Frosted Banana Nut Bars

Yield: 16-18 bars
Recipe: 31/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 66

Frosted banana nut bars

    The incoming weekend could only mean one thing: time to bake and enjoy the weekend with friends! I wanted to make something sweet but light (ish) at the same time. I thus made these seemingly finger-licking good banana nut bars, with frosting! The bars by themselves are very good and savoury, but the frosting gives it that extra touch of sweetness and elegance. I really enjoyed these banana and nut bars. I am sure they will come in handy whenever I need to whip up a fast dessert that tastes and looks good. My only criticism is that the orange zest flavour is too present in the frosting and base for my liking. It almost overpowers the banana flavour. Then again, it may be that I unknowingly picked up some of the orange pith (the bitter white part of the skin) while getting the zest from the orange. Next time I will add less orange zest and I will thus enjoy them even more.

Ingredients for base:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated
  • ⅔ cup mashed ripe banana (equivalent to one large or two small bananas)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup lightly toasted walnut pieces

Ingredients for frosting:

  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup or so walnut pieces, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and line and 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, making sure that the paper comes up the sides (this makes it easier for removal).
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk the ingredients to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and orange zest.
  5. Add the mashed banana(s) and orange juice.
  6. Stir into this banana mixture the flour mixture and the walnut pieces until well blended.
  7. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly by tapping the pan hard on a flat surface. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool the room temperature in the pan, then transfer to a plate and remove the parchment paper
  8. For the frosting, beat the butter with 1 cup of the icing sugar until smooth. Stir in the orange juice, zest, vanilla extract and the rest of the icing sugar. Beat until the mixture is homogenous. Frost the top of the cake and sprinkle the walnut pieces on it. Let the frosting set, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 hour (or 30 minutes in the fridge) before slicing it into 16-18 bars.