Dessert loaf recommendations?
February 3, 2013 3:42 AM   Subscribe

I like making relatively easy loaf-cake desserts that aren't overly sweet, or too rich/heavy, and would like to expand my recipe file for these, so looking for your personal recommendations.

I make the following dessert loaves: banana bread, carrot bread, zucchini bread, gingerbread, and French Yogurt Cake, and would like to compile a few more excellent standbys that don't require terribly exotic ingredients (because I probably won't find them); can be made from scratch (no cake mixes, for example); mixed up in one bowl, preferably; baked in a loaf pan; and aren't crazy high on the calories. (I'd love to make this cranberry orange cream cheese pound cake, for example, but wowzer – two sticks of butter and a whole package of cream cheese? Yikes. If anyone has an idea about how to make a lighter version, I'm all ears.)

Do you have a favorite you'd like to share? I usually make one on Sundays, and it lasts the week, covered but non-refrigerated, so anything that's prone to drying out is probably not great for us. I can buy most typical fresh fruits and vegetables (but canned or frozen, not so much). Thank you!
posted by taz to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 116 users marked this as a favorite
Bara Brith - which is a Welsh fruit loaf made with tea. Traditionally it has yeast, but my aunt always made it without, more like a cake than a bread. This is closest to her recipe. It's quick to make but it helps if you can remember to soak the fruit in the tea overnight.
posted by essexjan at 3:46 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bara Brith is a great suggestion. If for some reason you don't eat it all quickly and it's a bit past its best then you can toast it!

I think drizzle cakes are good for this because they tend to have a little bit of sweetness but not too much. This Lemon and Poppyseed Loaf and this Jaffa Drizzle Loaf are two of my favourites.
posted by neilb449 at 4:03 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't have a go-to recipe for it, but I've always enjoyed lemon poppy seed cake/loaf. Seems to meet your requirements.
posted by telegraph at 5:42 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Rosemary olive oil cake.
posted by hooray at 5:55 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

I make this apple cake in two loaf pans with good results. You'll probably want to shorten the baking time a bit.
posted by delezzo at 6:15 AM on February 3, 2013

You can make angel food cake in a loaf pan also.
posted by payoto at 6:26 AM on February 3, 2013

My favorite is Smitten Kitchen's Everyday Chocolate Cake. I've made it at least six times. You ought to check out her other 'everyday cakes' while on her site -- click through to recipes. I'm sure you'll find some others to try.
posted by amanda at 6:36 AM on February 3, 2013

Citrus and cornmeal breads are nice change-- Lemon Cornbread, Orange Cornmeal cake
posted by Erasmouse at 7:02 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I like this Cooking Light recipe for blueberry pound cake. I don't use light butter or cream cheese, and the recipe works great and isn't heavy.

(Yogurt cake is in the oven! I love this question. My kid woke me up at 5:02 a.m. so we baked a cake.)
posted by purpleclover at 7:12 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Perhaps Paula Deen's Peanut Butter Bread. No, really. There's not even any butter, just peanut butter: link
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:15 AM on February 3, 2013

My sister makes a coconut banana bread that feels like it's super rich but is actually not so bad, healthwise. It's great if you're into coconut. I like the squash breads. Here is a pumpkin pie bread and a pretty nice summer squash bread that I haven't tried. I don't know if lavender is esoteric out there or not, but this lavender tea bread has been on my "to try" list for a while.
posted by jessamyn at 7:16 AM on February 3, 2013

You might like the Joy of Cooking recipe for Orange Loaf with Dried Cranberries or Apricots. I really like it (although I don't add pecans). It calls for only 6 T. of butter:

Whisk together:
1 1/2 c. A/P flour
1 t. baking power
1/4 t. salt

Combine in another bowl:
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. orange juice
grated zest of 1 small lemon and 1 orange

In a large bowl beat on high speed 2 to 3 mins:
6 T. unsalted butter
2/3 c. sugar

Gradually beat in:
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Add flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with milk mixture in 2 pars, beating on low speed or stirring with spatula until just incorporated. Fold in:

2/3 c. coarsely chopped pecans
1/3 cup finely chopped dried cranberries or apricots

Bake in greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan at 350 for 45 to 50 mins.
posted by Majorita at 7:18 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

This clementine vanilla bean quick bread is good. I didn't have vanilla beans at the time, so I just threw in some more extract, and it turned out well.
posted by Fig at 9:30 AM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

You already have a banana bread recipe, but I wanted to give Nigella Lawson's version from How To Be A Domestic Goddess a shoutout because it is so, so good and very easy. The rum-plumped sultanas make it. It drives the whole household crazy because it smells so good.

Melissa Clark's Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips is quite different from the standard banana bread. The lemon is very assertive, to the point where you may love or hate it (I adore lemons but I found the flavors a bit clashing--the lemon is intense enough it distracts from the chocolate to me, but I could see someone disagreeing and liking the novelty). Also, her Pumpkin Bread with Brown Butter and Bourbon doesn't fit your parameters in terms of using only one bowl or being relatively low fat, but it might be delicious enough you don't mind.

Orange and Olive Cake (sorry, I can't seem to find my source recipe right now) is very moist, and so alluring on paper, but I don't know that the expense of using olive oil makes it worth it. It is nice though.

In general, I would recommend Nigella by the way. IIRC, she has a bunch of loaf cakes in How To Be A Domestic Goddess, often slight tweaks on classics that up the sophistication/novelty level (deep dark chocolate with gingerbread, as one example).
posted by ifjuly at 10:56 AM on February 3, 2013

Response by poster: These are all so great and exactly the sort of things I am interested in! Essexjan, your answer is uncanny, because just last night as I was thinking about wanting to do something different, I was wondering if there was anything in which tea was an ingredient. Neat!

Purpleclover, I'm delighted you tried the French yogurt cake! I never miss an opportunity to mention it here because it's infinitely flexible, super easy and forgiving, and in the making of it, rubbing together the sugar and lemon zest is such a sensory pleasure. Plus, I love to include yogurt in all sorts of recipes.

Ifjuly, olive oil is not a problem! We get a huge container of organic virgin olive oil from a friend's personal orchard twice a year, wheee – so olive oil recipes are especially excellent. :)

I'm loving these suggestions, and totally open for more. Thanks, everyone!
posted by taz at 11:35 AM on February 3, 2013

This is a very simple, very delicious chocolate loaf cake. I originally found it on, but now it seems to have disappeared. The typo in the name is from the original:

Aladin Chocolate Loaf Cake

1.5 C flour
1 C sugar
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
3 heaping Tbsp cocoa
1 C hot water
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp vanilla
6 Tbsp salad oil

Sift together the dry ingredients.

Now, dig a hole in the dry ingredients and put in the vinegar, cover it up
Do the same thing for the vanilla and the oil.

Add hot water and mix it all together.

Pour in loaf pan and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
posted by jvilter at 11:40 AM on February 3, 2013

Cranberry Hazelnut Bread from the blog The Parsley Thief. The blog Technicolof Kitchen has many great quick cooking loaves- just do a blog search there for 'loaf' (her search box is on the left side of the page).
posted by lyra4 at 1:08 PM on February 3, 2013

Almond Bread from Cooking Light. I have made it several times and it is delicious. I add a wee bit more vanilla than the recipe calls for, and some almond extract.
posted by biscotti at 4:07 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

This blueberry yogurt cake was absolutely delicious, I can't wait to make it again!
posted by Kololo at 10:29 PM on February 3, 2013

This coconut bread is pretty simple to throw together with on hand ingredients and is really moist and delicious!
posted by wallaby at 10:22 AM on February 4, 2013

Glenn’s Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Candied Ginger

The Wednesday Chef: Monastery of Angels' Pumpkin Bread

Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps - the loaf itself is excellent, even without making them into crisps.

The Wednesday Chef: Jeffrey Alford's and Naomi Duguid's Banana Coconut Bread

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread

Tuscan Lemon Muffins - with ricotta and lemon. You can make it as a loaf too.

Maple-Stout Quick Bread

Maple Banana Bread (her recipes are all excellent, and often without a huge hit of calories/wheat/fat.

Carrot & Zucchini bread

Lemon Ginger Zucchini Bread

Joy the Baker's Top 10 Quick Breads - I've tried a few and they've all been great.

Bonus: can you get maple syrup? If so, make these amazing Oatmeal Chocolate Chip (or raisin) Cookies - no added processed sugar, easy to sub some healthier flours, not too sweet, and very very good.
posted by barnone at 10:57 AM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

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