Feb 10, 2013

Banana Bread with a Heart...a surprise in every slice!

I still remember the first time I ate a piece of  Banana bread. It was after coming to the US and joining work, a colleague in office brought some home baked banana bread slices that his wife made and asked all of us to help ourselves. I was very intrigued by the thought of a bread made with Banana's and eagerly helped myself. I could very well taste the banana's, a hint of cinnamon and some roasted walnuts here and there. It was certainly a very tasty bread and I wished he had brought more :-)

Now have you ever heard of a Banana bread with a Heart? :-) Well the name says it all and much more! A surprise with every slice, this is by far my most favorite baking experiment. The beauty lies in its simplicity on the outside and yet it looks so grand and elegant on the inside! Eager yet to see what I'm talking about...read ahead and let's see how I got to making this.

Going back to my old basket full of overripe bananas. Trust me , for some of you this is getting to be the most annoying basket full of overripe bananas - aren't they over yet already?? I've been rambling about them for two months now :-) Don't worry, they are all over now. I apparently had 9 and you can check the various dishes I prepared to finish them herehere and here. And this Banana bread with a Heart was my final and ultimate preparation out of them I would say!!

Many of you must have seen my guest post for Priya and I made her a yummy Chocolate Banana Bread (Eggless). And I had promised to share a surprise at the end of the post...well the surprise is awaiting you...read ahead :-)

After I made the chocolate banana bread I remembered about a peek-a-boo cake I saw here...and then I though, why not cut out shapes from this bread , make another light colored loaf cake/loaf bread , use the cut up slices in that batter , bake in a loaf pan and then when you slice into the cake/bread you would see the lovely surprise in each slice!

So after taking some pics of the Chocolate Banana Bread, I went hunting in my cookie cutter box, looking for a cutter that would be of correct size to get a good portion of each slice. And guess what my Heart shaped cutter was just perfect! Even my cookie cutters know its Valentines season!! ;-)

So I sliced the whole Chocolate Banana Bread loaf and cut out Heart shapes from each slice of the whole loaf and kept them aside and we happily enjoyed the slices with the heart shaped hole :-P

And I went off to bake my next Banana bread (as I still had 3 more banana's to finish) - they were the last ones, I promise! :-)

The only difference between the Chocolate Banana bread recipe and this Banana bread recipe is that, instead of adding whole Oats, I powdered the oats and also added some coarsely powdered walnuts and almonds and made a regular Banana bread (eggless).
I added a small amount of banana bread batter in the greased and floured loaf pan and then placed my Chocolate Banana bread hearts in the centre , with each heart sticking to each other with some honey. Then I poured the rest of the banana bread batter on top and baked away and look at the gorgeous results!!

Now was that a good surprise? :-)
The bread was so spongy, moist and sweet with a lovely surprise in each slice! The home smelled of bananas and cinnamon while it baked...heavenly!
The tricky part about baking a Heart shape inside is that the pointed end won't stand up straight while assembling, so adding a little batter in the pan before assembling them gives a slight cushion to hold them straight.

And the most difficult part was waiting for the bread to cool down slightly before I could cut the Banana bread and to tell the truth I did hold my breath when I cut the first slice ;-)

Banana Bread with a Heart - Recipe and Technique
You'll need
For simple Banana bread
Ripe Bananas - 3 medium sized (about 6" long)
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
All purpose flour - 1 1/2 cups (feel free to use Whole wheat Flour)
Oats (powdered) - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Brown Sugar - 1/2 cup
Orange Juice - 1/4 cup (I added the juice squeezed from 1 whole Orange)
Oil - 1/2 cup  (canola oil or olive oil)
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Walnuts and Almonds (coarsely chopped) - 1/4 cup each
For the mini heart cutouts
Chocolate Banana bread - recipe here (Baked for 5 mins less than original recipe)

For simple Banana Bread batter
1. Preheat oven to 350F . Grease and flour a 9x5" bread loaf pan.
2. Sift together all the dry ingredients: All purpose flour , powdered oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder and salt, except for brown sugar and keep aside.
3. Mash the bananas with the lemon juice. In another bowl add the brown sugar, juice, oil, vanilla extract and mashed bananas and stir to mix well.
4. Now add in all the dry ingredients along with any chopped nuts and mix together until a thick batter is obtained.
For Chocolate Banana bread heart cutouts
1. Bake a Chocolate Banana bread as per recipe and don't fully bake it , so remove from oven 5 mins before its done.
2. Slice the whole bread with a serrated knife into 1" thick slices.
3. Take a heart shaped cookie cutter that will cover a good surface of the bread slice and cut out the heart shapes and keep aside.
For assembling the hearts
1. Pour some of the simple Banana bread batter in the loaf pan.
2. Take each chocolate banana bread heart cutouts, apply some honey to each slice and stick them together and place them in the center throughout the length of the pan (as shown).
3. Pour the remaining banana bread batter over them (make sure the heart cutouts are fully covered)
and bake for 55-65 minutes. (Mine was done at 55 minutes)
Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Can be covered and stored for a few days, or frozen for longer storage.

You can also do this with regular cake batter with two different colors or flavors.
Just keep in mind, that the cake that you are planning to make shapes out of (or planning to keep in the center) should be baked for 5-10 minutes less than actually stated - to avoid drying out when you bake them again within the other cake batter.

Manish was certainly amazed when he saw the heart shapes in each slice and happily helped himself to a few slices. I took these to office and my colleagues were quite surprised too and one of them was almost expecting me to do something like this as she thinks I can't make simple cakes , and certainly not a simple banana bread..Lol! ;-)

Happy Valentines Day wishes to all in advance!!



  1. what a lovely surpise :) happy valentines!

  2. wow. peek a boo? Like the heart shape inside. bookmarking it Manuju.

  3. How cute looks so perfectly gone Manju sure worth the wait ;) love it gonna try something similar soon

  4. so innovative idea .. bread looks perfect

  5. beautiful clicks.. loved the idea of hearts inside the bread, looks yummy..

  6. no words to say - WOW!!! vat an idea... loved that bread...

  7. What a lovely idea :) Looks super cute too..nice clicks dear...

  8. wow what an idea dear... so so superb n it s looks inviting...

  9. Lovely..Perfect for valentine..
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  10. Wow! Mindblowing..I wanna try this soon. Perfect for the season. Thanks for sharing
    Home Made Recipes

  11. beautiful cake :) very innovative..

  12. Looks very cute..Perfect idea too,Valentines treat aano??:)
    Yummy bake as well :)
    Love to see your recipe linked up in Flavors Of Cuisines-"Mexican"

  13. this is sooo cute and lovely!! You make it look really simple!!

  14. These are perfect Manju, as we started the lent (cannot use egg or any non-veg) and I have few overripe bananas sitting here. Its really a neat idea to have some cut out shapes in a loaf of bread.

  15. SO cute Manju..Loved the entire idea and the spirit you shown here..Superbly delicious as well.

  16. Super cute idea and cake! :) The effort must have been totally worth it :)

  17. A great idea! This lovely cake must taste wonderful.



  18. That is one cute loaf of bread with lots of surprise inside :) Admire the effort you have put in here...Happy Valentines day to you dear !

  19. I love the little heart that comes with each slice. Great job!


  20. Thank you all for such a lovely response and for all your sweet comments!!


  21. Now I am fully impressed!! What a clever idea. :) I love that heart in the banana bread. :)

  22. perfect and delicious.lovely idea..

  23. Happy valentines day Manju..I am sure u must have planned somehhting great for ur dinner so looking forward to see ur valentines recipes :)
    This looks super...u r a clever gal !Liked ur presenation with flowers :)

  24. happy valentine's day manju! clearly, you are celebrating in style with this cute bread :)
    i saw this technique on pinterest and i have been trying to track down who invented it coz it's so pretty and genius!

  25. You are indeed very creative! Perfect for Valentines. Loved the cute hearty surprises in it :)

  26. Very nice job on the surprise inside the brownie. Looks professional and super good. Beautiful pictures too. Happy Valentine's day to you too.

  27. Cute and lovely treat for V day...Beautiful..

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