Easy Whole Grain Pumpkin-Banana Bread: best of both worlds

Hey, has this summer gone by fast, or what?

Kids are already heading back to school in many parts of the country, and Labor Day is less than 2 weeks away.

Which means it’s time to think about – gulp! – fall baking.

Did you know that by clicking anywhere on this block of pictures, you can enlarge them to full size? Go ahead, give it a try; it’ll work for any of our photos.

And fall flavors. Like apple. And cranberry.

And pumpkin – star not only of pie, but of some of our favorite muffins and breads.

Now, there are those who immediately think “yeast” when they hear the word “bread.”

And then there are those whose thoughts turn to “banana.”

Yeah, banana. As in banana bread, THE most searched-for bread recipe on the Web.

That’s right. As it turns out, when the world is looking for a bread recipe online, they want banana – not baguette.

So I’m thinking pumpkin bread, and then I’m thinking banana bread, and the cerebral neurons start firing – as still occasionally happens, even in us older folks.

Light dawns on Marblehead: Pumpkin-Banana Bread!

Why not? Both breads are tasty on their own. Their textures are nearly identical; and their flavors feel complementary, the mildness of pumpkin playing nicely with assertive banana.

Plus, both are easily converted to a 100% whole grain version – score!

Introducing Easy Whole Grain Pumpkin-Banana Bread, this fall’s newest bake sale, potluck, and hostess gift favorite.

Let’s start by preheating the oven to 350°F.

Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan.

In a large bowl, beat together the following:

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) soft butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs
1 cup (7 1/2 to 8 ounces, 1/2 can) puréed pumpkin
1 cup (8 ounces) mashed banana, the riper the better
2 tablespoons orange juice or water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add the following, stirring to combine:

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or Premium Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Stir in 1/2 cup diced, toasted pecans, if desired. Don’t like nuts? Nuts don’t like you? Leave ’em out.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with Praline Pumpkin Seed Crunch or coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.

Praline Pumpkin Seed Crunch – what’s that?

You know those crunchy burnt-sugar peanuts? This is the pumpkin seed equivalent.

Allow the batter to rest for 15 minutes, uncovered.

Bake the bread for 55 to 70 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven. A cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf will come  out clean; and that same tester stuck about 1/2″ into the top of the loaf won’t encounter any totally unbaked batter.

Do you have an instant-read thermometer? The bread’s temperature will be around 195°F about 3/4″ under the top crust.

Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack.

DO NOT cut this bread while it’s warm! It’ll crumble and seem gummy. When it’s completely cool, wrap it well in plastic wrap, and store it overnight before serving.

Is this 24-hour rest period really necessary? My, my, aren’t we impatient!

Since you’re the baker, I give you permission to slice yourself a small sample ahead of time – for tasting purposes only.

However, the bread’s texture and flavor really do benefit from an overnight rest.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Easy Whole Grain Pumpkin-Banana Bread.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We haven’t tried that, Barbara, but it sounds lovely and we definitely think you should give it a try! Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Prav, feel free to use 1/3 cup of oil instead of the 1/2 cup of butter in this recipe. No other changes need to be made. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  1. Beverly

    If you wanted to bake this like a 9×13 cake, would you need to increase the recipe? Change the temp/time? We have a church group that feeds local families as an outreach and I’m thinking of adding this to my idea box. I like the “baking ahead and resting” part for that reason.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I would recommend doubling this recipe if you’d like to bake it in a 9 X 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees, but the baking time should be less than the recipe calls for. I would start checking at 35 minutes and go from there. Check early and oven is a good rule to follow when changing pan sizes with a recipe. Barb@KAF

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