Baked French Toast with Bananas, Walnuts, and Cacao Nibs | Cupcake Project

Baked French Toast with Bananas, Walnuts, and Cacao Nibs

Baked French toast is the lasagna of breakfast – prepare it in advance so you can lounge in your PJs with the rest of the family instead of being a stove slave stuck frying toast while listening to the muffled laughter of your family in the other room.

This baked French toast has three layers of goodness.  Its base is a warm, gooey mixture of maple and bananas (when serving, make sure to scoop all the way to the bottom of the pan so you don’t miss this part!).  The bananas are covered in a moist, eggy challah with a touch of ginger. The whole thing is then topped with crunchy walnuts and cacao nibs (or chocolate chips) and more maple.  Hungry yet?

Because this recipe is for French toast and not French cake, you can eat as much as you like guilt-free, right? 

Baked French Toast Recipe

I came up with my baked French toast recipe by adapting the banana praline French toast recipe at Inn Cuisine,which was adapted from Good Housekeeping and Donna Diegel, Providence Food Examiner.  The baked French toast recipe uses six eggs, so it was a great way for me to use up the eggs from the egg shells that I baked cupcakes inside of.

Baked French Toast with Bananas, Walnuts, and Cacao Nibs

Baked French Toast with Bananas, Walnuts, and Cacao Nibs


    For the banana base
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 C light brown sugar
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 3-4 ripe bananas, cut diagonally in 1/2-inch slices
  • For the bread
  • 1 loaf challah (approximately 21 ounces, or 1 pound 5 ounces), cut in 1" thick slices
  • For the custard
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 C milk
  • 1/4 C unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • For the nut topping
  • 1/2 C chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 C cacao nibs (shown in the photo) or chocolate chips
  • For the second topping
  • 2 tbsp maple sugar (regular granulated sugar would also work)


  1. Liberally butter a 14" x 8" baking dish and set aside.
  2. Prepare the banana base:
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix all banana base ingredients. Cook until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
  4. Remove pan from heat and pour into the buttered baking dish, spreading evenly as necessary.
  5. Atop the banana base, add challah - laying slices on their side and creating 2 (up to 3, if necessary) even, equal layers.
  6. Prepare the custard mixture:
  7. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, melted butter, sugar, vanilla bean paste, and ginger until thoroughly incorporated.
  8. Slowly pour custard mixture over challah slices, covering bread thoroughly.
  9. Using a large, flat spatula, firmly press bread slices down into baking dish until all slices have absorbed the custard mixture and layers appear evenly wet. The challah acts like a big sponge.
  10. Repeat this pressing process again, making sure bread is evenly soaked.
  11. Top casserole evenly with walnuts and nibs.
  12. Cover tightly with plastic wrap (or aluminum foil) and refrigerate overnight.
  13. When ready to bake in the morning, preheat oven to 350 F.
  14. Remove dish from refrigerator, uncover, and sprinkle top evenly with maple sugar.
  15. Bake for approximately 45-55 minutes, or until a knife inserted (in 2 or 3 places) near center comes out clean. I would err on the side of under-baking rather than over-baking. It's not as good if it gets dried out.
  16. Allow casserole to cool approximately 10 minutes before serving.


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9 Responses to Baked French Toast with Bananas, Walnuts, and Cacao Nibs

  1. Jess April 27, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    I’m a lover of bread pudding and this one looks amazing! I just made some this weekend actually and felt like it was slightly eggy, but since you’re recipe uses a few less eggs I think it will be JUST what I’m looking for.

  2. Kim April 27, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    Oh, I am SO going to make this! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Matthew Kadey MSc., RD April 28, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    This looks ridiculously good. You think you could adapt these to work in muffin cups for individual servings?

  4. Stef May 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    Matthew – You could, but I would suggest using silicone cups. Paper ones would get way too wet.

  5. buy rift account May 2, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    Great! love this one. . im pretty sure to make it on a weekend.=0

  6. Mike October 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    This recipe looks unbelievable!!!! Plus it’s made with cacao nibs one of my favorite food (and one of the healthiest on the planet!)


  7. Kim B. April 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    Amazing! I was looking for a way to use up the eggs and this is perfect! My son, however, does not like bananas and I was wondering if there was a substitute for it?

    • Kim B. April 7, 2012 at 9:58 am #

      Can you please respond soon? I was planning on making it tomorrow morning.

    • Stef April 7, 2012 at 10:50 am #

      I think it would be great with peaches or maybe pears – but I haven’t tried it.

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