Caribbean Banana Bread

Caribbean banana bread_sbs-com-au_page

Sweet potato gives an added dimension here – extra moistness, extra sweetness and a touch of earthiness too. You could use steamed mashed pumpkin if you prefer, substitute wholemeal flour for plain white or, if peanuts don’t float your boat, scatter any other nut over the top.

1 medium orange sweet potato (about 350 g [0,75 lb]),
peeled and cut into 4 cm pieces
200 g [7 oz] mashed overripe banana
(about two medium bananas; see Note)
285 g [10 oz] caster sugar
60 ml (¼ cup) buttermilk
2 tbsp rum
125 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten well
300 g [10,5 oz] plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp each ground cinnamon and ginger
large pinch ground cloves
110 g [3,9 oz] roasted unsalted peanuts
75 g [2,65 oz] demerara sugar, or to taste


[1] Preheat the oven to 170° C / 345° F.

[2] Cook the sweet potato in a steamer over boiling water for 15 minutes or until very tender. Cool to room temperature then, using a potato masher, mash the sweet potato until smooth.

[3] Measure 250 g [8,8 oz] (1 cup) of the sweet potato, reserving any that remains for another use. Place in a large bowl with the banana, sugar, buttermilk, rum, oil and eggs and beat to combine well.

[4] Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and spices into a bowl then add to the banana mixture and, using a wooden spoon, stir until smooth. Divide the mixture among the holes of an 8-hole (150 ml / 5 fl oz  capacity each), non-stick mini-loaf pan, smoothing the surface of each even.

[5] Scatter the peanuts and demerara sugar over the top. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until deep golden: turn the tray around in the oven after 20 minutes so the breads cook evenly.

[6] Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

[7] The breads are best served on the day of making but will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. They can also be frozen for up to 12 weeks.


A medium banana yields 100 g of mashed flesh so let that be a rough guide if you don’t have scales. (Get some scales!). It won’t matter too much if you are 20 g / 0,7 oz or so over the mark anyway – simple recipes like this do have a little wiggle room.