Banana Buttermilk Bread | Claire Ptak (The Violet Bakery Cookbook)

I literally couldn’t help myself.  After the success of last week’s life affirming Egg Yolk Chocolate Chip Cookies, I scoured the rest of Claire Ptak’s bible of delicious for another recipe I could make.  I bought some bananas with the sole intention of making banana bread.  More specifically, the vegan banana bread in Elly Pear’s new cookbook.  Well, on this occasion, I really lived for the ish in vegan(ish).  

Claire Ptak claims not to like Banana Bread or Carrot Cake and both were left off her bakery menu  for a long time despite them being the most requested items.  I can only say that consumerism works because I am so grateful that Claire relented and gave us a banana bread recipe.  A relatively simple bake with depth from the dark brown sugar, moisture from all the banana but somehow unexpectedly light (thanks to the buttermilk I’d imagine).  I had to substitute the dark rum for some bourbon because I don’t drink either, but I have bourbon leftover from making Nigella’s Girdlebuster Pie.  It was only a teaspoon so I can’t imagine it made much difference.

Banana Buttermilk Bread | Claire Ptak (The Violet Bakery Cookbook)
Banana Buttermilk Bread | Will you just look at that crunch, sugary topping! :O

Visually, what separates Claire’s Banana Buttermilk Bread from your run of the mill banana bread is the cross section of banana used to decorate the top of the cake, as well as the crunchy brûlée topping from the generous sprinkle of caster sugar prior to baking. 

This cake is divine.  It’s delicious immediately, still warm from oven, while the sugar on top is crisp.  It is also delicious a few days later, once the cake has become more damp and squidgy.  Thanks to the heatwave we’re experiencing in the UK, the crispy brûlée topping eventually dissolved back into a syrup, enriching the cake.  By day five, I basically had a banana brownie.  Rich, fudgy and just set.  The banana decoration had sunken back into the cake, making a gooey, banoffee core.

Banana Buttermilk Bread | Claire Ptak (The Violet Bakery Cookbook)
Banana Buttermilk Bread | The sunken banana topping has made an unintended but welcome banoffee core.

If this hasn’t convinced you to make this banana bread, I don’t know what will.  Disclaimer: this isn’t the type of banana bread you want to slice and butter.  I can lick the butter knife clean, but even I wouldn’t butter this bread.

The Banana Buttermilk Bread recipe is available with American measurements here, or on p.104 of the Violet Bakery Cookbook which you can find on Amazon.