Bananas seem to ripen extra-fast during the summer. I use them to make smoothies, popsicles and I even simply pop them into the freezer for later use in baking. As long as it is cool enough outside to justify heating my kitchen up with the oven, I also bake lots of banana bread. This Strawberry Banana Bread is a summery variation on classic banana bread, packed with plenty of strawberries to give the loaf a bright, berry flavor that goes very well with the fresh bananas. They also add a nice pop of color to an otherwise plain loaf!
The banana bread is moist and tender, with a relatively light crumb. It is made with plenty of mashed banana, but the batter also includes greek-style yogurt, which gives the batter some body and helps to keep the bread nice and tender. I added some vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon – since cinnamon goes well both with strawberries and bananas – to add a hint of spice to the background. Instead of using fresh strawberries, I used freeze-dried strawberries and I really recommend using them in this recipe.
Freeze dried strawberries are very easy to work with and they provide a great strawberry flavor in the bread without introducing too much extra moisture to the batter. They also are very unlikely to sink into a batter and will remain well-distributed as your loaf bakes. As strawberry fans know, strawberries can become a bit limp when baked and you can completely avoid that issue by working with freeze dried berries. They’re sold at Trader Joe’s and at many other specialty shops. That said, you can use fresh strawberries if that is all you have on hand. Be sure to slice them thinly (6-8 slices per berry, depending on size) so that you don’t end up with large pockets of strawberry in the bread. A loaf made with freeze dried berries will have a slightly longer shelf life – by at least a day or two – than the fresh strawberry loaf, so keep that in mind as you’re slicing and serving your bread.
Strawberry Banana Bread
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed banana (approx 2 large)
1/2 cup plain greek-style yogurt
1 cup freeze dried strawberries
or 3/4 cup very thinly sliced fresh strawberries.
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, whisk tgoether vegetable oil, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until well-combined. Stir in the mashed banana, followed by half of the dry ingredient mixture. Stir in yogurt, followed by remaining dry ingredient mixture. Mix just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Fold in strawberries and pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the batter comes out clean and the bread springs back when lightly pressed.
Allow loaf to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 1 loaf.