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Making Banana Bread Using Cake Mix: Is It Doable?

Making Banana Bread Using Cake Mix: Is It Doable?

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I like banana bread for breakfast as much as the next guy, but I have one gripe with it. The ingredient list is too long.

So, is it possible to make the same delicious treat with half the ingredients or less?

Fortunately, that’s doable if you know how to make banana bread using cake mix.

In this post, we’ll go over how a box of cake mix can cut the hassle out of the equation. We’ll also take a look at the best pan and flour choices for making banana bread.

How to Make Banana Bread Using Cake Mix

Are you ready to turn a regular box of cake mix into two loaves of banana bread that taste just like the ones made from scratch?

Let’s dive into our recipe!

What You’ll Need

For the basic recipe, you’ll only need the following four ingredients:

  • A box of yellow cake mix (check the tips section for alternatives)
  • 3–4 Mashed bananas (medium-sized)
  • 3 Eggs
  • ⅓ Cup of oil (melted butter works fine, too)

Isn’t that such a short list compared to the typical from-scratch banana bread recipe?

We have the cake mix to thank for that—it cuts the need for flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, and baking powder.

The Steps

Roll up your sleeves and get started on the banana bread-cake mix hybrid.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease and lightly flour two 8×4-inch loaf pans.
  3. Empty the contents of the cake mix box into a large bowl.
  4. Add the eggs, oil, and mashed bananas into the bowl and mix.
  5. Pour the banana bread batter evenly into the greased pans.
  6. Bake for 50 minutes or until the toothpick test shows you that the center is done cooking.
  7. Let the pans sit on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before removing the loaves.

Pro Tips

If you want to take your banana bread-cake mix recipe to the next level, check out these three pro tips:

1 – Don’t Slice the Loaves Right Away

Once you take the pans out of the oven, the smell will be irresistible, and you’ll want to dive right in.

However, you should never slice a steaming hot loaf of banana bread. It’ll crumble!

After taking it out of the pan, let it sit out for 2 hours or so. Then you can slice without worrying about crumbling.

Some people also recommend using a serrating knife and cutting slowly in a sawing motion to keep the slices intact.

2 – Tweak the Recipe to Your Liking

The yellow cake mix works well for this recipe because bananas and vanilla are a perfect match, flavor-wise. That doesn’t mean that it’s your only option, though.

Here are some alternatives to consider:

  • White cake mix
  • Devil’s food cake mix
  • Spice cake mix
  • Lemon cake mix

Plus, you have plenty of room to customize the batter with chocolate chips, shredded coconut, chopped walnuts, and peanut butter swirls.

That said, I’d recommend giving the basic recipe a shot to get a taste of how banana bread and cake mix work together before tweaking things around.

For instance, some people go for a couple of drops of vanilla, even though many cake mixes already have vanilla. That’s because they’ve tasted the basic recipe and felt that it needed a stronger kick.

Similarly, you could opt for a sprinkle of cinnamon, sugar, or both if you’re not happy with the basic flavor.

3 – Pick Only Ripe Bananas

Much like regular banana bread, this recipe needs ripe (or even overripe) bananas to shine. If it’s too brown and squishy for you to eat raw, it’s perfect for making bread.

Can You Make Banana Bread in a Cake Pan?

Yes! Although most banana bread recipes (from cake mix or scratch) call for loaf pans, you can still make do with a regular cake-baking dish.

For reference, two 9-inch round cake pans will be enough to replace two 8×4-inch loaf pans. So, you don’t even have to bother doing the math for the batter volume.

The only catch is that the bake time will need adjustment, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Why Make Banana Bread in a Cake Pan?

Since loaf pans are the norm for banana bread, you might be under the impression that using a round pan is a compromise. However, there are actually a few perks to look forward to, including:

  • Bakes Faster: Shallow cake pans increase the surface area exposed to heat compared to loaf pans. This way, you can finish up the banana bread in half the time or even less.
  • Less Risky: Because the surface area is increased, you’re less likely to burn the top. Meanwhile, you might have to use foil over loaf pans to prevent over-browning.
  • Feels Fancy: If you’re bored senseless of sliced banana bread, why not bake it in a round pan and eat the same treat as neat and thick wedges?

That being said, the reduced bake time can backfire if you’re not careful.

Your recipe might say that the batter needs 40–55 minutes to bake, but that’s assuming that you’re using a loaf pan. If you wait that long with a round cake pan, odds are, you’ll end up eating a burnt mess.

To be safe, I’d recommend setting the timer for 15 minutes and doing the toothpick test. If it comes out wet, let the banana bread bake a bit longer, but keep a close eye.

What Other Pans Can You Use?

While baking banana bread in round cake dishes sounds tempting, it isn’t the only valid alternative to the good-old loaf pan.

Here are a few options to consider the next time you can’t find any loaf pans in your kitchen:

Pan TypeYield/SizeEstimated Bake Time
Muffin tray12–18 muffins15–20 minutes
Tube pan9-inch1 hour
Square cake pan8-inch (replaces a 9×5-inch loaf pan)35–45 minutes
Bundt pan10-inch (for a slightly altered recipe)40–45 minutes

Keep in mind that the exact yield might change depending on the size of the cake mix you’re using.

Plus, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can try other bakeware and see if it works for your banana bread recipes.

Just make sure to check how the volume compares to the typical loaf pan that most recipes rely on before you mix the batter. You might have to chop the ingredients in half or double it, depending on the pan you choose.

Can You Use Cake Flour for Banana Bread?

Yes, you can use cake flour to make banana bread.

Why? Well, believe it or not, banana bread is technically a cake.

All in all, the result would be finer and less stringy than if you used other flour types. While it’s all subjective and up to preference, some would say that this fine texture makes cake flour the best pick for banana bread.

Of course, those who opt for our cake mix recipe variation won’t have to worry about the flour type, anyway.

However, if you’re making the whole thing from scratch, you might want to check out how cake flour compares to all-purpose and bread flour.

Cake Flour vs. Bread Flour

Compared to bread flour, cake flour isn’t all that protein-rich.

Now, the reason why protein content matters is that more protein means that your bread will end up with more gluten. Gluten, in turn, creates a dense and chewy texture.

Is that a bad thing? Well, since banana bread leans more toward the cake category, you’ll probably want to avoid the kind of thick texture in your batter.

So, as weird as it is to say, cake flour can be a better choice for banana bread recipes than actual bread flour.

Cake Flour vs. All-Purpose Flour

All-purpose flour has more protein (10–13%) than cake flour (7–9%), but it’s still nowhere as dense as bread flour.

Overall, all-purpose flour works fine for banana bread. In fact, it’s what most basic recipes call for because it’s widely available and gets the job done.

However, if a fine texture with a light crumb is what you want, you can always replace all-purpose flour with cake varieties in your recipe.

A 1:1 volume-based swap ratio isn’t ideal, though. That’s because cake flour is lighter.

For instance, if you measure up one cup of all-purpose flour, you’ll be using 4.5 ounces. Yet, the same cup would only take 4 ounces of cake flour.

To work around this hiccup, you’ll want to add two more tablespoons of cake flour for every cup.

Final Thoughts

It’s possible to make two loaves of banana bread using a box of cake mix, a few ripe bananas, some eggs, and a bit of oil. In this case, you won’t have to add flour, sugar, salt, or baking powder to your batter.

Yellow cake mix is a strong contender for this recipe, but devil’s food and spice cake mixes also make decent variations.

Just remember to be patient and give the loaves enough time to cool down before you start slicing!

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