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Bahlúa Bread

Say what?

Let’s put it this way – “Bahlúa Bread” is far snappier than what I might otherwise have long-windedly referred to as: “Banana Bread With Rum And Walnuts But This Time Without The Rum And Walnuts And With Kahlúa And Macadamias Instead“. Bit of a mouthful. A tasty mouthful, to be sure, but I’m betting that you’d prefer a mouthful of cake, and not quite such a mouthful of words!

Ripe bananas

Ripe for the baking

So, Bahlúa Bread, then. A creation which starts with a little bit of neglect. This can be a good thing, at least where bananas are concerned. The specimens pictured above had reached that stage of bananahood where it’s my personal preference not to consume them au naturel anymore, but where they become perfect candidates for banana bread. Now, there are any number of banana bread recipes out there. In recent weeks alone, several tasty looking versions have come my way. There was Kickpleat’s version with chocolate chips and ginger, Gastroanthropologist’s go-to banana bread cake with oats, coconut and walnuts and BellyRumble’s mini banana breads with poppy seeds and lemon drizzle. And then there’s the recipe that I have always ended up going to in these ripe banana situations. A wonderfully moist cake involving dark rum and walnuts and which comes from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess book and, prior to that, from Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book: Recipes from an American Childhood.

This time, though, while I may have been in possession of the requisite ripe bananas, I had nothing like a sufficient quantity of dark rum. While surveying the alternatives, my gaze came to rest on something which had also been suffering from some neglect, namely a bottle of Kahlúa. According to the description on the label, this dark, sticky coffee liqueur from Mexico boasted “delicate notes of rum, vanilla and caramel wrapped in a roasted coffee flavour”. That, I thought, will do nicely. The minute I started heating the fruit and kahlúa mixture for the recipe, I was left with the distinct feeling that banana breads in this house might just be made with kahlúa from now on…

Not your regular Banana Bread

Bahlúa Bread

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Bahlúa Bread: Banana Bread with Kahlúa

So here it is. Sticky and moist. Fruity and nutty – though, if you’re likely to be feeding this to anyone with a nut allergy, steer clear of the nut additions, obviously. Even better would be to go and read a very sobering post written by Michael at Herbivoracious (and which you can read here) on understanding potentially deadly food allergies, such as those that some people have to nuts. It’s recommended reading.

You’ll need:
  • 175g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 150g sugar (I used unrefined demerara)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • around 4 small, very ripe bananas (approx 300g weighed without the skin) – mashed
  • 75ml kahlúa (or dark rum or bourbon)
  • 100g sultanas
  • 125g unsalted butter, melted
  • 60g macadamias (or walnuts), chopped
You’ll also need:
  • A 2 pint loaf tin (measuring approx. 23cm x 13cm x 7cm, greased and floured or lined with a paper insert)
The Steps:
  • Put the sultanas and kahlúa, rum or bourbon in a smallish saucepan and bring to the boil. Then remove from the heat, cover and leave for an hour or so or until the sultanas have absorbed most of the liquid (and you’ve had a chance to enjoy the aroma!)
  • Preheat your oven to 170C.
  • Put the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a medium bowl and combine well, using your hands or a wooden spoon.
  • In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended.
  • Beat the eggs into the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, then beat in the mashed bananas.
  • Stir in the chopped nuts, soaked sultanas and vanilla extract using a wooden spoon.
  • Now add in the flour mixture, about 1/3 at a time, stirring well after each addition.
  • Scrape the mixture into a loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 to 1 and 1/4 hours. When it’s ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out fairly clean.
  • Leave in the tin on a wire rack to cool.
The Variations:
  • As I was eating this, and inspired by Kickpleat’s description of her banana bread with ginger, I thought perhaps that a ginger dimension could work in this too, though I have yet to test that theory…


  1. Tangled Noodle

    Brilliant!! Spud, you are one of the reasons I wrote my newest, self-pitying post – I’m green with envy over your easy ability to conjure up such delightful fare! BTW, overripe bananas never looked so pretty.

    Funny thing – I saw “Bahlua” and thought, “Oooooh! A traditional Irish bread!” 8-)

  2. veggiebelly

    I love banana bread! The kahlua and macadamia sound great!

  3. Heather

    yum! i love banana bread and am always looking for fun new additions to this. it sounds delicious :D

  4. Stacey

    Another yummy recipe! You are killing me all the great bread recipes.

  5. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie

    What a scrumptious late night virtual snack for me :) It looks excellent and I love the name!

  6. Jenni

    Um, so where did all your rum GO, exactly?!

    I must admit, I am not a banana fan, but I think your Kahlua spin might just make me a convert. Sometimes necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention meets someone-should-have-thought-of-this-years-ago. And that makes for a VERY good day!

  7. Daily Spud

    Tangled Noodle: maybe this could become a new Irish tradition :)

    veggiebelly: I certainly enjoyed that combination :)

    Heather: it is indeed a fun and tasty addition…

    Stacey: killing you in a good way I hope :)

    Natasha: thanks – isn’t the internet great for virtual snacking?

    Jenni: I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it may incriminate me… :) Now, about the cake, you could try cutting down the mashed banana to about 2/3rds of the amount – it’ll still be moist but the banana flavour is less in your face. The kahlua flavour, on the other hand…

  8. OysterCulture

    All I can say is, wow – this sounds awesome! I bet the smells wafting from the oven were incredible.

  9. ned

    Hello Daily Spud!
    This is a completely non-foodie question, but I love the theme for this site, in particular the menu layout, and was wondering how you do the separate menu part in your posts?

  10. zerrin

    What a rich cake! Photo is great! A very fragile piece of cake tempting me.

  11. Daily Spud

    OysterCulture: the smells were good even before it got to the oven :)

    ned: hello and welcome! as to the layout question, I defined some custom styles for my theme which I use for displaying recipes (so I add special html tags around the recipe text within the post) – I will confess now that my day job involves web development, so mucking about with web styles and html is fairly familiar territory for me

    zerrin: thanks – glad I could tempt you :)

  12. healthy ashley

    This bread sounds so interesting! I love banana bread so I’m sure I’d enjoy the twist. Great photo of the naners :)

  13. kickpleat

    i’ve made banana bread with rum, but never kaluha! i love it!! i’ll try this version next.

  14. The Duo Dishes

    Kahlua? Yes please! Macadamias? Uh duh! All of those ingredients sound like the tropics have hit Ireland in a good way.

  15. greg

    This is great. This is fabulous. Whenever my bananas get a little past ripe I stick them in the freezer. There they languish until there are so many I have to start tossing them, or (as is the case today) I get inspired to make banana bread. My overly full freezer thanks you. GREG

  16. Rico

    great Banana bread it must be really tasty …loved it thx 4 sharing it

  17. Iisha

    I should just keep my browser pointed to your site at all times. You have the BEST recipes on this place.
    Oh, and I think that the “…this time without Rum and Walnuts….” would have been fine.
    A big fat poopy face for those who wouldn’t have liked it!

  18. Daily Spud

    Healthy Ashley: welcome and thanks, it is a very nice twist on regular banana bread :)

    kickpleat: hope you enjoy it!

    Duo Dishes: gotta make up for the lack of tropical weather hereabouts :)

    greg: oh good, I’m so pleased for you and your burgeoning freezer!

    Rico: thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed your visit!

    lisha: why thank you, I blush :) as to the naming, yeah, you’re right – as long as it tastes good, who cares? :)

  19. megan

    i found you through the Queens forum. Love the twist in the banana bread using Kalhua amd macadamia nuts. Not that fond of regular banana bread but love when there is a spin on it, like this. Stumbled!!!

  20. Daily Spud

    Hi Megan and welcome! Thanks for the stumble…

  21. Marc @ NoRecipes

    Catchy name. I just made some banana bread tonight and am kicking myself for not adding rum. I guess I could always douse it with rum as a glaze:-)

  22. Daily Spud

    Dousing it with rum sounds good to me, Marc!

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