Banana bread and banana cake – two ways | Wholewheat | Refined sugar free | Vegan

Perhaps the commonest quick bread is a banana bread.  I decided to go back to a favourite – David Lebovitz.  That my versions no longer bear any resemblance to his is a different matter, but I love the recipes he gives.They are simple and straightforward.

I made the first one on impulse with only 4 blackened ‘elaichi’ kelas (small bananas), and had to supplement it with Banarich‘s (Cochin Ayurvedic Centre makes this) banana powder. Banana powder is made with dried and powdered ‘nendrampazham’ and is usually used to feed toddlers or patients and the aged. I used to feed it every evening to my kids when they were small, and continued purchasing it as my daughter loves the porridge, and she prepares it for herself and her brother when they return from school. Sometimes she leaves a bowl for me and I just love it even now. I felt it was a very good substitution for eggs too, and gave the banana bread a very soft bread texture and I think yielded a much less dense bread than the usual banana quick breads I have seen. I also substituted sugar with organic jaggery which turned the bread yellow, more wholewheat than APF – as healthy as it can get:)!

The second time round I used 9 elaichi kelas, mostly APF, nutralite butter instead of oil, and white sugar and I felt the bread was more a dense cake than a bread. I used powdered star anise instead of cinnamon and I don’t think I will ever do that again. I realised I am not used to the strong flavor of this spice yet – definitely not in powdered form. I did not like it very much, but when I took it to office, it got over in a jiffy with people asking for more – so I guess it was good after all.  My colleague said it was ‘fundoo item’!

My vote goes for the low fat jaggery version which was pretty guiltless and more tasty and more defined. You could make out it was a bread and not a cake.

Banana bread-I (Low fat version – the one we liked very much)

4 tbsp. – Banana powder (I used Banarich)
1 cup soymilk/ricemilk/nutmilk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup organic jaggery (powdered)
1/4 cup sugar
8- 10 green cardamom (I like its strong flavor, reduce as per your taste or use cinnamon)
4 tbsp. Oil (I used sunflower)

Dry ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used Ashirwaad)
1/2 cup Cornflour
1/2 cup APF
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

4 small bananas (left to over ripen – I used elaichi kela)


Peel and powder the cardamom. Melt the jaggery by adding to the water and heating it till dissolved. Cool and set aside. Dissolve the banana powder in milk and heat, whisking all the time to form a smooth custard. Set aside to cool.

Mash the over ripe bananas with a fork. Pulse the cardamom powder, jaggery mixture, custard and mashed bananas together till homogenous. If it is too thick add 1/4 cup water and mix again. The consistency should be that of custard that can be stirred without too much effort, but not runny – like appam batter. Tastes like it too – I licked up whatever was left in the mixie!

Sift the dry ingredients. Fold the custard into the flour mixture till just mixed. Do not stir much, one or two turns will do.

Banana bread

Pour into well greased and dusted tin and bake at 180 deg.C. for 30 minutes and 200 deg. Cel for another 20 to 30 minutes. My oven takes a longer time – please adjust as per yours. Mine is brown in color because of the jaggery.


Banana Bread – II
(The one my friends liked)
Dry ingredients:
2 cups APF
2 tbsp. Corn flour
1/2 cup Wheat Flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. star anise powder (Use cinnamon – Please!!) I didn’t like this flavor much!
(Sift the above together and set aside)

Wet ingredients:
7 elaichi kelas/ almost 2 cups (allowed to go black)
2 tbsp firm tofu
1/2 cup coconut milk first extract (I used canned)
3 tbsp fresh orange juice
1/2 cup sugar (more if you please – this was enough for me)
3 tbsp nutralite butter cut softened
1 cup warm water
(Pulse everything together to form a custard that coats the back of the spoon thickly)



Mix the dry and custard together till just moistened (do not stir much – 2 gentle turns at the most). Pour into prepared tin and bake at 180/200 for 50 minutes or till it answers the skewer test perfectly. Rotate pan in between baking to get even crust.

The sweetness was enough for us but add more sugar if you have a sweet tooth.


Event submission:
These are my entires to Zora’s BBD, hosted this time by Mansi of Fun n Food Blog.


Glossary to this post:

Elaichi kela/Velchi kela: I am not sure about the variety but I think it is the Poovan or Nai Poovan variety. (Source – Ikisan)

Nendrampazham: A large variety of banana found in Kerala.

Fundoo: A Hinglish slang meaning marvellous, remarkable, wonderful.

Hinglish: English modified/mixed with Hindi words or vice-versa, which has become very popular even outside India. You get to see its use in movies like ‘Bend it like Beckham‘, ‘East or West‘ etc., and television serials like ‘The Kumars at No.42‘. Eg. – shampoo is a derivative of ‘champoo/champee’ meaning head massage. Other egs. – Filmi, desi, junglee, timepass etc. (Source – MED Magazine)

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Have your say

  1. looks perfect and yummy

  2. I have never heard of banana powder!!! The 2nd pic looks so yum!

  3. I love anything with banana and this i am sure i wil love.
    I love Kumar at No. 42.
    Especially the grandmother.

  4. bread & cake both looks very delicious & mouthwatering Harini

  5. So many tries….Your hard work paid off…Bread looks yum and wonderful

  6. banana powder? wow

    I love banana. period. I had a question to ask you. will email you!

    Oh, oh oh, tried the matris 😀 And they are unbelievable. In fact, I should go get one now with mid morning chai!

  7. i like the funky list of ingredients in the second one: coconut milk, tofu,orange juice! ought to be tried

  8. Looks good.. my first (& probably the only one:-D ) vegan cake/bread was the banana bread. These looks really good.. like all the combinations of ingredients u used. & i had no clude that u get banana powder!

  9. Looks perfect but I never heard of banana powder either.

  10. Beautiful moist bread…sounds delicious.

  11. Thanks everyone!

    A and N, I am so glad your mathris came out well! It is quite light so enjoy another batch:)

    Banana powder is a staple for children in Kerala. Earlier it used to be made at home but nowadays there are many manufacturers. Most of the brands have cardamom flavoring, but I use ‘Banarich’ because it is the only one which comes without any artificial flavors. I will update the post with details of the manufacturers in a while.

  12. Looks beautiful.. I have not tried making bread or cake with banana yet.Its on my soon to try list 😀

  13. So I’ve never heard of banana powder. Interesting. And I bet DL has never used jaggery in his banana bread so yes, I think you’ve come up with really unique recipes for banana bread! They look great- my fav. snack or breakfast. And that for the rest of us starter even is so easy it’s tough! I’ll try to think of a super simple starter that can be made w/o measurements.

  14. Oh Ban. Pwder sounds cool for those who freak about banana. Some how I cannot stand the ripen banana smell in baking goodie. Pict re pretty!

  15. The picture of banana bread II is beautiful. I can imagine how moist and soft it must have turned out. That said I love all the combination of 1 especially cardamom.

  16. Both versions looks delicious. Thanks for the info on banana powder as egg replacer.

  17. Hi,
    Even i never heard of banana powder even though we have mallu neighbours next door.
    Both banana bread & cake looks yummy & delicious.I love any thing healthy.
    Very good blog – first time i am commenting here.

  18. yummy post ,..;-)

  19. My! The snaps tempt me to make one right away .. only no bananas at home right now. Had no idea about banana powder!
    Awesome bread & cake Harini! 🙂

  20. They are so tempting..Looks so moist and delish.

  21. Loved it,looks wonderful !

  22. Both the bread and cake look gorgeous and mouth-watering Harini!

  23. Darling,Love it,I think now you must adopt me.The bread looks lovely,both the versions.I too have made a pumpkin bread-similar to the banana one- I too used cardamom,- and am in the process of posting.Could not visit earlier.
    BTW,nice to know you still like bananarich.Its healthy for us as well.

  24. Banana bread looks yumm, and now that I am sipping tea, want some 🙂
    What is Banana powder ?

  25. The bread looks wonderful. Perfect with a cup of tea! Great snaps too!

  26. Wow… looks awesome! All your clicks makes me drool here!

  27. i love baking with to see your recipe as i found some new ingredients which i look for next time in store to try..thanks for sharing

  28. Theres a way to your writing that reminds me so of mine…… i don tknow if that is good or bad………..but i love your narrative………….and ofcourse the banana cake or bread was good………my husband is vegan so ive been trying to bake that ultimate cake you know that is soft and yetsprings when you touch it……………if you find it lemme know.

    thanks for dropping by………

  29. The last pic is just superb…Slurppp..I am thinking of baking Banana bread since long..Couldn’t get my lazy self to it yet..This gave me the nudge again..good one Harini..:)

  30. I too started baking with banana breads only. Didn’t know about the banana powder.

  31. Looks great, yummy.

  32. Banana in baked items isn’t really my favourite, though my husband loves it.
    Bread with banana powder is something that sounds attractive to me. Need to stock up on it next visit home.
    Btw, the velchi is not any poovan variety I know of. I have never seen it in Kerala, but its available in plenty here. It does have a flavour faintly reminiscent of cardamom.

    Making a macaron is a dream for me, as you mentioned, of the Tartelette variety. Feynman and macarons? 😀

  33. This is my first visit to ur blog and I must say its awesome. you have a lot of vegan goodies here. I am sure I will be visiting again and again. I have tried banana bread but not with this less amount of oil. ur version looks fat free too.

  34. What an awesome looking banana bread….


    The Variable – Nachiketa

  35. So many good banana bread recipes that I don’t know where to start. This looks really good to me though.

  36. Unripe Banana Flour Could Give A Healthy Boost To Pasta

    Now modern research find that our ancient secret of using banana powder in recipes is healthy. It is rich in anti oxidants and starch that decreases glycemic index so good for diabetes.

    Such information of ancient wisdom like this is in this web site

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