Lucy's Friendly Foods

Jamaican Spiced Banana Bread

This time of  year is perfect for a culinary road trip, a way to pretend you’re in sunnier climes that the cold grey of February. Although to be fair it’s been pretty sunny this week, but not as sunny as the Caribbean where I’m taking you today (without leaving home).

We used to visit a small local farmers’ market when we lived in South London at which there was a family-run stall selling only home-made Jamaican loaves and breads. They were fabulous. I seem to remember one banana loaf being the perfect food after giving birth to my eldest. And they were vegan too – it was my first introduction to vegan cakes and how wonderful they can be. I’ve since searched and searched for a suitable recipe but not found one. The family in question stopped selling at this market, and we moved away from the area anyway. So here’s my take on a spiced banana bread… It’s really wholesome and tasty, with warm spices and tons of banana flavour, but still not quite like the one I remember. If you were that family who sold those spiced loaves at Abbeville Road farmer’ market, Clapham or know who they are, do get in touch. I’d happily travel to get hold of more!

The spicing in this recipe is quite mild so if you’re a spice fan I’d recommend doubling the spices for extra oomph! I particularly like the half banana on the top of the loaf, it certainly says what is in the tin, and a little crunchy sugar gives a nice contrast in texture, but both are totally optional and won’t alter the inherent spiced banana nature of the loaf.

Jamaican Spiced Banana Bread

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)


makes 1 loaf

225g plain flour

2 heaped tsps baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100g muscovado sugar

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

pinch of salt

1 tbsp rum or oat milk

1 tbsp Demerara sugar

A banana sliced lengthwise for decoration (optional)

Pearl or Demerara sugar for extra crunch

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 5. Line a loaf tin and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the mashed banana, sugar, oil and vanilla.
  3. Sieve in the flour, baking powder, bicarb, spices and salt.
  4. Mix to a dough, adding the rum/oat milk if it looks a bit dry.
  5. Pour into the loaf tin and sprinkle the top with the halved banana and some Demerara or pearl sugar
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden on top and a knife comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the tin before transferring to a wire rack.
  8. To freeze, wrap well and freeze whole. Defrost at room temperature before unwrapping.


8 Responses

  1. I used to live in Battersea–I loved it! And I loved the Clapham market just down the road, especially when they would do the French market once a month. *sigh* You’re making me miss my old neighborhood…and Jamaican food! 😉

  2. I believe the person you are looking for has a stall in Brixton food Fair (outside of the Leisure Centre) Not sure how often the Food Fair is held. I think every 2nd Friday.
    They frequently attend the Croydon Food Fair. Their cakes are fab!

  3. I just tried this recipe and it worked really well – very light sponge for a vegan cake. I didn’t have muscovado sugar so used demerara instead. It still worked out ok but agree the muscovado would add more depth to the flavour so have made sure I now have some in the cupboard for next time. I also had only white rum so instead I used a double portion of ginger wine instead which worked well. Sugar on top was a good idea and left a tasty crunchy topping. I split my cake into two 1LB loaf tins [to try and save a bit for later / freeze] and this meant that it was fully cooked in 30 mins using 200 degrees with a fan oven. Next time I might add a little more spice and some sultanas and see how that turns out.

    1. Hi Sam, thanks for your comments. I like your alterations – ginger wine sounds like a great addition. Having remade this last week, i think you’re right that it can handle more spice. I’d like sultanas but I know my children wouldn’t! x

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