Tired of banana bread? 10 easy bakes for overripe fruit

Wrinkly apples, mushy pears and sad-looking grapes deserve a second life, and what better way than baking them into breads and bakes. In fact, just as overripe bananas add extra sweetness and moisture to a cake, so other overripe fruits can be valuable ingredients in their own right.

Fruit purées are often used as a replacement for sugar or fat, or for adding much-needed moisture to a cake. We simmer pears into purées, add grapes to focaccia and turn whole clementines into delicious cakes with this round-up of our favourite recipes using overripe fruit.


Clafoutis is a brilliantly versatile batter-based French dessert that will accommodate pretty much any fruit you wish to add to it. Combine 250ml of milk, 3 eggs, 100g of sugar, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of melted butter, then whisk in 60g of plain flour. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes or so, then pour into a greased baking dish and sprinkle in your chosen fruit. Grapes, berries, cherries, pear, or apple would all work well here. Bake at 180ºC for around 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. 

Whilst rhubarb isn’t technically a fruit, you can easily adapt our Vegan Rhubarb Clafoutis recipe to suit whatever fruit you have to hand!


Bruised, mushy pears can be used to add sweetness and moisture to cakes, breads and muffins, or as a replacement for oil or butter. If your pears are really starting to turn, make a purée. Chop them up, removing any larger bruises and the cores. Add to a pan with a pinch of cinnamon and a splash of water. Simmer to a thick purée. If you don’t plan to use it immediately, freeze it. Or try it in...


Sweet pear purée replaces sugar in these vegan muffins. Place 250g of your pear purée into a food processor or blender with 100g flour, 60g tahini, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth, then divide between muffin cases. Bake at 180ºC for 30 minutes, or until risen and golden.


Follow the same principle of pear purée for wrinkly apples. Cook them down into a purée and bake into Smitten Kitchen’s Applesauce Cake, which will stay moist and delicious for several days.


These autumnal, crispy cinnamon bites are super easy and a great recipe to try with kids. You can try this with either apples or a surplus of pineapple. Chop your apples or pineapple into small pieces, mix into the batter and fry spoonfuls in hot oil. Delicious sprinkled with sugar and eaten around a bonfire. Try this recipe.


Figs and almonds are a Mediterrannean match made in heaven. Beat 200g butter and 200g caster sugar until light and fluffy, beat in 3 eggs one by one, then fold in 50g plain flour and 125g of ground almonds. Scrape the mixture into a greased tart tin, then dot halved fresh figs on top. Bake for around 35 minutes at 180ºC until golden. Alternatively, roast a glut of figs in the oven with a sprinkling of brown sugar and serve up with toasted flaked almonds, yoghurt and a drizzle of honey.


Got an excess of berries? Simmer them into a compote with a little sugar and swirl your cake batter for a beautiful, vibrant loaf cake with pockets of tangy, sweet flavour. Try this Orange Berry Loaf recipe.


You may think of focaccia as a strictly savoury bread, but in Tuscany, they bake a sweet version during grape harvest, lightly seasoned with rosemary. A wonderful way to make the most of an abundance of overripe grapes, try our focaccia recipe.


Use the whole clementine, peel and all, in a simple bake. Wash 2 clementines in hot water, then simmer in a pan for around 30 minutes. Drain and cut into quarters, remove pips, then blend into a purée. Beat 250g caster sugar and 5 eggs together, then fold in the clementine purée, 250g ground almonds and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Bake in a greased round cake tin at 180ºC for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden. Recipe from the National Trust.


This tropical bake is a great store cupboard recipe. Make a compote with fresh pineapple by chopping and adding it to a pan with a good splash of water (or juice) and a sprinkling of sugar. Simmer until broken down into a sauce. Combine 250g self-raising flour, 200g sugar and 450g of pineapple purée, then tip into a greased cake tin. Bake for around 45 minutes at 180ºC until golden. Serve with simple lime icing, if you like.