What happens to classic banana bread when you swap in sweet rice flour? The result is neither wholly mochi nor traditional banana bread—it’s a lovely in-between, decidedly familiar with a fun textural twist. Baked in an 8×8-inch pan, this bread gets its pleasant springy texture from the sweet rice flour (a common brand is Mochiko, available at Japanese markets and online), while retaining some cakey qualities via the all-purpose flour. This pancake recipe similarly uses a combination of the two flours, to get the best of both worlds. Melted butter, sour cream, and brown sugar provide the tenderness and richness you’d expect from banana bread, in the form of plush, snackable squares.
I also wanted to eliminate some of the common hassles (or perhaps my own gripes) with banana bread. What if you don’t have three to four bananas lying around, for example? Or lack the patience to wait upwards of an hour for fresh-baked bread? Problem solved: This recipe conveniently makes use of a single banana and spends less than 30 minutes in the oven, a godsend when I want something sweet and comforting, stat.
Like other banana bread recipes, there is ample room for variations. Substitute earthy whole-wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour, or sprinkle the bread with chopped walnuts or toasted coconut before baking for a pleasant crunch. Just be sure to include any additions on top of the cake, rather than mixed into the batter, to allow the unique texture of the bread to shine through. —Joy Cho
one 8×8-inch cake
(2/3 cup) glutinous rice flour, like Mochiko
(1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
medium to large banana, ripe (about 110 grams peeled)
(scant 1/2 cup) granulated sugar
(1/4 cup) light brown sugar
(1/2 cup/1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
(1/4 cup) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
large egg, at room temperature
Chopped toasted walnuts and/or toasted coconut, for topping (optional)
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, line the pan with parchment paper, and grease the parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the rice flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, mash the banana with a fork; some small chunks are fine. Add both sugars and whisk until combined.
- Add the butter, sour cream, egg, and vanilla to the banana mixture and whisk until completely smooth.
- Sift the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, then whisk just until no flour patches or lumps remain. Take care not to overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a small offset spatula. If desired, sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts, toasted coconut, or whatever toppings you’d like.
- Bake for 25 to 27 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely before cutting into squares. This will keep for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container.