OK, so I’m about 12 months late to this banana bread lockdown craze (although I did make a salted caramel swirl banana bread at some point during Lockdown 2: Electric Boogaloo…) but the urge overcame me after I came up with a way to use up some Italian mixed peel and glace cherries that were lurking in my baking cupboard. Plus there were a couple of bananas that had seen better days and had definitely reached the “only good for baking” stage.

This banana bread features a few special ingredients, apart from the glace cherries and mixed peel. I used a mix of sour cream and yoghurt instead of milk or buttermilk and a teaspoon of almond essence, which makes it feel sort-of festive along with the fruit.

It’s not a bland, dry banana bread – this is more of a (dare I say it?) moist and puddingy banana bread. It’s probably not the healthiest example of the genre but I only made this last night, we cut the first couple of slices at about 10pm before it had fully cooled down and 16 hours later, we’ve eaten half of it already.

Bejewelled almond banana bread


2 overripe bananas

100ml sour cream

1ooml plain yoghurt

125ml olive oil

2 eggs

300g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

150g golden caster sugar or soft brown sugar

50g mixed peel

100g glace cherries

1 teaspoon almond essence


  1. Prehat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius and grease or line a 900g loaf tin.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until you have a squishy paste.
  3. Add the sour cream and yoghurt and mix well with an electric whisk or by hand.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, combining well, then mix in the olive oil.
  5. Sift the flour, sugar and baking powder into a separate bowl and then gradually add to the wet ingredients, mixing constantly.
  6. Stir in the teaspoon of almond essence – do not be tempted to add more as it’s a big flavour. Too much will result in the whole loaf tasting of wedding cake marzipan.
  7. Using a table knife, mix through the peel and cherries until thoroughly combined.
  8. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50-60 minutes until firm and golden-brown. Start checking the loaf at around 35-40 minutes as it can burn easily.

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