Caramel Apple Banana Bread

This Caramel Apple Banana Bread is an easy small batch recipe that only needs one banana!  The banana bread is made with sour cream and oil to keep it moist, and it is full of caramelized apples, and the mini loaves are topped with cinnamon spice caramel icing.  The small batch recipe makes 4 individual loaves, or 2 slightly larger mini loaves.  

Caramel Apple Banana Bread Recipe

It is officially Fall, and I couldn’t be more excited for Fall baking season!  While most bloggers may be celebrating with a pumpkin recipe, I’ve decided to dip my toe into the Fall baking water with this small batch Caramel Apple Banana Bread.  

While banana bread seems to be more popular in the Spring and Summer months, this recipe includes cozy spices that make it more reminiscent of a Fall treat.  The banana bread itself is made with only 1 banana, and is moist and flavorful by itself.  And to bring in the flavors of Fall, I’ve added a few extra flavors:

  • Caramelized Apples – I use Honeycrisp apples in this banana bread recipe, as they are my primary baking apple of choice.  They have a delicious balance of sweet and tart, and their are a crisper apple which makes them great for baking.  The apples are caramelized with brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon, to impart all of the flavors into the apples.
  • Ground Cinnamon – Cinnamon is a must-have spice for Fall, and the flavor is pronounced in this quick bread recipe.  Cinnamon is featured in both the caramel apples and banana bread itself.
  • Cinnamon Spice Caramel Icing – The caramel icing may be the best part of these mini banana bread loaves!  We reserve the caramel that is cooked off from the apples and use it to make the icing.   You get the flavor of cinnamon, along with a hint of apple, in the icing.  

Small Batch Quick Bread

Banana bread is a considered a quick bread because we use a leavening agent, instead of yeast, to make the bread rise.  The leavening agents in this small batch recipe are baking powder and baking soda.  We use both because of the sour cream in the recipe.  The baking soda balances out the acidity in the baking soda, in addition to helping the bread rise.

This small batch recipe for Caramel Apple Banana Bread is the perfect portion for two people to last a couple of days, or a smaller crowd.  The recipe yields enough to make:

  • 4 individual mini loaves – or – 
  • 2 slightly larger mini loaves

Below are a couple of the baking pans I use for my small batch bread recipes.  I’ve also linked these in the Equipment section below, and in the recipe itself.  And even though they are non-stick pans, I still recommend greasing and lining the pans with parchment paper cut long enough to hang over the sides of the pan.  The overhang creates an easy way to lift the bread out of the pans.

  • Brownie Baking Pan – This pan is similar to a cupcake pan with 12 cavities, but the wells are square, instead of round.
  • Mini Loaf Pans – The small mini loaf pans measure 5.75 inches by 3 inches.  
Two mini loaves of quick bread with caramelized icing

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What You Need To Make Small Batch Caramel Apple Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • Banana – 1 very ripe medium-size banana!
  • Fresh Apple – You only need half of 1 apple.  I used a Honeycrisp apple because they have a nice balance of sweet and tart, and they keep some texture when baked.   Though, you can use any apple you prefer. 
  • Unsalted Butter – Makes the caramel smooth and silky.
  • Milk – Any kind will work for the caramel sauce.  The milk thins out the caramel to make it into a creamy sauce.
  • Ground Cinnamon – For both the caramel and the banana bread.
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda – We use both for texture, flavor, and to help offset the acid in the sour cream.
  • Salt
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Neutral Oil – Canola oil, refined coconut oil, or any neutral oil will work.
  • Egg Yolk
  • Sour Cream – The sour cream helps to tenderize the banana bread and keep it moist.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Powdered Sugar – For the caramel icing.

Baking Equipment

  • Small Skillet – I recommend a heavy duty skillet since we are caramelizing sugar.  A heavy bottom skillet will distribute heat more evenly.  This is the small skillet I use for baking.  It is worth the investment if you bake and cook a lot.  The skillets are durable and will last you a long time.
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Brownie Baking Pan – This is the brownie pan I use to make the mini banana bread.  Or, you can use two mini loaf pans for the recipe. 
  • Parchment Paper

Tips For Making Caramel Apple Banana Bread

Fruit Tips

  • The banana needs to be ripe! – I’m talking a banana that is on the verge of being thrown out.  The ripe banana adds flavor, sweetness, and moisture to the bread.
  • Use an apple you like to eat – I am not a fan of green (Granny Smith) apples.  I don’t like to eat them, and I will rarely reach for one to put in one of my baking recipes.  Although, I do use a green apple in my Irish Apple Mini Cake.  But that cake is so sturdy, it needs a super crisp apple to stand up in it!

Caramel Tips

  • Use a good skillet to caramelize the apples – Over the years I have learned that the baking equipment I use is just as important as the ingredients.  A good, heavy bottom skillet will distribute heat more evenly, which is important when making caramel.  Otherwise you run the risk of uneven cooking, and even burning the sugar!
  • Don’t overheat the caramel! – Goes with the tip above, but keep an eye on the caramel as it is cooking.  Burnt caramel is less than appetizing!
  • Strain the caramel off the apples well – After you caramelize them, we are using the caramel sauce to make the caramel icing.  So, the better you can strain the apples, the more caramel goodness you will get for the icing!  I recommend using a fine mesh strainer, but a fork or slotted spoon can work.

Baking Tips

  • Lightly grease and line the baking pans – While some bakers may not do both when using non-stick pans, I do to ensure I can get the bread out of the pans.  Small strips of parchment paper (pictured above) work to create a ‘sling’ to lift the bread out of the pan.
  • Don’t overmix the batter – You probably hear this a lot, but it is worth repeating.  Overmixing the batter can cause more gluten to form, which will result in a dense and chewy bread.
  • Cool completely before icing – The banana bread needs to be cool before icing, otherwise the icing will melt right off!
  • Enjoy the day they are baked – Baked goods always taste best the day they are baked.  However, if you do have leftovers, the banana bread will still be moist a couple days after baking!
Small batch quick bread with fall flavors and icing

Common Questions For Making Caramel Apple Banana Bread

Can this banana bread recipe be doubled?

While I have not tested doubling the recipe, I think it should work. However, I would recommend trying one whole egg instead of 2 egg yolks. This way you don’t have too many egg white leftovers.

Why does the banana have to be ripe?

Ripe bananas add extra sweetness and flavor to the banana bread. Plus, a ripe banana is much easier to mash up!

What kind of apple is best for the apple banana bread?

I use Honeycrisp apples, but I recommend using any apple that you like to eat.

Do I have to peel the apple?

You do not. In fact, I didn’t but that is my personal preference. If you don’t like the skin on your baked apples, you can peel it!

Can I replace the sugar with a alternative sweetener (like Stevia)?

Granulated sugar does have a baking science relevance to baking. It creates a tender crumb and helps the bread to stay moist. That said, I can’t say how using a different sweetener would work, nor can I offer recommendations on what ratio to sub it in. If you do try it, let me know!

Can I make the banana bread in a different baking pan?

You can use a cupcake pan – either lining it with strips of parchment paper or using cupcake liners. This may yield 4 to 6 cupcakes – depending on how full you fill the liners. I don’t think a regular size loaf pan will work because there is not enough batter to fill the pan and have it bake properly.

What can I make with the leftover egg white?

I have a number of egg white only recipes on the blog, such as the Gluten Free Sugar Cookies, Toasted Coconut Macaroons, Marshmallow Meringue Frosting, or the Almond Flour and Maple Cookies.

How long will the banana bread last?

The banana bread should stay moist for a couple of days. Beyond that, the banana bread may start to dry out.

How should I store the banana bread?

Leftovers can be stored covered at room temperature.

A single banana bread mini on a small plate

More Fall Baking Recipes with Apples

Banana bread mini loaves with caramel icing on a wire rack
Banana bread mini loaves with caramel icing on a wire rack
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Small Batch Caramel Apple Banana Bread

This Caramel Apple Banana Bread is an easy small batch recipe that only needs one banana!  The banana bread is made with sour cream and oil to keep it moist, and it is full of caramelized apples, and the mini loaves are topped with cinnamon spice caramel icing.  The small batch recipe makes 4 individual loaves, or 2 slightly larger mini loaves.  
Prep18 mins
Cook16 mins
Total34 mins
Servings: 4 Mini Loaves
Author: Erin | Butter and Bliss

Equipment

  • 1 – Square Brownie Pan (or) 2 – Mini Loaf Pans

Ingredients

Caramel Apples

  • 2/3 cup fresh apple, peeled and cut into small cubes - approximately half of 1 apple; I used a Honeycrisp Apple
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 and 1/2 teaspoons milk, any kind
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Banana Bread

  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil - or any neutral oil
  • 1 large egg yolk - room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream - room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel Icing

  • 1 reserved caramel sauce - from caramel apples
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line 4 wells of the brownie pan with a 1 inch strip of parchment paper, then spray the wells with cooking spray.

Caramel Apples

  • In a small heavy duty skillet, add the brown sugar, butter, and milk. Stir to combine. Turn the heat on medium-low and add the chopped apples and cinnamon. Heat until the sugar starts to bubble and thicken – about 5 – 8 minutes. Do not overheat the caramel, or it will turn hard when it cools. Tip – You will know you have reached a good consistency for the caramel when you drag a spatula through the caramel and it creates a part down the middle.
  • Strain the apples – Place a small fine mesh strainer over a small mixing bowl. Pour the caramel apple mix into the strainer and gently move around the apples to get the caramel to strain into the bowl. Don't forget to scrape the underside of the strainer to get all of the caramel sauce into the bowl! This is the caramel we will use to make the Caramel Icing. Set both aside. Tip – If you don't have a fine mesh strainer, you can scoop out the apples with a fork or slotted spoon – making sure to get as much caramel off the apples as possible.

Banana Bread

  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. Tip – You can not use this mixing bowl by sifting the dry ingredients through a fine mesh strainer set over the top of the wet ingredient bowl.
  • In another small mixing bowl, mash up the banana with a fork until it is smooth, creamy, and free of lumps. Add the egg yolk, sugar, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract and mix together with a whisk until thoroughly incorporated and smooth.
  • Sprinkle in half of the dry ingredients over the top of the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined and no dry streaks remain. Then fold in the strained apples until just combined.
  • Scoop equal portions of batter into the prepared brownie pan wells. Tip – Use a cookie scoop for equal portions and less mess. Bake for 16 – 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
  • Cool the banana bread in the pan set on wire cooling rack for 5 minutes, then transfer the banana bread to cool on the wire rack completely.

Caramel Icing

  • While the pumpkin bread is cooling, make the icing – Add the powdered sugar and salt to the caramel sauce and whisk to thoroughly combine. If the caramel icing is too thick, you can add a little milk – about 1 teaspoon at a time – to loosen until you reached your desired consistency.
  • Drizzle the caramel icing over the cooled banana bread and Enjoy!

Notes

Baking Pans – This is the brownie pan I use to make the mini banana bread.  Or, you can use two mini loaf pans for the recipe. 
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
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