If there’s one small upgrade that could make your morning just a little better, it’s this Marbled Cinnamon Latte Banana Bread. With just enough coffee kick for a depth of flavor, but not too much to overpower your actual cup, a slice of this healthier banana bread is an ideal sweet start to the day.
Aside from flour, sugar, leavening agents, and various flavor combinations and add-ins, baking requires passion. If there’s one thing waking up at 4 AM for four months as the head baker at a local café taught me, it’s that - a baked good is not as good without passion. When they say “baked with love”, you’ll taste it if it’s there.
This beautiful blossoming lemon tree in my backyard boasts vibrant bright lemons this time of year, and I look out my kitchen window in awe. Oh lemon tree, oh lemon tree… kidding. I can’t help but wonder how the heck I can incorporate as many of those lemons into my life as possible - warm lemon water before bed, fresh-squeezed lemon juice over salads, and lemon pistachio cake are all I’ve got so far. Lemon scones? Lemon donuts? Lemon cookies? Weirdly enough, I’m just not very passionate about those right now.
Lattes and banana bread, though? Now we’re talkin’. I’ve actually been thinking it might be a good idea for me to set aside a small fund each week for the latte love. Or maybe that would be a bad idea? Sounds pretty organized and proactive, if you ask me. This caffeinated afternoon pleasure and a thick - must. be. thick. - slice of banana bread cheer me on during hours of researching and studying. I’m passionate about those, too, but without the snacks, everything would change. Everything.
But I must question this one thing: is too much banana bread a thing? Too much coffee, too many lattes - those are plausible situations I’ve put myself in and they’re not fun. Too much banana bread, though? Wouldn’t that be like too much of a baked-with-love favorite? Too much of the nostalgic, fresh-baked loaf aroma? Too much of a classic? Verdict: too much banana bread is not possible.
Commence banana bread baking.
Bon Appetit’s Swirled Tahini Tea Cake in the April 2018 magazine inspired this loaf. That swirl! So stunningly elegant. If I can’t have any stunningly elegant swirls because I’m a human and not a loaf of banana bread, then at least my banana bread will have swirls. A heaping tablespoon of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg went into the swirled half of the batter first, but weren’t bold enough. I glanced around my kitchen for ideas and my eyes landed on my adorable, trendy little jar of coffee grounds - perhaps the boldest of flavors.
Lattes and banana bread. A spiced coffee swirl! It’s stunningly elegant and bold. It’s a swirl of admirable qualities of both banana bread and humans!
Can I open my café now?
For the batter:
3 very ripe bananas
½ cup low-fat kefir
½ cup agave nectar
1 pasture-raised egg
½ tsp. Baking soda
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Sea salt
1 tsp. Baking powder
Coconut oil, for greasing the pan
For the swirl:
2 tbsp. Coconut sugar
1 tbsp. Cinnamon
1 tbsp. Ground coffee
1 tbsp. Cacao powder
Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9x5 baking pan with coconut oil. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the mashed bananas, kefir, agave nectar, and egg until combined. Stir in the baking soda.
To the wet ingredients, add the 1 cup of flour and 1 tsp. Each of cinnamon, sea salt, and baking powder and stir. Add the remaining flour and stir until just combined - don’t overmix!
Divide the batter in half - keep half in the mixing bowl and transfer the other half to another mixing bowl. Into one of the bowls, stir the coconut sugar and 1 tbsp. Each of cinnamon, ground coffee, and cacao powder until well incorporated. This batter will be a much darker color to create a contrast for the swirl.
Next, drop about 3 spoonfuls at a time of each batter - alternating between the dark and light - into the baking pan. When all the batter is transferred into the pan, use a skewer or thin chopstick to create a couple figure-eights through the batter. You don’t want to create any more than 3-4, as doing so may mix the batters together too much and eliminate the contrast in colors for the swirl.
Bake at 350F for 55-60 minutes. At the 55-minute mark, poke a toothpick through the center of the loaf - if it comes out with just a couple crumbs, the loaf is finished baking. If it comes out with some uncooked batter, leave it in the oven for 3-5 more minutes and check again with a toothpick.
Cool completely before removing the loaf from the pan and slicing. Serve immediately and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for about 2 months.