The Best Fall Banana Bread.

By: Jen Shoop

I’ve been making this banana bread for nearly fifteen years, after discovering it on Molly Wizenberg’s Orangette blog (remember it?!) circa 2009. I made it and promptly decided I did not need to try another banana bread recipe for the rest of my life. It has a delicate, almost cake-like crumb, unbelievable moistness, and a winning piece de resistance: a cinnamon crumble topping. This is a banana bread we make in our house year-round, but autumn always seems to beckon repeated performances given the warm spices involved.

I’m sharing below with some modest adaptations from Wizenberg’s recipe, which was itself an adaptation from a recipe from Oakland, CA bakery called Bakesale Betty, which ran in a 2008 Bon Appetit issue. You will likely have all the ingredients on hand, and I implore you to make it for the weekend.

*The plate above is from John Derian’s Halloween collection with Target from a few years ago. My children are obsessed with these — they’re melamine, and therefore kid-proof! — and they always fight over the plate with the biggest spider on it. I just noticed that you can still buy a melamine cakestand with the same motif here, and individual plates here.

Cinnamon Crumble Banana Bread

For the bread:

 1.5 cups all-purpose flour

 1 cup sugar

 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

 1 tsp. baking soda

 ½ tsp. salt

 1-1.5 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3-4 medium bananas)

 2 large eggs

 ½ cup canola oil

 ¼ cup honey

 ¼ cup water

For the crumble topping:

 2 Tbsp. sugar

 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

 2 ½ Tbsp. packed brown sugar (I use whatever I have on hand — light or dark)


Preheat the oven to 350° F and move the rack to the middle position.

This recipe yields an unconventional amount of batter. Molly’s recipe calls for a 9×5″ loaf pan but most of us will have only 8×4″ loaf pans. Personally, over many years of trial and error, I make exactly seven muffins’ worth and then pour the rest into my 8×4″ pan and it bakes to perfection. This means that my children can enjoy the recipe in muffin form (easier to transport into snack/lunchboxes or on the go), and Mr. Magpie and I can make our way through the loaf. So, I line a muffin tin with exactly seven liners, and then I grease an 8×4″ pan (I really love this one from Williams-Sonoma – bakes very evenly; I did notice that they make this pan in 9×5″ dimensions if you want to just have one loaf, though!). I know this is a lot of fuss about pans but trust me — do not pour all the batter into an 8×4″ pan because it will collapse!

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mash up the bananas to a pulp — really use some elbow grease! — because I find the more fully mashed the banana, the better the result. In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, eggs, oil, honey, and water. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir well. Scrape the batter into the prepared tin(s).

In a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients. Sprinkle them evenly over the batter. Use every last bit of the sugar mix, even if you think it’s going to be too much.

The muffins (if you’ve used my “sidecar muffin” approach) will take about 20-22 minutes to bake. The loaf will take about an hour, give or take a little. If the topping starts to burn or look too brown, tent the tin with a bit of foil over top — this enables the bread to continue to cook without burning the crust.

Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Enjoy!


+Getting back into baking after a hiatus with young children.

+”Life rearranges itself to compensate for our losses.” What a beautiful sentiment.

Shopping Break.

+Silver accents are trending this season. Love these Chanel-esque Sam Edelman flats as an affordable way to nail the trend. Also love this similar style from Talbots. (Or scour the resale sites for a great pair of Chanels!)

+If you liked my Rhodia dress but not the puffed short sleeve, they released a similar long-sleeved dress style that would be perfect for Thanksgiving.

+All my favorite baking gear. In the photo at the top of this post, you can see these waffle dish towels from Food52. Though we use these “rags” all the time around the kitchen — wiping things down, drying, mopping up spills, etc — I like to have a more attractive towel hanging over the oven, and these simple waffle-weave ones are functional and also aesthetically pleasing. More of my Food52 favs here. You can get 20% off there with code Magpie20.

+My Alice Walk cape was restocked!

+Currently wearing these ultra-minis at my desk.

+This fleece is currently on sale for $31 and comes in the best colors/patterns. Love the snap front, too.

+Love these chalkboard labels for all of the random things we have in our pantry/fridge — Mr. Magpie is always pickling things, mixing his own spice blends, etc. These are great because you can just erase and write a new label when needed. Perfect for labeling the sides of Mason Jars (what we typically use for storage of these kinds of things), or these glass bottles for things like syrups, juices, etc.

+Earlier this week, I pulled out a past-season Cleobella dress to wear to dinner with my parents. I was reminded how much I love the patterns they release in fall in particular. This season, they have two really cute options — love this Western-inspired paisley one and this patchwork-inspired style.

+How adorable is this $25 quilted jacket for a mini?

+This Paris64 blazer is SO good. Reminds me of the more expensive styles from Blaze Milano.

+A great, reasonably-prcied striped beanie for a chilly morning. Imagine with a long tan topcoat!

+OK, after raving about the UBeauty lip plasma, I discovered that Hailey Bieber’s beauty brand, Rhode, has a similar product for $16 that people are raving about. Going to order to try and compare.

+Thank you for the moisturizer recs earlier this week! Next on my list to try: Clarins’ Multi-Active Day Cream (deeply trust Clarins – I’ve loved basically everything of theirs I’ve tried) and UBeauty’s super hydrator (pricey but was galvanized by the Magpie commenter who insisted this outperforms Augustinus Bader!)

+Love Minnow’s new cream striped knits for children. Perfect for fall. These are heirloom quality knits you will pass down from child to child, cousin to cousin, etc. Love that they’re unisex!

+I always have a few of these tucked into my gift closet for random moments. My daughter just completed a course of antibiotics for her first ear infection of the season (wahhh), and it’s great to have something small like this as a reward.

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