using a loaf pan, I couldn't resist baking it in the bundt pan I recently picked up in an antique store. And, because I love the flavor combination of lemon and brown sugar, I worked some brown (muscovado) sugar into the icing. The icing sets up firm, and wrapped in paper (and taped or tied), slices won't mess up your purse (or suitcase). The cake is made with a good amount of whole wheat flour, generously chocolate-studded, with a good zing of lemon in the cake itself (and from the icing).
Best Banana Bread Recipe


Best Banana Bread Recipe

Congratulations Oliver & Naya, it was incredibly special to be part of your beautiful celebration - and (!) to finally meet Alana in person. And thank you Melissa, for a recipe I look forward to revisiting regularly. - h

Related post: Glazed Lemon Cake

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Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread

4.23 from 27 votes

Melissa's recipe instructs you to coarsely chop the chocolate. My advice? Leave a good amount of sizable chunks of chocolate. They become big, melty, chocolate goldmines streaked throughout the cake. I used a more intricate shaped pan (when compared to a standard loaf tin), and both butter and floured it to help deter sticking.

  • 1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125g all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup / 5 oz / 140g whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g dark muscovado or dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup / 4 oz / 115 g coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup / 80 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups / 12 oz / 340 g mashed, VERY ripe bananas (~3 bananas)
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml plain, whole milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the glaze:
  • 1/2 cup / 3 oz / 85 g sifted dark muscovado or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup / 2 oz / 55g confectioners' sugar
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F, and place a rack in the center. Grease a 9- by 5- inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan, or equivalent.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate pieces and combine well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, yogurt, zest, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. You want to get that beautiful color on the cake, but at the same time you don't want to bake all the moisture out of it. So the minute you're in that zone, pull it. Erring on the side of under-baking versus over.
  4. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.
  5. While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. In a bowl, whisk together the sugars and the lemon juice until smooth. When the cake is completely cool, drizzle the glaze on top of the cake, spreading with a spatula to cover.
  6. Serves 10.

Adapted from Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make, Hyperion, October, 2011

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr
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Is there really anything better than freshly baked banana bread with chunks of chocolate? I love the idea of baking banana bread in a bundt pan and will certainly do the same next time! This recipe looks like a keeper. Yes to olive oil in cakes.


Natasha@foodonpap: I totally agree. Coming from Canada where bananas are just 78 cents/ lb (about $1.70/ kg) it's a little hard for me to justify. I've just moved to Sydney btw... The prices seem to be going down gradually.


One more reason I can't help but check your blog even in my absurdly busy life. I am ALWAYS surprised at the new way to look at a recipe. Large chunks of chocolate-just leave them! Of course. Doubt I'll do it any other way again.


I LOVE banana bread - adding lemon, chocolate and olive oil probably just makes it infinitely better. Thanks for the recipe!

Anjali Shah @ The Picky Eater

Banana bread with lemon + chocolate + olive oil? This idea sounds lovely!


OHHHHMYGOD! This looks divine. I have a whole bundle of bananas just waiting to be turned into something as spectacular as this! can't wait. xxo

pushups with polish

this looks soooo yummy! Can't wait to test this one out :)

Ami @ parsnips and pears

I am not into banana bread but I know someone who will just adore this recipe (my dad LOL). Thanks !


Ok you're the second blogger who's recipes I really TRUST who has made a sweet item with olive oil in the past 24 hrs that I've come across. The other lady made brownies. You have me convinced to try olive oil in sweets!

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

Oh my, this looks incredible! I have overripe bananas stashed in the freezer, and am headed out on a little road trip this weekend, so this looks like the perfect treat to bring along! Looove that bundt pan!

charlotte au chocolat

Looking forward to the lemon kick. Thanks!

Denise | Chez Danisse

Wow, this looks so delicious!


I love banana bread!! I haven't been able to make it in months because the cost of bananas in Australia is just ridiculous..


OMG. As soon as my bananas start to look less than appetizing, this is what I'm making with them!!


That bread is STUNNING!!! STUNNING! Making me hungry.

Belinda @zomppa

I love anything with lemon in and this cake is no exception especially when combined with brown sugar. Just wonderful.


I recently started using olive oil in place of regular oil in my quick breads and I really like the flavor. Must make today! Thanks!


Heidi: (1) Is it ok to substitute all-purpose flour for the whole-wheat flour? Same ratio? (2) Usually I pour the dry ingredients into the wet. Here you do the opposite. Does it matter? Thanks. Love your site.


Was the wedding held at Asilomar? I've been to a couple meetings there, always held in May. The weather is pretty chilly then (at least for an Arizona girl).


I was just going to search for a recipe to use up some bananas, and the second your page loads, it was calling for me. "Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread". It was meant to be. I recently started using olive oil in place of regular oil in my quickbreads and I really like the flavour. Must make today! Thanks!


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