Recipe: banana bread with cardamom and chocolate

Sliced banana bread

You may have noticed on my social media that we saw the new year in over in Kerala in India. There is going to be a some more ‘what I did on my holiday’ on here over the coming months, but I am here today to talk about banana bread!

It was a busy holiday – seven stops in 15 days. But absolutely everywhere we went, there was always a slice of banana bread to be had! Either on the breakfast buffet, with tea in the afternoon, or both! So to come home and be bereft of banana bread was a bit of a downer.

I’ve been making banana bread for years. The original recipe was given to me by my friend Nic and I twiddle with it! This time, I decided to add a touch of chocolate and cardamom – both of which were grown on an organic spice farm we visited in Thekkady. But I definitely don’t want it to be a chocolate cake so it is just a hint of cocoa.

Cardamon pods, bag of cardamon pods and cardamon powder

The cardamom pods we brought back smell amazing. We use cardamom quite a lot, but it was obvious when I opened the new packet that our current ones had lost their potency. I do, however, struggle to grind cardamom seeds down so I have also bought a small packed of ground cardamom from Spice Kitchen, for when I bake with it. That too smells amazing and fresh, so I am tucking that away with my baking ingredients. When you are using cardamom in sweet recipes, be gentle. Too much and it can taste a bit too floral for my liking. So go in small and you can always up the quantity the next time you make it. Also, you can just leave it out. I think it is fab, but if you don’t have it in the house, the loaf will still be delicious without it.

Can anyone tell me why we only get the big bananas over here (the Cavendish banana)? Small, sweet bananas were most common in Kerala, and we also had some slightly bigger with orange flesh. And they all seemed far sweeter than those we can get in the UK.

Previously I would totally blend the banana into the cake. However, tasty as that is, it seems to always leave the cake soggy, nay claggy, in the middle – no matter how long it is baked for. So this time I have blended half and left half as chunks and it is perfect.

This cake is best served mid-afternoon with a cup of tea (I occasionally drink tea now too – India changed me!) or as part of a leisurely weekend breakfast. Either way, take a moment and enjoy a little slice of Kerala!

Banana bread load
Cardamom chocolate banana loaf
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins

A great snack any day of the week – it is light and fluffy. Try lightly toasting it too.

Course: Dessert
Keyword: Banana, Cake, Cardamon, Chocolate
Servings: 8
Author: Claire Thomas,
  • 2 bananas
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 100g Stork or butter at room temperature for butter
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 200g plain (all purpose) flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom seeds from 3-4 green pods if grinding your own
  • milk
  1. Preheat oven to 170c, line a 2lb loaf tin and make sure everything is at room temperature.

    Cut one banana in half longways, and then into pieces approx 1cm thick. Roughly break the other in to quarters. 

  2. Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and crush them using a pestle and mortar or, as I do, with the end of a rolling pin. 

  3. In a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, mix the sugar, butter and the roughly quartered banana until smooth. 

  4. Add the eggs and beat gently. Scrape down the bowl if necessary. 

  5. Add the flour, baking powder and ground cardamom and fold in until all just mixed. If you think it is too thick, add a splash of milk.  Add the banana pieces and stir through gently so as not to break them up. 

  6. Tip into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out mainly clean. Allow to cool if you can. Slice thickly and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

This type of cake is also nice very lightly toasted under the grill. Dare I even suggest a touch of butter spread on top! 

Leave out the cardamom if you wish – maybe try it next time!

Pinterest image of banana bread on cooling tray
Pin for your new afternoon treat!

I’m linking this up to #CookBlogShare – check out the link for all the recipes.

Posted by Claire

She eats. She drinks. She cooks. She travels. She learns. She tastes. She bakes. A foodie with exceptional taste! Always looking for the best food and drink producers from far and wide. Chocolate brownie queen. Judge: International Cheese Awards. Cheese fiend! Travel lover. What better way to discover new food, than to travel to it. Massive fan of The Archers. Crazy cat lady and proud. NW England / Manchester / UK Twitter & Insta: She_Eats_Blog Facebook: SheEatsBlog


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