Bake

Pumpkin Banana Bread With Toasty Pecans

September  6, 2022
5 Stars
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes
  • makes one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf
Author Notes

If you’re fond of banana bread, and also have some affection for its pumpkin brethren, have I got a treat for you. Pumpkin banana bread is the loaf cake you did not know you were missing. It brings so much to the table, and yet is as understated as they come. This loaf-cake hybrid has all the cozy banana flavor, coupled with an incredibly soft, moist crumb, that you’ve come to expect from a loaf of classic banana bread, but with some subtle, can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it autumnal vibes in the background. That’s the pumpkin, of course, plus a little cinnamon and ginger in the mix as well. And did I mention that it’s studded throughout with deeply toasted pecans? It is and you’re welcome.

I like brown sugar in this bread, as its signature caramel/molasses flavor is just perfect with both bananas and pumpkin. The oil keeps the bread moist for days and is the easiest fat to grab when baking a cake, but you can substitute melted butter, if you’d prefer. The spices help the pumpkin really sing, but leave them out or amp them up, if you so desire. Same goes for the pecans: I think they’re genius here, due to their flavor and texture, but if you are not pro-nut, or would prefer a different one (walnuts perhaps?), go for it. Interestingly enough, mashed bananas and pumpkin weigh the same and behave very similarly when baked, so feel free to add more of one or the other; just be sure not to change the total amount you use (1½ cups/340 grams per loaf).

Finally, in order to streamline the assembly of the recipe, add your leavening, salt, and spices to the wet ingredients and the flour, on its own, as the last step. This allows you to avoid dirtying an extra bowl and helps ensure the flour doesn’t get overworked, which could otherwise result in a tough cake. Bottom line loaf cake lovers, this bread is the best of so many worlds (be they banana, pumpkin, spiced, or nutty) and if any of those worlds light you and your taste buds up, there’s a very good chance it is soon to become your everything.
Jessie Sheehan

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup mashed bananas, about 2 medium very ripe ones
  • 3/4 cup pure pumpkin purée
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan with oil. Line the bottom with a large sheet of parchment paper that extends up and over the two long sides of the pan.
  2. Whisk the sugar, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl until well combined, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the egg and then add baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt, whisking vigorously. Whisk in bananas and pumpkin. Gently fold the flour and the pecans into the wet ingredients with a flexible spatula until the last streak of flour disappears.
  3. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Generously sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway point, until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with a moist crumb or two.
  4. Let cool for about 20 minutes until you can safely lift the loaf out of the pan by the parchment overhang without burning yourself. Run a butter knife around the edges if it resists. Let cool to room temperature before serving. Keep the bread tightly wrapped on the counter for up to 3 days.

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Bio: Jessie Sheehan is the author of The Vintage Baker and Icebox Cakes. Her new easy-peasy baking book, Snackable Bakes, hits shelves in spring 2022. She contributes to the Washington Post, Bon Appétit, Food Network, and the Kitchn, among others.

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