I sympathize with your sigh. I know, I know, banana bread is boring. Delicious yes, but come on - it’s EVERYWHERE. Does the internet really need another banana bread recipe? Especially when so many claim theirs to be ‘the best’.
But, hear me out. For years now, come October I have a day where I see brown-spotted-bananas on my counter but ahhh, it’s autumn and all I want is PUMPKIN bread, not banana. And inevitably, every year, the next thought that comes to mind is, what if I combine them? Banana’s bring that lovely sweetness and pumpkins give that soft texture I love. And pumpkin spice shouldn’t be selfishly reserved to pumpkins only, amirite?
So this year I finally said I’m going to crack it. I set to work examining 4 different banana bread recipes (the best of the best, obviously) against 4 different pumpkin bread recipes, to see what was common to both. My idea was to make one base for the whole bread, split it in half and stir in pumpkin to one and banana into the other then swirl the two breads together for a marbled effect. In my first batch, I had used only cinnamon and nutmeg and I got a lovely, if subtle, swirl. When I went full pumpkin spice with the cloves, ginger and allspice, I found the darkness of these spices made the swirl indistinguishable. Whichever you choose, I know you’ll love the combination of these two favorites.
pumpkin spice banana bread
You’ve heard this before but I’ll say it again - the browner the better. Have your bananas been speckled for a day or two? Wait another day or two. The more brown spots, the yummier your bread will be.
Like most cakes made with fruit and oil, this one is especially scrumptious the day after it is made. Store at room temp, in an airtight container.
Want to get that attractive topping? Place a peeled banana on its side and use a paring knife to cut about 1/4 of its width lengthwise. This firs step is to remove some unnecessary bottom weight that would otherwise cause the banana to sink into the batter. Now cut banana the same way a second time (also about 1/4 of its total width) and flip over (the middle is the prettier because it shows more tiny seeds) and put it on top of the batter once it is in its pan. Tbh, I actually did not like the soft mushy banana top post-bake so if you are not into that don’t bother. If you want it for the looks - go for it!
As I mentioned above, the swirl method works when you use just cinnamon and nutmeg. Once you add in cloves and allspice the darkness of those spices render the swirl indistinguishable. So if you are going for a spicier pumpkin spice flavor don’t bother with the swirling.
1.5 cups of flour (or more precisely, 180 grams)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼-½ teaspoon nutmeg (ground is fine but freshly shaved is divine)
1/4 teaspoon cloves (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ginger (depending on how strong you like it, optional)
1/4 teaspoon allspice (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup canola oil
3.25 oz pumpkin puree
⅛ cup water
2 bananas, mashed
Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a standard size, 9x4, loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar and oil.
If you are not going to swirl: Add the banana, pumpkin and water to your wet mixture and whisk to combine. Proceed to baking step.
If you are going to swirl: Add the flour mix to the wet, and gently combine with a whisk. The batter will be thick but don’t worry - we’re about to fix that! Divide your batter in half (I use a scale to weigh my batter so I know how to divide it but you can eyeball it) and:
To one half add the pumpkin, water and 1/4 teaspoon ginger. Stir.
To the other half add the mashed bananas. Stir.
Use a ladle or ice cream scoop to alternate adding the batters to the loaf pan in a checkerboard style - (banana on top of pumpkin, and next to pumpkin, and vice versa).
Use a butter knife to swirl the batter a couple of times (don’t over do it, two number 8s should do it). If you like, you can add a long slice of banana to the top.
Bake for about 50 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan and then remove to cool on a cooling rack.