Friday, August 28, 2015

Cream Cheese Filled Banana Bread

Super moist cream cheese filled banana bread with cacao nibs.
So moist I am doubting myself if I have under- baked this. 

To date, I have baked a good amount and variety of banana bread. But, baking a layer of cream cheese into the banana bread is totally new to me. I was expecting a creamy, lava-flow like, tangy cheese layer but was met with a more solid, flour-y, sweet layer. On hindsight, I should've incorporated some graham crackers in (or on?) this banana bread to make it a full-on fusion of cheesecake and banana bread.

Cream Cheese Filled Banana Bread
recipe adapted from Averie Cooks
makes one 9x5" loaf

1 large egg
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed *used a little less brown sugar and filled to 1/2 cup with granulated sugar/cinnamon mix
1/4 cup liquid-state coconut oil
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
1 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
Optional: 1/4 cup cacao nibs or nuts

Cream Cheese Filling
1 large egg
4oz cream cheese, softened
1/4cup granulated sugar
3tbsp AP flour

bread batter and cream cheese filling
ready to bake!
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line one 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, set aside.
2. In large bowl, add the egg, sugars, coconut oil, greek yogurt, vanilla, and whisk to combine.
3. Add mashed bananas and stir to incorporate.
4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, optional salt, and fold with spatula or stir gently with a spoon until just combined; don't overmix; set aside.
5. Turn about two-thirds of the batter out into the prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula and pushing it into corners and sides as necessary; set aside.
6. In another large bowl, add egg, cream cheese, sugar, flour, and whisk until smooth and no large lumps. Alternatively, mix with a hand mixer.
7. Evenly pour filling mixture over the bread batter, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula and pushing it into corners and sides as necessary.
8. Top with remaining batter, smoothing the top very lightly with a spatula as to not disturb cream cheese layer and pushing batter into corners and sides as necessary.
9. Bake for about 48 to 50 minutes or until the top is domed, golden, and the center is set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
10. Allow bread to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving. 

*Bread will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

To be honest, I am disappointed with how this bread turned out. I had great expectations after seeing the photos of them and imaging the taste and texture in my head. 

First of all, the top is not domed. A domed top makes all the difference.. At least to me, the bread is thousand times more appealing. I love a toasty hard crust. Next time, I want to try this recipe from Entertaining with Beth. Ah, just look at that domed top.. 

The sweetness was also a bit overwhelming and one noted to me. I omitted the original 1/4 cup granulated sugar in the batter and still found this cake to be too sweet for my liking. I should've taken into account of the over ripen (sweeter) bananas and the additional 1/4 cup in the cream cheese layer. If I ever make this again, I would need to reduce it more to make it breakfast appropriate and mom friendly. In addition, the cream cheese layer needed a bit more tang to highlight it. Some lemon juice or zest would help.

The spontaneous addition of cacao nibs, suggested by Ip Man, was nice and toned down the sweetness a bit (but not enough).

The texture of this bread was between moist and mush. The top half of the cake was a bit soggy and mushy, while the lower half was just right. I sprinkled turbinado raw sugar on top prior to baking hoping for a nice crispy crusty domed top, but well,, it didn't turn out quite as planned. 

Taste: 3 stars out of 5
Too sweet; cream cheese layer lacked tang and a pop of flavor
Texture: 3 stars out of 5
Good moist bottom layer, but soggy/mushy on top; cream cheese layer too dense and dough-y. 

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