Cheery Cherry Banana Bread

My first and favorite recipe for banana bread, half healthful with whole wheat flour and wheat germ, made special with poppy seeds and bright-red maraschino cherries. A 2003 column published online for the first time.

Isn't it pretty?!

Nutrition experts cite super-size portions as one reason why Americans put on pounds.

I recently came upon a new baking pan that cuts the portion size of quick breads in half, just like that. The pan holds the same volume as a standard bread pan but is shallower and longer, about twelve inches long, allowing for more slices.

(2009 update: So sorry, this pan has been discontinued by King Arthur, too bad, it remains my very favorite.)

A half-inch thick slice from the long pan feeds up half the calories as one from a standard bread pan. The longer size is especially perfect for rich quick breads but when the weather cools off, I’ll be trying it for bread too.

ALANNA's TIPS: Watch if your grocer puts out too-ripe-to-sell bananas at a much-reduced price. For a moister banana bread, let your bananas sit out for a week or more to ripen; the peels will become almost black, the fruit soft and aromatic. Store wheat germ and whole wheat flour in the frig or freezer to retain freshness. The maraschino cherries are optional but add color and texture contrast to the bread. If you like this bread fresh, try it lightly toasted too!
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (or 1/3 cup milk plus 1 teaspoon vinegar)
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 jar drained maraschino cherries, optional

Cream butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and combine well. Add buttermilk and bananas and combine well. Stir together dry ingredients and mix into wet mixture; do not overmix or holes will form during baking. Stir in cherries. Bake in a lightly greased bread pan at 350F for 30 – 40 minutes. Let cool before slicing.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per slice, assuming 12 slices: 194Cal; 5g Protein; 11g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 20g Carb; 2g Fiber; 135mg Sodium; 83mg Cholesterol; Weigh Watchers 4 points

Speaking of super-sized portions, who's seen the 2004 documentary Super Size Me? I couldn't imagine becoming LESS excited about the fast-food chains that appear at every turn. This very watchable movie has even turned my teenage nephews off McDonalds drive-throughs. The DVD should be easy to find but if you'd like to watch it for free, right on your computer, check out, my latest non-food obsession! No special software required, just click watch and there it is!
How ripe should bananas be for baking? See these pictures of ripe bananas.
While it's possible to find poppy seeds in the spice aisle at the grocery store, they're very expensive there. Instead, watch for large bags of poppy seeds at an international market with imports from the Mideast or Eastern Europe.
This column was originally published in 2003, it is published online for the first time in 2009.

Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via
Never miss a Kitchen Parade recipe: Sign up for a free e-mail subscription.
How to print a recipe on Kitchen Parade.
If you like Kitchen Parade, forward this recipe to a friend who might too!

More Favorite Quick-Bread Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Autumn Pumpkin Bread Black Walnut Bread Quick Brown Bread
~ more quick bread recipes (scroll down)~

More Recipes for Bananas

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Banana Oatmeal Cookies Shhh Banana Bread Oatmeal with Whipped Banana

What to Make with Poppy Seeds

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Lavosh - Armenian Cracker Bread Strawberry Spinach Salad Cheery Cherry Banana Bread (above)

Recent Favorites from A Veggie Venture

If you like Kitchen Parade's recipes, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, visit A Veggie Venture, my food blog, home to the Alphabet of Vegetables where there's a vegetable in every recipe and vegetables in every course.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

© Copyright 2003 Kitchen Parade

These (slices) are so cute and the bread looks so yummy! ^^ I love how the little cherries look like kissing lips!
This looks good. Do you have a recipe for a maraschino cherry and walnut bread? A friend used to make it a lot and I lost the recipe she gave me.

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna