The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Problems with Banana Loaf Cake

fendibaker's picture

Problems with Banana Loaf Cake

Hi everyone! As a quick intro, I’ve newly discovered the fun in baking and have been experimenting with new recipes that I’ve found online. Recently I’ve been baking plenty of quick breads and loaf cakes. However I’ve found that some of my bakes seem to have an undercooked texture or gooey base. But upon inspection and tasting, it seems fine but a little too moist.

Im hoping that I could get some guidance or advice from all the advanced and experienced bakers here! I look forward to the wisdom from everyone. Thanks in advance!

idaveindy's picture

Welcome to TFL!

Looks like you have a convection oven.

Try loosely tenting the pan with aluminum foil so that the top cooks more evenly with the bottom. The hot air currents are cooking the exposed top before the lower inner portion gets cooked. The top crust hardens/sets and prevent sufficient moisture from being cooked off or escaping out the top.  (With a pan, the top surface is the only place the inner moisture can exit.)

Tenting will likely necessitate baking a little longer.

You can remove the foil at some point, maybe 1/2 to 2/3rds of the way through the longer bake, so the top browns.

Be sure to rotate the pan, either 180 degrees once, or 90 degrees two or three times.

Also, the pan should be resting on the standard wire rack in the oven, not a stone or a baking sheet.

If your oven lets you use the bottom heating element only, without fan/convection, that would be better, and probably no tenting with foil would be needed.

Good luck, and bon appétit.

(credit goes to Mini Oven who taught me some of the above. She is TFL's baking goddess.)


albacore's picture

Good points from Dave and when baking this type of cake I always insert a smooth metal skewer when projected baking time is nearly up and check that it is coming out clean. For most cakes I find that the recipe specified baking time is wrong - you usually need longer.

I take it you are using a proper metal tin and not a pyrex one?


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

shiny or dull or dark.  Dark pans help bake the bottoms bake better, getting that heat where it belongs.  Lowering the shelf maybe.  Also lowering the oven heat helps if the top bakes faster than the bottom in a shiny pan and it takes just a little longer as previously noted.  

I know with my dead banana bread, I bake it till it looks right and then have to foil tent it to finish 'cause I sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top before scoring and baking.  Don't want the sugar burnt but I won't trade the aroma in the house for anything!  I also use a dark tin.  Rim of the pan is level with the center height of the oven.  I also use a wooden scewer to test.  MIL uses a knitting needle.  Sometimes a thin knife or a toothpick.  You can also touch the top and see if its still swimming on the unbaked dough or the cracks are moist.  I will do both, first the touch then the stick just to confirm my finger tip touch sensors are in good condition.  :)

Photo looks good enough to eat!

P.S. no goddess, humble goodness hopefully.

ShimonMor's picture

I was going to post the exact same question and then saw this post so I hope it's ok to piggyback.

Reading through responses, it appears the consensus is an oven issue. 

However, in my case, it's not a convection oven, I was using a metal 9x5 pan (USA Pan, aluminized steel) on a lower rack and using only the lower element and I have a secondary thermometer in the oven (I set 370F to achieve 350F), oven was preheated and baked the bread for 75 minutes until internal temp was 205F.  Applied an aluminium foil tent at 30 minutes but took it off at 50 minutes as it was really fully browning.  The top and bottom came out very nice and brown and the bread was delicious and moist other than the gooey, dense part at the bottom.

Recipe is the King Arthur Whole-Grain Banana Bread which I followed correctly other than used KAF whole wheat flour instead of the white whole wheat flour.  Bananas were very ripe.  Baking soda and powder are only about 3 weeks old so should be fresh.  Eggs were only a couple of days old (we have our own chickens).

I'm fairly confident the baking was ok and was wondering if it could be that the bananas added too much moisture or weight which compressed the bottom and prevented it from cooking properly?  Or am I wrong and it actually is the bottom just didn't bake before the top did?  I had this same issue with another recipe I tried a couple of weeks ago.  

Apologies if consolidating my problems with someone else's is a breach of etiquette. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Check the oven floor to see if a second baking sheet is resting on the bottom of the oven.