Carrot Pineapple Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
If there’s something I love as much as banana bread, I also hold carrot cake very near and dear. It’s so moist and soft and I love the warming spices and flavors, and of course the mandatory cream cheese frosting. It gets me every time.
I made this bread when I was in Aruba in August and unfortunately a serrated knife got me and I sliced my hand open while slicing this bread immediately before taking the photos. Not my finest morning or photos, but the bread is some of the best I’ve ever had.
It was a 95 degree day in Aruba the day I baked this bread and adding crushed pineapple seemed like a fitting idea to go with the sweltering tropical heat inside my kitchen. The pineapple adds sweetness, a touch of texture, and moisture to the loaf.
I also added six ounces of pineapple Greek yogurt added to the batter. You can use plain or vanilla yogurt, or substitute sour cream. Don’t use watery thin yogurt because it won’t give the bread the body, fullness, or richness that a thicker yogurt will.
I also added one box of vanilla instant pudding to the batter. It’s optional, but three ounces of pudding mix intensifies the vanilla flavor and adds softness and tenderness. I stop at nothing to avoid dry bread.
Not that this loaf needed any help in the moisture and softness department because between the juicy carrots, gooey bananas, squishy raisins, pineapple and pineapple yogurt, it was falling-apart-soft.
A peek inside the mixing bowl: Melted butter, two kinds of sugar, two eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract are stirred
Then add: Mashed banana, crushed pineapple, raisins, and carrots. I like raisins in my carrot cake, no nuts. However, if you prefer to get nutty rather than wrinkly, substitute as desired.
Add the dry ingredients and you’re ready to bake.
I love the ease of this recipe. No mixer required, no creaming of butter and sugars, just a bowl and a spoon or whisk is all that’s needed. When I’m in Aruba, I have no mixer and no dishwasher and am especially mindful of how much elbow grease a batter requires and how many dirty dishes a recipe makes.
Eating carrot cake without cream cheese frosting is like eating popcorn without butter and should never be done. I doused the slices in cream cheese frosting that’s made with browned butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla.
If you’ve never browned butter, reviewing this information will help you create the rich, nutty-aroma, and amber-hued butter that’s so scrumptious. Watch the butter closely and stop cooking when the butter is browned, not burned, because burnt butter is like burnt tofu. The smell is hideous and lingers forever. As a shortcut, browned butter can be made in the microwave and I find it tastes no differently than the stovetop method, and it’s easier.
I am in love with browned butter and it makes frosting taste even better, richer, and more luxurious.
Although I baked this as one loaf, as I indicated in the recipe section, two loaves probably would have been better since two loaves may have baked more evenly than one. Baking it as a 10- or 12-cup Bundt will also work wonderfully. In the end, one loaf worked out just fine. In fact, of all the banana breads and cakes I’ve made for Banana Bread Fest, and this is week 5, this is my favorite to date.
Each bite has so much texture. Little bits of tender sweet carrots, shreds of tangy pineapple, chewy raisin chunks, soft sweet bananas.
The flavor is almost tropical from the pineapple yogurt and shredded pineapple. If I would have had any shredded coconut on hand, a half cup or so would make a scrumptious addition, but there was already plenty going on in this jam-packed loaf.
After slicing my hand open, I could not wait to both pour a mimosa and smear cream cheese frosting all over the insides of the bread, not just dotted on the top.
The more then merrier when it comes to frosting. Or mimosas.
Carrot Pineapple Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf. Note – I originally made this as one 9-by-5-inch loaf as shown in the photos but highly suggest dividing batter among two 8-by-4-inch loaves and reduce baking time by about 10 minutes; or bake as a 10- or 12-cup Bundt cake, adjusting baking time as necessary. If baking in one pan, you run the risk of uneven cooking and the center not cooking through properly and possibly overflowing your pan. Since these photos, I have remade this recipe many times and always bake it in two 8×4 loaf pans; two 9×5 pans will also work but bread will not be as tall.
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (half of one stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 ounces pineapple Greek yogurt (one standard-sized small container; vanilla or plain yogurt, or sour cream may be substituted)
about 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (1 large or 2 small bananas)
1/2 cup grated carrots, grated and loosely packed
1/3 cup crushed pineapple, with some of the juice
1/3 cup raisins, diced if they are large
1/3 cup diced walnuts, optional
one 3.4-ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix (not Cook ‘n Serve), optional see notes below
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
Preheat oven to 325F, spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan(s) with cooking spray with flour (I use Pam for Baking) or grease and flour the pan(s); set aside.
In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. To the melted butter, add the sugars, eggs, vanilla, and stir or whisk to combine. Add yogurt, bananas, carrots, pineapple (does not need to be squeezed and drained, some juice is okay and adds flavor), raisins, nuts, and stir to incorporate.
Add the dry pudding mix (Note: You are not making pudding; simply adding the mix as a dry ingredient. If omitting, you may wish to add an additional 1/4 cup granulated sugar and an additional 1/4 to 1/3 cup flour, based on taste preference and how your batter looks), add the cinnamon, and stir to incorporate.
Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or bread will be tougher as the gluten will over-develop. Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for about 65 minutes (this is for one 9-by-5-inch loaf), or until top is golden and set, and a wooden skewer, cake tester, or knife inserted in the center comes out clean. If bread is browning a bit fast on the top, you may wish to lower your oven temperature to 300F midway through cooking, at about the 30-minute mark if your oven runs hot or tent the pan with foil in approximately the last 20 minutes of cooking. Allow bread to cool in the loaf pan for at least 30 minutes before removing from the pan and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes just over 1 cup frosting
1/4 cup unsalted butter (half of one stick)
4 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups+ confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoons+ cream or milk, optional and to taste
You can brown the butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop, heating over medium heat. Swirl the pan or stir frequently for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the sputtering, crackling, and foaming has subsided, the butter has browned, and has a nutty aroma. Watch it closely so that it doesn’t go from browned and nutty to burnt and inedible.
Or, brown the butter in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl by heating it on high power, uncovered, for about 4 minutes, or until the sputtering, crackling, and foaming has subsided, the butter has browned, and has a nutty aroma. The same rules apply in the microwave as on the stovetop; watch it closely and start checking it approximately every 15 seconds starting at about the 3-minute mark, so that it doesn’t go from browned and nutty to burnt and inedible.
Transfer hot butter to medium-sized mixing bowl and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Add the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Based on desired frosting consistency and taste preference, add the cream or milk one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached, playing with sugar and cream ratios as necessary. (I only use butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla in this frosting, no cream). Drizzle or spread frosting over the top of the bread before slicing and serving; or slice, serve, and frost each piece individually. I prefer to use the frosting like butter and spread it liberally on the interior surface of a slice. Store extra frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Store unfrosted bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or store frosted bread in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Unfrosted bread may be frozen for up to 3 months.
Zucchini Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – Week 2 of Banana Bread Fest – Combining two of my favorite breads in one, with great bits of texture from the zucchini
Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Glaze – Week 3 of Banana Bread Fest – I love the combination of pumpkin and bananas and this was the first thing I made when back on U.S. soil and could get my hands on pumpkin puree
Spiced Apple Banana Bundt Cake with Vanilla Caramel Glaze – Week 4 of Banana Bread Fest – The cake is good but the glaze is my favorite frosting or glaze of all time, ever
Oatmeal Raisin Carrot Cake Bites (no-bake, vegan, GF) – Cookie dough bites were all the rage a few years ago and it inspired me to make carrot cake dough bites
Strawberry Banana Bread – Great little loaf and way to use fresh or frozen berries and ripe bananas
Do you like carrot cake or have a favorite recipe?
I almost didn’t post this recipe because I don’t like the photos, but have been watching the weeks tick by, and this post was getting older and older in my saved drafts. Before I talked myself out of posting it, I wanted to share the recipe because I just loved this bread so much.
Cream cheese frosting fan?
Huge fan. Hide the spoons when it’s around.
Feel free to link up your favorite recipes.
Thanks for the entries in the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies + KitchenAid Stand Mixer + $200 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card Giveaway