Red Velvet Banana Bread {from scratch}


Updated 10.10.21.

Here’s what I said about this recipe back in 2015:

I was positive that SOMEONE before me had made red velvet banana bread, and I was right. I found a whole slew of recipes for red velvet banana bread … made with a red velvet box cake mix. Gross! If you know anything about me you know that in most instances I detest shortcuts like boxed cakes or brownies or canned biscuits. (I do make some exceptions every once in a while.) So because in my brief internet search I did not see that anyone had paved the made from scratch way before me, I decided to make my up my own recipe. Sorta. It consisted of finding a good looking chocolate banana bread recipe and adding a tablespoon of red food coloring (the gel kind – because it adds better color than the liquid kind). How simple does this sound? So simple, right?

So this recipe could possibly use a slight tweaking. For starters, I thought that it could be a tad bit sweeter. However, I’d also topped the loaf with bittersweet chips (wouldn’t do that again) and some of those sunk into the middle. Because the bread wasn’t as sweet as I would have liked, the bittersweet chips didn’t pair well. All in all, it was a great first run. It was perfectly moist, chocolate-y and banana-y, which is really all that I was looking for in my starter loaf.

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When I recreated this recipe in 2021 I remembered that it needed more sugar, so I added more sugar. The batter didn’t seem thick enough for a banana bread recipe so I also added additional flour. I thought I was doing well until after I took it out of the oven and the damn loaf completely sunk in the middle. No – I didn’t test it with a toothpick before taking it out of the oven but I did jiggle the pan and it didn’t appear to really jiggle … that much anyway.

So I reevaluated the recipe and did some research on baking soda. I decided to lower the temperature and slightly reduce both the baking cocoa and the baking soda amounts because I couldn’t figure out the exact amount of baking soda needed for ¼ cup of baking cocoa.

The result? A loaf that puffed up in the oven and did not sink in the middle when I pulled it out. While it got sorta brown/black-ish and crispy on the ends of the loaf, the second piece from the end was completely moist. I almost never eat the end piece of quick bread anyway because it’s almost always too dried out so it’s not like this recipe was some sort of exception.

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Additionally, I’ve noticed that red velvet recipes can dry out if baked too long so I try to under-bake red velvet anything. Actually whether red velvet or not my preference is to under-bake slightly. For this recipe, because I lowered the heat and because I didn’t want the bread to sink in the middle, I ended up having to bake the bread a lot longer than what makes me comfortable. I was certain that although the bread didn’t sink it would be dry throughout the loaf.

The real amazement to me was that the chocolate chips (semi-sweet, regular sized) did not sink to the bottom of the loaf of bread. Any time I use chocolate chips bigger than mini in quick breads, they typically tend to conglomerate at the bottom.

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ingredients.

  • 1-½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 3 T.  natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  •  ½ c. (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1-½ c. sugar 
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 c. mashed very ripe bananas, from 2 to 3 small bananas (save any remaining banana for garnish)
  • ½ c. sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 T. red gel food coloring
  • ½ c. semi-sweet, mini or milk chocolate chips, plus additional for garnish 

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directions.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour (here I use cocoa powder) a 8 ½ x 4 ½-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk until there are no lumps in the cocoa powder and the mixture is well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl or electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each addition and scraping down the sides. Add the sour cream, bananas, vanilla and red food coloring, stir until the food coloring has been incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and stir gently until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Do not overmix.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips and sliced banana (if any leftover) on top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 1 hour and 20 or 30 minutes. Let the loaf rest in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to cool completely.

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Recipe rating: 

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