Sunday, October 17, 2010

HCB - Many-Splendored Quick Bread

This week's challenge for the Heavenly Cake Bakers was extra special. Not only did I make this week's Many-Splendored Quick Bread, I got to bake it with Marie, in her kitchen. Cool huh?! It was a lot of fun and Marie is just as funny in person as she is in her posts.

Left to right: Jim, Marie, and Woody

Jim is such a nice guy. He was switching between taking picture for Marie and myself, and at the same time, trying to stay out of our way :o) Woody (you can find his picture on page xii), also joined us, just as we were about to put our loaves into the oven. I very much enjoyed his stories about working with Rose. What a lucky guy he is!! You can find Marie's description of this bread and more pictures of our "bake-event" on Marie's blog.

Splendid indeed!
This quick bread intrigued me. I've had banana bread before, carrot bread and zucchini bread. But I've never had a quick bread that combined all three elements. I was very curious how that would taste.

The batter comes together very quickly. It's oil-based which is already at room temperature. Since I didn't have Muscovado sugar, I used brown sugar; dark brown sugar, that is. I just love the flavor of dark brown sugar which its deeper caramel undertones, compared to its lighter counterpart. Walnuts are a no-no for me due to allergies so I simply omitted them.

Instead of baking one big loaf, I baked 3 mini loaves. This makes it easy to give a loaf away or to freeze it. Smaller loaves also require less baking time, so after a mere 35 minutes, I got this:

Three beautiful mini loaves
After a 10 minute rest on the cooling rack, I inverted the breads out of their pans and let them cool. Not long after that, Marie's loaf was done baking. While the loaves were finishing their cooling process, we enjoyed a Lemon Cake I had brought with me as well as a cake Woody baked that morning. Unfortunately, I can't show you a picture of Woody's cake because it's top-secret (really!).

A slice of my Lemon Cake for everybody (Woody later had another piece - yay!)
Once we finished eating those cakes, we thought we had waited long enough :o) We cut a few slices from Marie's loaf as well as one of mine.

Doesn't that look pretty?

Bon appetit!
And to show you how much we had baking and chatting together, I decided to share this picture with you :o)

Woody sneaking up behind Marie while she's getting ready to show us her loaf :o)

Final thoughts/tips:
  • This bread has a wonderful banana flavor that shines through. It's soft and moist, without being "wet". I couldn't taste the carrot or the zucchini, so I'm thinking their job was to lend moistness to the bread, as well as give the bread those beautiful colors.
  • Hubby loved this bread. He said it was soft and moist, and gave it a 9.5 out of 10. Yes!
  • Next time I make this (and there will be a next time!), I would add some spices. My favorite spices for these types of breads are: cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of cloves. Another thought is to substitute toasted almonds for the walnuts. Lastly, I think orange zest pairs really well with carrots, so that could be another variation.


  1. Ohhh lucky, not only Marie, but Jim! and Woody! And your bread looks so good too. We really like it on our end here. Mine came out much darker than you, maybe because of the Muscovado sugar, which I know is darker than regular brown sugar.

    And you are right, I would have never guess it had carrots and zucchinis. And the best part, not sweet at all.

  2. This looks great! I'm surprised the 3 main things tasted well together. I've made zucchini bread & banana bread before so i'll have to make this one!

  3. Oh, how fun to bake with Marie, Woody and Jim! I love the idea of using orange zest and spices.

  4. @Monica: my bread was significantly lighter than Marie's too and she used light brown sugar. Our theory is that she used frozen bananas which are generally darker than my fresh bananas. Did you use frozen bananas?

    @Danielle: definitely try this combo. Those 3 components worked really well together.

    @Vicki: thanks! This bread is going on the repeat list so I'll be playing with the other variations I mentioned.

  5. ב''ה

    You lucky duck. Totally fun! Mine are in the oven now.

    I thought it would be a little bit darker for some reason...

  6. You're so fun to bake with Marie & Jim! and your bread looks lovely too..

  7. Sounds like you all had so much fun!

    I like the idea of adding more spices.

  8. you all look like you had a lot of fun! if i make this again i would omit the walnuts, just because they are not my favorite. i'll be curious to hear what you think of almonds when you get around to baking this again.

  9. @Hanaa: Nope used fresh bananas, the baby kind and I used 2 and they were pretty black. So it's one of those baking mysteries that we are going to solve and let it be and thank the starts that at least it did not get "stuck" in the pan like some unmentionable caramel ....

  10. Lucky you! That looked like a lot of fun. Your lemon cakes look delicious.

  11. So fun to read how much you enjoyed the weekend with baking friends! Great photos of everyone and the goodies, YUM!

  12. Your cake looks great even minus the nuts. Mine came a little darker in color similar to Marie's and I used fresh banana. I would definitely use spice next time but I like your idea of orange zest too.

  13. So awesome that you get to bake with Marie and Woody. I can tell from the pictures you guys were having a blast!

    Your little cakes looks so nice. Great idea to bake it in smaller loaf pan.

  14. How cool that you all got to bake together! The quick bread looks divine and so does the lemon cake.

  15. Hi Hanaa - what a treat for you to bake with Marie and Woody!! I love your suggestion of adding more spices to the batter, and almonds are a wonderful idea!!

    PS - I'm so sorry I don't live in the Twin Cities anymore :(

  16. Your bread looks wonderful. Sounds like you had a great afternoon!

  17. What a great adventure to be able to bake together. Your photos and descriptions made me feel like I was there. Thanks for sharing. Anyone coming down to Puerto Vallarta Mexico for a holiday, let me know and we could bake at my casa. I would love it!

  18. Thank you all so much for your nice comments. Loved reading all of them :o)

    @ButterYum: I too wish you still lived here. Baking together would be so much fun!

    @Lola: it would be awesome to bake somewhere exotic like Puerto Vallarta. Thanks for the invite!

  19. No can-y taste with the beans. I did rinse them thoroughly. The tuscan salad is filling by itself too. I actually enjoyed Ellie's recipe for the pot pie filling and the phyllo dough on top. I was skeptical about the flaky top but after trying the pie, I was pleasantly surprised at the great, crispy texture.

    Guess what? I am currently working as a Project Manager for an electrical company out of Seattle . . . as of today. No more feeling bummed and trying to kick myself out of it. I just had to tell you. I also sent you a link to for my second article on a restaurant review. Talk to you soon and HUGS, Shandy

  20. How cool is that!! You're so lucky. Remember, that I became your friend before you became famous :)...
    How about a picture of you?!!
    I'm not a fan of banana bread, but I love the combo of zucchini and carrots.

  21. Sounds like you guys had a blast! the bread sounds yummy too:)

  22. Sounds like you guys had a blast! the bread sounds yummy too:)

  23. What a great combination Hanaa ... of people and elements! FUN FUN FUN! I'm loving it!

  24. I'm late to the party (I read your post while we were on vacation, but the sketchy wireless must have kept my comment). I actually made this bread, but the sketchy wireless at the hotel made it impossible to post it. (I wonder how long the wireless at the hotel will work as an excuse...?)

    Yours looks delicious and brings back good memories of how unexpectedly yummy this one was.


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