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Cream Cheese Banana Bread
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Kick up a classic quickbread with a fast and fresh recipe for Cream Cheese Banana Bread swirled with a tangy cheesecake-like filling.
We’ve covered nearly every mix-in and topping when it comes to banana bread, from nuts and fruit to chocolate and peanut butter. And given my love of cream cheese in all things baked (ahem, Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies), I am quite surprised it’s taken 806 recipes (!!!) to get us to this point. And what point is that?
Four words: Cream Cheese Banana Bread.
It’s sweet. It’s tangy. It’s moist. It’s the perfect balance of banana flavor and creamy consistency. And it took me three different technique attempts to land on this perfectly marbled, sensationally swirled version.
I first attempted to simply layer banana bread batter with a single stripe of cream cheese (read: cheesecake) filling smack-dab in the center. This caused two issues:
- The banana bread loaf never rose to its full potential given the girth of said layer of cream cheese filling.
- The banana bread never really baked through because the cream cheese filling interfered with the classic “insert a toothpick” trick to test for doneness.
So for my second attempt, I went for a slightly marbled version. But then the issue was that the cream cheese filling was resting on top and you weren’t really getting that creaminess in every bite. And we need creaminess in every bite.
So that leaves us here, with Cream Cheese Banana Bread perfection. And it all comes down to a few swipes with a good ol’ knife…
By layering intermittent dollops of both the banana bread batter and the cream cheese filling, you get that dense, and yet ever-so-moist cheesecake flavor and consistency throughout the entire loaf. You also get a banana bread loaf with a solid rise and a visually pleasing swirl of two complementary colors.
Were all technique attempts edible? You better believe it. But this final recipe test proved that the third time’s definitely the charm, especially when it comes to the best banana bread.
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Cream Cheese Banana Bread
For the banana bread:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed well
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the cream cheese filling:
- 5 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
Make the banana bread:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper so that it hangs over on the longer sides then grease the parchment paper with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Set the batter aside.
Make the cream cheese filling:
In a small bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, egg, sugar and flour. (Alternately, use a handheld beater to combine the ingredients.)
Add 1/3 of the banana bread batter to the prepared loaf pan then alternately add dollops of the cream cheese filling and remaining banana bread batter to the pan. Using a knife, swirl together the mixture.
Bake the bread for 50 to 60 minutes until the top is set. (If the bread is getting too dark around the edges, you can tent the pan with foil and continue baking.)
Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before using the parchment paper overhangs to lift the bread out of the pan and onto a rack to cool completely. Slice and serve.
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