The Beaver Club’s famous banana bread


The Beaver Club's famous banana bread is dark, dense and delicious

When I was in my late teens, and early twenties, we often traveled to Montreal to visit my brother Erik. It was during this time that I first met Millie and Zelica, two widowed sisters who were cousins of my grandfather’s. They were in their late eighties and early nineties when I met them, were full of fun and loved to eat out.  

Millie and Zelica were regulars at the Beaver Club, a swanky restaurant at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, and when we were in town they’d treat us to supper there. Those evenings were the most entertaining restaurant meals that I have ever experienced.  

The degree to which staff at the Beaver Club doted on my elderly cousins was a sight to behold. The staff adored Millie and Zelica and we all got to bask in the glow of that special relationship. 

The meals were always spectacular but what I remember most about the food was the selection of breads and pickled quail’s eggs that they’d bring to the table at the beginning of the meal: house made sourdough, rye and finger-sized slices of the darkest banana bread I had ever seen. Mom and I spent years trying to figure out the secret to its rich dark colour. 

Eventually Millie and Zelica were able to get the recipe, and we learned the secret: the bananas are pureed with the sugar (secret to the even colour) and the bread is baked at a low temperature for two and a half hours.  

The Beaver Club’s famous banana bread

Ingredients for two loaves (8”x4x3”)

  • 4 bananas, very ripe
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups flour (I use whole white)
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 7 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt

  1. Combine bananas, sugar and baking soda in the blender and whiz for one minute.
  2. Pour into a large bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, alternating with the flour.
  3. Mix in the oil and buttermilk
  4. Beat mixture for two minutes, until well blended.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pans (lined with parchment paper is best)
  6. Bake at 275 F for 2 ½ hours



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