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
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Just made this last night - it was delish! I did notice that the lemon zest in the ingredients is never mentioned in the directions. I included them in with the wet ingredients, hope that was right. Turned out great in any case. But FYI, you may want to edit.


Oh my goodness and dang it all, this looks so good! I need to bring something to a potluck on Sunday... thanks to you, I now know exactly what I'm bringing! Yay!


Have just made it using buckwheat - looks fantastic - will eat it soon when neighbours come over for drinks!


I like the idea of mixing olive oil with a sweet bread, rich and aromatic. Your photos are fabulous as usual. GG

Glamorous Glutton

This looks amazing! Heidi, you drive me absolutely crazy - in a good way - the way you come up with or discover such inspiring recipes that I always want to eat (right now!) week after week. Whenever I'm starting to feel blase about cooking, I can come here and reliably be rejuvenated. It's just awesome.


Gorgeous pics, and the yellow dress is awesome. I have a yellow dress that is dubbed my "warm weather wedding dress" - have probably worn it to at least 3 or 4 weddings (all invovling different ppl so no one ever knows... ha ha). love the bundt pan. do you ever go to "cookin'" on Divis? that store is so LOADED with stuff. I feel like I'd need a good 2 hours to get through it ;)

heather @ chiknpastry

Wow!!. I make banana bread all the time but have never thought of adding lemon. Looks good will have to try this,


Cooler weather has finally arrived in Houston. This will be perfect tonight with some hot tea in front of the fireplace. Going to get to now before kids come home! Thanks!


lovely recipe and use of lemon in banana bread.


Do you think this could be made with applesauce in place of the eggs?

Veggie Vikki

Beautiful shots and lovely recipe.

Oana from dishchronicles

Hi BANANA BREAD where have you been, Do you really know that I am very hungry?You are the best of them all.Come, come feed myself with your delicious body. YUM,YUM.


Can I substitute whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour for the whole wheat flour? If yes, do I need to add anything else? Thanks, Rana


I am looking for guidance... my daughter has recently been diagnosed with gluten issues. What flour can I use for this recipe that will not bother her. She loves banana bread.


Oh my gosh! Heidi I admire you so much for you fantastic way of cooking. This bread was so amazing :) thank you!


Compelling enough to find me whipping it up at the end of a long work day before we head to big sur on a camping trip this morning. We dug in while it was still warm, chocolate gooey and lux. Divine! As always, thank you.


that is the most glamorous banana loaf i have ever seen! my next will be in bundt form--striking


Gosh darnit! I wish I would have seen this a couple of days ago. I wanted to make my friend some banana bread (her fav) but was out of butter so I had to freeze the bananas until I felt like trekking to the store. ;) This looks much better anyway!

Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily

Excellent recipe!! What a beautiful time you had there :)

Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

This recipe looked so yummy to me, but I am gluten and dairy free so I decided to try it with what I had here. I used millet and gluten free oat flour and coconut yogurt. I sprinkled some flax seeds in as well and used orange dark chocolate. The bread came out a bit dense, but wonderful. The lemon glaze really balanced out the rest of the flavors and was nice with the orange in the chocolate. Next time I will try this with a lighter flour like chestnut. Thanks...just wonderful!!


That truly looks and sounds amazing! E.A.T.

Tim Vidra

ohhh, looks amazing. I'm definitely going to try this one. Your bundt pan is gorgeous too.

Stupendous Joy

This looks so rustic and comforting and I must say that if I could get my hands on that ancient and charming bundt pan you would probably never see it again!


I love Banana Bread and have been looking for a good recipe (moist, flavorful and wholesome). Butter is great, but if I can get away with not using it, I just feel better. Will be making this soon. It looks really good. Thanks Heidi!


I love the lack of butter in this recipe! Olive oil + plenty of banana must make this delicious! I recently posted a honey banana bread ;)


Beautiful, Heidi. I'm planning a little cruise down that way in a few weeks...and have big plans for Melissa Clark's book (hello, snacking cake!)

Megan Gordon

I am so, so excited to try this with the lemon-muscovado glaze and "chocolate goldmines"! It's my favorite banana bread recipe. Sometimes I use barley flour instead of the whole wheat.


Sounds delicious! I would not have thought to combine banana bread with either lemon or olive oil, but now it seems perfect. Also, the paper lanterns in the trees are just lovely.

Becky @ Skinnyfat Girls

That does look good.. My oven isn't very good at baking, and my daughter is always on the lookout for good banana bread recipes, so I'm forwarding it to her. Thank you for translating your measurements - I've just been moaning to a friend about how inaccessible I find American recipes, and now here is one that isn't!

Annabel (Mrs Redboots)

This has to be the prettiest banana bread I've ever scene! And the shot of the ping pong table takes me back to my wedding!


Love the idea of making banana bread in a bundt pan - this recipe looks to die for!


Oh...this post makes me miss California. I lived there for 8 years...had my son there...miss the light, the landscapes, the warm days and cooled-down nights...and the attitude. The cake looks and reads so amazing in that not-too-sweet way I like cakes to be. I make a Roasted Pear and Rosemary Upside Down Cake with cornmeal that I've posted that fits in this category...I love it...I think you would too...


This sounds delicious and I was delighted to see a recipe that doesn't include nuts, as I am allergic. However, I noticed it contains 1 c of chocolate (to which I am also allergic). Do you think it would be alright to just eliminate the chocolate or should/can something else be substituted? Thanks!


I'm collecting bananabread recipes-- this is going on this list right after I've had a bash at Nigel Slater's (which has ground hazelnuts in) as a change from my usual (with spiced rum and muscavado sugar.


Banana + Chocolate + Olive Oil + Lemon = Yum!!! Sounds like such a good combination.

Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence

How lovely! Those wedding pictures are so beautiful. What a nice twist on banana bread -- a nice change. Am invited to a birthday party in 2 weeks in CT and will hope to make this.


this looks like the perfect holiday treat. an inventive mix of all the best flavors! do you think coconut yogurt would work in place of the whole milk? egg replacer? trying to make it vegan. peace! happy holidays!!


as a Greek, olive oil is an essential part of my baking repertoire. recipients of my olive oil cakes always looked at me like i had 3 heads when i told them what the cake was - but then the moist deliciousness changed their skeptical minds. BRAVO to you, Heidi, for making olive oil safe for the masses! my ancestors are from Kalamata. olive oil in all cooking is kind of a major component of my life

theresa k.

I'm most interested in your glaze, which might have applications to other recipes. I don't eat banana bread anymore. And if I did eat it, I would not want chocolate in it -- I'm kind of a purist...

Sharyn Dimmick

This is totally off topic, but is there any chance you know where that yellow dress in the second picture is from? It's stunning! Also, btw, the banana bread looks stunning too, esp. in the bundt pan!


I have a very 'green' tasting olive oil that I'm using at the moment, and I wonder what it would be like in this banana bread? A very interesting idea...


was just asked to bring something to a potluck - now i know what!

lynn @ the actor's diet

See that hole in the middle of the bread? I'm about to get inside that hole and freaking dance like a little girl. And then eat the bread.

Bev Weidner

i am absolutely making this this weekend! looks amazing.

laura @ glutton for nourishment

I'm intrigued by the combo of flavors-lemon, banana, and chocolate. The icing looks so good!

la domestique

a monterey native living on the east coast - the color descriptions, magic of that area, all of the changes just driving 10 or 20 will unveil make me very very homesick. great photos and lovely recipe.


It looks and sounds wonderful but I would appreciate any feedback that anyone might be able to provide on which gluten free flours would substitute best for the all-purpose and whole wheat. Thanks.


Thank you for posting this recipe! Usually there are ALWAYS some ripe bananas in my fruit basket. I wonder though - since usually you use nuts often in your recipes, wouldn't some walnuts be a great addition to this recipe? Just a susggestion :)

Joanna | Crock Pot Recipes

This looks great, have you any ideas for a dairy-free yoghurt replacement?


I am not a banana person but I am pretty sure I would love this bread. Chocolate, lemon, icing...yum.


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