I may be done with banana bread. For a little while, anyway. We just need a break from each other. I may just be tired of the avalanche of bananas each time I try to locate something in the freezer. And in the fall, I do love the idea of baking with squash and sweet potatoes. And I always get this sense that I’m somehow taking care of everybody when I have a loaf baking in the oven.
Let’s keep that illusion going.
This is – yes – more of a cake. It’s dense and moist, and crackly on top. Somehow baking it in a loaf pan makes it seem more suitable for breakfast and snacking, but if you baked it in layers and slathered it with cream cheese frosting, you’d have yourself a pretty substantial cake. I cut back on the sugar, but it’s still pretty sweet. I’m quite sure, however, that most coffee shop baking is loaded with the good stuff – butter, sugar, oil – ignorance is bliss, right?
Oh hey! You can totally make this with grated raw winter squash – like butternut or pumpkin – in place of the sweet potato, too.
Zucchini & Sweet Potato Loaf
adapted from Bon Appétit, November 1992
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup canola or mild vegetable oil (or half oil, half applesauce or pumpkin puree)
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 1/2 cups grated peeled sweet potato
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla and add to the dry ingredients along with the zucchini and sweet potato. Add walnuts and stir just until combined.
Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour 20 minutes, until golden and the top is springy to the touch. Cool bread in pan on rack 15 minutes. Cut around bread to loosen. Turn out onto rack and cool completely. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil and let stand at room temperature.)
Makes 1 big, hefty loaf.