This is without a doubt the best Banana Bread that I have ever had! I love banana bread right out of the oven or several days old toasted with a little dollop of butter. With a nice hot cup of coffee there is nothing better to start my morning. I fell in love with this bread several years ago when my sister-in-law baked it for breakfast Christmas morning. I just could not stop gushing over how moist and flavorful it was and could not wait to get home and try the recipe. After making it many times I have gotten it to the point of perfection.
This bread appeared on the front cover of Southern Living January 2005. After you try it you will know why. It is fabulous as I and many of my baking friends can attest to that fact. I’m pretty sure that there are many reasons for this perfect tasting bread. Here is what I learned while baking banana bread. Bananas have a lot to do with it. Some have written that the more ripe the bananas are the better, but I really think that freezing the bananas is the trick. I always freeze bananas that would not be good to eat otherwise. Just peel them and pop them in a freezer bag. When taken out of the freezer and brought to room temperature you have bananas and some great banana “extract”. That’s what I think adds the great flavor. Next there is a mixture of cream cheese and butter that without a question leads to the moistness and nice crumb of the loaf. Lastly, the toasted pecans just add that next depth of flavor. And yes they are added to the batter and then as a topping. Nothing could be better.
In my attempts to make this recipe I have failed in my eyes many times. But, in the eyes or should I say mouths of GI Joe and The Athlete they think that all my attempts were fabulous. That is just because they love me and don’t want to hurt my feelings. Really they are afraid if they complain that they will have to cook! They would then starve! Using my large Kitchen Aid mixer did not work well. It is a mixer with a lot of power and easy to work the dough too much. Using my small hand mixer resulted in a better product. In testing three different types of loaf pans I found that my Wilton pans with a dark finish worked best if I lowered the temperature by 25 degrees and reduced the cooking time to 55 minutes. Using my Pyrex and my corningware loaf dishes seemed to dry out the bread even when I reduced the temperature and time. You have to remember that your pans and oven are going to differ from the recipe, so you too may have to play around with the recipe until you get it right! Here are the step by step photos:
Mix together butter and cream cheese until fluffy.
Add sugar and add 2 eggs one at a time . Mix well after each egg.
Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Last stir in bananas, toasted pecans, and vanilla.
Pour batter into to greased and floured loaf pans.
Place 1/2 cup toasted pecans on top of the batter.
Bake for about 55 minutes.
Top with icing made with powdered sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice after cooling for 10 minutes.
Then try with all your might for an hour before cutting so you will have perfectly sliced pieces of cream cheese banana bread!
Cream Cheese Banana Bread from Southern Living
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 8-oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas about 4 medium
- 2 cups of toasted pecans, divided Toast nuts at 325 degrees in a rimmed pan for about 15 minutes. Watch carefully they can burn easily!
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Beat butter and cream cheese until creamy.
- Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, 1 at a time. Beating well after each egg.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. gradually add to butter mixture. Beating just until blended. Do not overbeat. You will make the bread tough if you overbeat the mixture.
- Stir in bananas, 1 cup of chopped nuts, and vanilla.
- Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. I used 9×4 inch pans. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of toasted pecans to the top of each pan
- Bake at 350 degrees. Reduce temperature by 25 degrees if using dark or glass pans.
- Bake for about 55 minutes. Adjust your time according to what type of pans that you are using. Dark colored pans as well as glass pans cook faster. I used dark pans. Other types may take a longer cooking time.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
- Stir together 1 cup of powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest until blended. Drizzle evenly over warm bread.
- Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack.