Claire Ptak’s Banana Buttermilk Bread

published Mar 7, 2022
Banana Buttermilk Bread Recipe

Claire Ptak amps up traditional banana bread with one stand-out ingredient: buttermilk.


Makes1 (10x4-inch) loaf cake

Cook40 minutes to 50 minutes

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Credit: Kristin Perers

For the first five years of Violet, I resisted adding banana bread to the menu. It always seemed to me like something you only made at home, with old bananas. I am not a huge fan of banana and, indeed, was never a huge fan of cake made from them. Eventually, however, I grew tired of telling customers we didn’t have it and set out to make a version I could be proud of. This cake is now one of the most popular items on our menu, and for good reason.

Banana Buttermilk Bread Recipe

Claire Ptak amps up traditional banana bread with one stand-out ingredient: buttermilk.

Cook time 40 minutes to 50 minutes

Makes 1 (10x4-inch) loaf cake

Serves 8

Nutritional Info


  • Butter, for greasing the pan

  • 6

    very ripe bananas

  • 2/3 cup

    vegetable oil

  • 1 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon

    dark rum

  • 2


  • 1/3 cup

    cultured buttermilk or plain yogurt

  • 1 1/2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons



  1. Preheat the oven to 355°F or 320°F convection. Butter a 10 by 4-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper.

  2. Reserve half a banana for the top of the cake and mash the remaining bananas well.

  3. In a bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, vanilla, rum, eggs, and buttermilk or yogurt. Add the mashed banana and set aside.

  4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Fold this into the banana mixture until just combined, then pour into your prepared pan. Smooth the top with an icing spatula or rubber spatula and place the reserved banana half, cut lengthwise, on top. Sprinkle with the sugar.

  5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake has set and starts to caramelize. I sometimes use a kitchen blowtorch to help this along. Leave to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Reprinted with permission from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Photographs copyright © 2015 by Kristin Perers