Grandmama’s Hawaiian Nut Bread


I was so honored when Amanda Dobbs sent me this recipe, along with the story of her dear Grandmother who makes it for her. I know you’ll enjoy reading about the fascinating Mrs. Molcie as much as I did, and we’ll all be thankful for her every time we have this wonderful bread! 

Mrs. Molcie Dobbs


“Molcie Dobbs is a phenomenal woman. As a twenty-two year old (mind you, the age I am now), my grandmother had moved out of her family home and took a man’s job driving a forklift at TCI, the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company. She put in an application every afternoon until she got the job, of which she knew nothing about.

There she met my grandfather, fell in love, and started the wonderful family I belong to. Her Hawaiian Banana Nut Bread is just like her—an average old-fashioned favorite, a kind that looks just like every other one on the outside. However, once you slice it open and experience it, you notice that there is something distinctly different and special about it, and her. Grandmama has been making this bread for about as long as I can remember. She uses this recipe to show her talent and her appreciation for numerous people around the community, including the garbage man who would pause his work just to roll her garbage can back to her house for her.

She is known for her Hawaiian Banana Nut Bread around our family and acquaintances; however, I know her for much more than that. Grandmama has taught me more about hard work, true love, and the importance of  independence as a woman than I could have ever asked for. Every time I see banana nut bread, I think of Grandmama and how her special twist makes a very ordinary recipe extraordinary—just like Grandmama makes my very ordinary life that much more extraordinary, just by being in it.” ~Amanda Dobbs, Molcie’s Granddaughter

Mrs. Molcie’s Hawaiian Nut Bread
Dry Ingredients
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teapoon salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
Wet Ingredients
  • 3 whisked eggs
  • 2 cups mashed bananas
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tsp coconut extract, to taste
  • 8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
  1. In large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.
  3. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir with a spatula just until moistened.
  4. Pour into 2 greased and floured 5x9 inch loaf pans.
  5. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from pan to the wire rack and cool completely. Makes 2 loaves.

If a child shoots an arrow that reaches the top of a tall palm tree, then it must be that an elder person carved the arrow for him.

~Nigerian Proverb


Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Christy's email list and receive all her new posts directly in your inbox


  1. John Myers says

    Oh My gosh! This is almost like my hummingbird cake recipe:
    Hummingbird Cake

    3 cups All purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 cups sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    3 eggs, beaten
    3/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 (8-ounce) can CRUSHED pineapple, undrained
    1 cup chopped pecans
    13/4 cups mashed banana
    Cream Cheese Frosting
    1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat, Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.
    Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 23 to 28 minutes, or until a pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; run a knife around edges of all 3 pans and remove cakes. Cool completely on wire racks.
    Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle toasted pecans over top.

    Cream Cheese Frosting

    1/2 cup butter or margarine ( softened)
    1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (softened)
    1 16 ounce package powdered sugar (sifted)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Cream butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar; beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Yield: about 3 cups.

    I will have to try the bread recipe just to see! Thanks Christy.

      • says

        Southern Living published it but did not come up with it. They are currently seeking out the originator (according to their Facebook page). As a former editor at large for Southern Living I’m pretty familiar with their recipe publication process and they are usually (and rightfully) credited with helping spread recipes about and often given credit for them as a result.
        A few of my recipes that were originally published under my name in the magazine have appeared in their cookbooks with the same titles, photos, and word for word instructions but the credit is no longer listed, so I can see how people would think they originated the recipe. Once something is published in the mag, it generally becomes a “Southern Living recipe” and they share it as they such.
        Either way, it was sweet of you to share your recipe John and I’m sure we all appreciate it!

  2. says

    From Facebook:

    Beth- This sounds so yummy and Mrs. Molcie sounds so special.

    Judy – What a lovely story, and a beautiful tribute of love and adoration to a Grandmama from her granddaughter!! The recipe sounds delicious too!! Thanks for sharing, and may this story and tradition carry on for many, many years within the Dobbs family!! What a lovely tradition it is!!!

  3. says

    Sounds delicious…gotta try this immediately!

    Loved the write-up: “Molcie Dobbs is a phenomenal woman. As a twenty-two year old (mind you, the age I am now), my grandmother had moved out of her family home and took a man’s job driving a forklift at TCI, the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company. She put in an application every afternoon until she got the job, of which she knew nothing about.

    Determined lady as most of us are! :-)

  4. says

    Oh, my goodness! This recipe sounds delightful. Thank you, Mrs. Molcie, for being a shining light in your community and family — and thank you, Amanda, for letting the rest of us learn about your grandmother! I sure miss my grandmother, whom we called Mom and who made the best chocolate-on-chocolate cake around. 😉

    I’ll be making this Hawaiian nut bread over the weekend — I foresee several gift recipients in my future :)

  5. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says

    I just made some banana bread this morning and it’s okay, but I sure wish I had seen this recipe first! Definitely going to try this one next time – the combination of flavors sounds amazing!

  6. Wanda says

    I have been making this for over 30 years, minus the coconut. Found it in an old cookbook published by Bell Telephone employees, I think! Hawaiian Banana Nut Bread. My favorite food gift because everyone I give it to, loves it and wants the recipe. Made it for my 82 yr. old aunt last year and she threw her old recipe away and had me write this out for her. I loved that. : )

  7. Judy says

    Thanks to everyone involved for this delicious sounding recipe. I LOVE banana bread and have always looked for a recipe that was a little more special than all the rest. I believe this is it!

    Amanda, your Grandmother sounds delightful and I don’t think the apple (or
    maybe banana in this case) fell far from the family tree!

  8. says

    I may not comment often, but I do “wander around” and read your posts just to see what you have going on and to pick up some awesome recipes like this one. Thanks for sharing – I may have to make this one on Friday … then my daughter can take it back to her dorm on Sunday for a “group share”

  9. melanie says

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe and story, you can just feel the love and pride. The recipe shoulds so good I would make it tomorrow if I had the bananas, funny thing I almost bought some today even had them in my buggy and changed my mind. I should have went with my first feelings..oh

  10. Shelby says

    Made this minus the coconut for many years labeled “Banana Bread Cake”.
    Just last year realized it was the same recipe as “Hummingbird Cake.”
    Good recipe no matter what it’s called. Thanks

  11. Denise in Dallas says

    This is a banana bread that my husband would eat! I am making it today. He also said that it’s a hummingbird cake; I’ve never had one of those. Thanks Christy and Thank God for Grandma’s!

  12. Beverly Cabral says

    Wonderful story of Grandmama Dobbs! The recipe sounds delish. My dear husband loves to bake and often bakes banana bread, but this sounds so much more special. Will have to make it and surprise him!

  13. Tena Garcia says

    I absolutely loved the story. It brought back so many memories. I can certainly remember all the wonderful times with my grandmother. How blessed we are when we have such a wonderful grandmother and mother! I am now a grandmother, and I try every day to be the best grandmother that I can be. Thank you for bringing back the precious memories.

  14. Debra Dian Turner says

    My sister, Denise, an avid fan of Southern Plate, made this wonderful bread as a housewarming gift for my son and his wife yesterday. Along with this delicious bread she brought bread cloth made and embroidered by another sister. I am so thankful that the granddaughter of Grandma Molcie shared her memories and the recipe. I will be making this recipe today for a dear friend. This just shows what Southern Plate is about, sharing good food, wonderful families and love!! By the way, I rate this as a 5 star recipe

  15. Debbie Zonca says

    Christy, can this recipe be frozen? I do a lot of baking for our church coffee fellowship hour….we freeze items and then the volunteers can serve whatever they find in the cupboard(freezer). I’m not sure about freezing coconut or pineapple.

  16. Yvonne Howard says

    I made this Banana nut bread recipe for years,without the coconut.Also made the hummingbird cake .I realized they were the same on one Christmas cooking binge and I made both that was a duh moment. Lol still. The recipe I used came from an Arkansas home extension cookbook.I love to give the bread at the holidays.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *