Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
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Pumpkin Banana Bread — This pumpkin banana bread is topped with a homemade browned butter frosting. It’s super moist thanks to the mashed bananas, pumpkin, yogurt, and melted butter in the batter!
Creating This Pumpkin Banana Bread Recipe
Well, here you go. My first pumpkin recipe of the season and I’ve got many more where this came from. I’ve held off as long as I can, but now the pumpkin floodgates have opened.
This bread was the first thing I made after arriving home in San Diego after a month in Aruba. I had been dreaming about pumpkin anything the entire month of August in the 95F degree Caribbean heat and humidity. Go figure. All I wanted was pumpkin. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I made this smoothie and tried convince myself that was good enough. Sure, it’s a great fall-flavored smoothie, but it wasn’t pumpkin.
Like a pregnant woman who’s craving pickles and sends her husband out at 3am for them, I was a woman on a mission in search of canned pumpkin puree. I went to six grocery stores to find canned pumpkin, but came up empty handed. I knew I would, but I had to at least try anyway.
Pumpkin puree tends to be a seasonal item even in the US where it’s well-loved. Most other countries don’t get our obsession with pumpkin, and I pity international food blog readers who read US-based blogs for three months a year. We’re making pumpkin breads, smoothies, pies, brownies, and more, and it’s one big pumpkin fest and they can’t even buy it. Steaming, mashing, and pureeing squash or sweet potatoes is likely the closest substitute.
I had elaborately built up this recipe so much in my mind so much that I even had myself a little worried about what if it didn’t turn out like I had envisioned. Nothing like unpacking suitcases, doing vacation laundry, being jet-lagged, and rather than being concerned about the piles of mail and dust bunnies that had collected while we were gone, I was really only concerned about having success with this pumpkin banana bread. I had been fantasizing about it for what seemed like years.
All I had to do was get my hands on a can of pumpkin puree, which was easy because I knew I had two cans of Trader Joe’s pumpkin puree stashed in my cupboard from last fall. Pumpkin hoarders take note that you can stash away pumpkin puree for a couple years and still be safe in case you can’t get Libby’s year round in your area.
Luckily, this pumpkin banana bread turned out to be everything I wanted and more.
The golden top layer is the bread equivalent of a muffin top. Since I go around picking off muffin tops, you can use your imagine about what happened to the top layer on all the slices of this bread.
The bread’s flavor is equally balanced between pumpkin bread and banana bread. The moisture and softness level of the bread is out of this world. The addition of Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, bananas, a box of instant pudding mix, and a tablespoon of molasses not only all boost the flavor depth and profile of the bread, but each of those ingredients also tenderize it. If you’re a dry bread hater like I am, you have nothing to worry about with this loaf.
It’s also a snap to make. No creaming of ingredients, just stir everything into one big bowl, pour into a loaf pan, and bake. I’m sure you could bake the batter as muffins or in a Bundt or tube-cake pan, too.
To make this amazing loaf even better, I whipped up some browned butter cream cheese frosting. The tang of the cream cheese, the comforting and homey quality imparted from the browned butter, counterbalanced with the sweetness from the confectioners’ sugar make it a frosting that I slather generously on every slice.
I didn’t do it for the photographs because it looks like a big, white, smeary mess, but spreading the frosting all over the interior surface of a slice of bread, like you’re buttering a slice of bread, is simply divine and highly recommended.
What’s in Pumpkin Banana Bread?
For the pumpkin banana bread, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Light brown sugar
- Plain or vanilla yogurt
- Vanilla extract
- Pumpkin puree
- Vanilla instant pudding mix
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
And for the browned butter frosting you’ll need :
- Cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Cream or milk
How to Make Pumpkin Banana Bread
This pumpkin banana bread is a breeze to make! Simply whisk together the wet ingredients, then mix in the dry. You’ll want to let the melted butter cool for a couple minutes before mixing it in with the egg, otherwise you might scramble the egg by mistake!
Turn the banana bread batter into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the homemade banana bread is browning too fast on the top, you may wish to lower your oven temperature to 325F or tent the pan with foil in during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
Once the pumpkin banana bread is out of the oven, let it cool for a few minutes in its pan before turning it out to cool on a wire rack. While the bread cools, whip up the browned butter frosting. Slice the bread while it’s still warm, but not piping hot, and dig in!
Can I Freeze Pumpkin Banana Bread?
Yes, quick breads freeze well. To freeze this pumpkin banana bread, let it cool completely on your counter and then wrap it in plastic wrap or foil (note that you should freeze it without the frosting). When you’re ready to eat the frozen bread, set it on your counter overnight to thaw.
Can I Add Mix-Ins to This Bread?
Yes, you can add up to 1/3 cup of mix-ins to this pumpkin banana bread. Think: raisins, shredded carrots, shredded coconut flakes, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, etc. You don’t want to add too many mix-ins, otherwise your bread will overflow in the oven.
Tips for Making Pumpkin Banana Bread
If desired, enhance the pumpkin flavor by adding more pumpkin puree and cutting back on the mashed bananas a bit, or by adding a more generous amount of pumpkin pie spice. However, I wanted pumpkin-banana bread, not just pumpkin bread, and am pleased with the balance. I have another recipe coming for those who want unadulterated pumpkin bread.
Also, if you don’t have instant pudding mix in your area you can omit it. Although you don’t have to use pudding mix, it creates wonderful moisture and flavor in the bread. 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.
Finally, make sure you’re using real pumpkin puree in this banana bread recipe and not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling is sweetened and spiced and will throw off the flavor of this bread.
Pumpkin Banana Bread
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (half of one stick)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg
- 5 to 6 ounces vanilla or plain yogurt (one standard-sized small container; Greek-style preferred, or sour cream may be substituted; I use Chobani Vanilla)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsulphered molasses, optional
- 1 cup pumpkin puree*
- 1 cup mashed bananas (about 1 1/2 large or 2 small bananas)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/3 cup raisins, shredded carrots, shredded coconut flakes, nuts, or chocolate chips
- one 3.4-ounce box vanilla instant pudding mix (not Cook ‘n Serve)**
Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/4 cup butter (half of one stick)
- 4 tablespoons cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups+ confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoons+ cream or milk, optional and to taste
Make the Bread
- Preheat oven to 350F, then spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and flour the pan; set aside.
- In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute.
- To the melted butter, add the sugars, egg, yogurt, vanilla, molasses, and stir or whisk to combine.
- Add pumpkin puree, bananas, and stir to incorporate.
- Add the optional add-ins and the dry pudding mix (Note: You are not making pudding; simply add the mix as a dry ingredient).
- Stir in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and cloves.(All spices should be added to taste; if you like a heavier cinnamon or pumpkin-pie flavor, add more. If you don’t keep them all on hand, not a big deal; use what you do have)
- Add the flour and baking soda and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or bread will become tough (this is a fairly thick batter).
- Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for about 60 to 68 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 325F 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.
- 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 can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Make the Frosting
- 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 5 to 7 minutes, 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 every 15-to-30 seconds starting at about the 5-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.
- 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.
*I used Trader Joe’s pumpkin puree, which was thick, dense, and well-packed. If using another brand of pumpkin puree that is thinner, you may wish to increase the flour to 1 3/4 cups or slightly over, but at 1 2/3 cups flour my batter was already quite thick
**You don’t have to use pudding mix, but it adds wonderful moisture and flavor to the bread. 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 793Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 472mgCarbohydrates: 93gFiber: 4gSugar: 65gProtein: 7g
More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes:
Check out all of my pumpkin recipes here!
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The Best Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread — This pumpkin chocolate chip bread is truly the best homemade pumpkin bread you’ll ever make. It’s moist, packed with chocolate chips, and tastes like fall!
Pumpkin Spice Honey Cookies — The cookies are moist, supremely soft, with hints of chewiness at the edges, and their flavor is pure fall.
Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Bread — The cream cheese layer that runs through the bread is like having a layer of cheesecake baked into pumpkin bread!
Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies — These pumpkin oatmeal cookies are bursting with chocolate chips in every bite! They’re thick, hearty, perfectly chewy, and not at all cakey.
Pumpkin Lush — This is a layered dessert that begins with a slightly crunchy graham cracker crust, a sweet yet tangy layer of cream cheese, a layer of vanilla pudding that’s spiked with pumpkin, and it’s topped with whipped topping.
Pumpkin Crumb Coffee Cake – A FAST and EASY no-mixer coffee cake with rich pumpkin flavor!! Super soft, tender, and topped with the BEST crumble topping that you’ll fall in love with!
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