In times of crisis, food is often a unifier. It brings us together as families, as friends, and as individuals. When that crisis forces us to be apart, the power of social media allows us to come together in spite of the odds.

As we enter the second month of lockdown in the UK, our nation has become a community of bakers. Seeking comfort in the small, everyday things that are within our control, baking is an exercise that feeds the body, mind and soul. It is a time that I cherish: standing in my personal laboratory, poring over my batter to see if I’ve overmixed it again as I chase the perfect lemon drizzle and work my way through old Spotify playlists.

Supermarket shelves, emptied of flour, eggs and baking powder, act as evidence of the country’s latest craze. Blessed are those that can find the Homepride man or a bag of Silver Spoon these days. But with seemingly endless evenings indoors ahead of us and an infinite amount of recipes at our digital fingertips, one treat in particular has risen to the top of everyone’s shopping lists.

Originating on the American breakfast table in the 1930s, banana bread has become a staple in the repertoire of many bakers. Created as a means for using up ripened bananas past their prime, it is a relatively simple process that most can master for a delicious payoff. Everything wet, then everything dry, all in one bowl and then mix. Its combinations and twists, too, are vast: chocolate chips are a popular addition, while sprinkling demerara sugar on the top before baking is a matter of heated debate (pun intended).

For me, and apparently the rest of the internet, banana bread is the ultimate quarantine bake. The sweetness of the fruit helps to masquerade the treat as a “healthier” choice akin to carrot cake, if indeed you call its densely packed structure a cake at all. It’s also incredibly versatile: some of the most successful iterations I’ve made in the past have been vegan, making one former co-worker who was allergic to eggs very happy as I brought in my latest attempt.

Scrolling through Instagram, I’ve lost count of how many of my friends have baked banana bread since lockdown began. It has appeared on popular Bingo sheet graphics for “things I’ve done while in quarantine”, while write ups of the trend have cropped up in the likes of Vanity Fair, Grazia and Teen Vogue.

Over the years, I have created my own (seemingly) foolproof recipe that takes inspiration from a number of sources. In case my writing has inspired you to join in the banana revolution, here’s how to make my banana bread.


110g unsalted butter, at room temperature

100g dark brown soft sugar

2 eggs

500g very ripe bananas, about three large ones. I had four, so I used an extra one to top the cake.

1tsp vanilla extract

250g plain flour, sifted

1tsp bicarbonate of soda. If you don’t have this, use 240g of self-raising flour instead of the above.

¼ tsp salt


1tbsp demerara sugar, mixed with ⅛ tsp cinnamon

1 banana, sliced in half vertically

You can also use chopped pecans or walnuts to top for extra crunch.


  1. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees celsius/160 fan, and prepare a 2lb loaf tin (this can be done either with loaf cases like I’ve used, or just by lightly greasing the sides and base). In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and dark brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl until it creates a thick mess with smaller chunks. If you puree it, you’ve gone too far. Mix this in with the sugar and butter, beating for two minutes.
  3. Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing as you go. Stir together your dry ingredients, then fold into the wet mixture using a spoon or spatula until just combined.
  4. Pour or spoon your batter into your loaf tin, and smooth out the top using the back of your chosen utensil. Cover with your selected toppings, if any.
  5. Bake in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes. It needs to be golden brown on top with a slight crust, or until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. If you find it looks done on the outside but needs a bit longer inside, cover tightly with foil and stick it back in for another 10-15 minutes until the skewer comes out clean.
  6. Let the bread cool in its tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Let it cool completely before storing in an air-tight container, if you didn’t eat it all in one go.