Spiced Summer Squash and Apple Bread with Crunchy Cinnamon Topping

Move over, zucchini! Yellow squash deserves its turn to shine in a moist loaf of comfort. Hold up, pumpkin! You’re not the only squash that can handle spices like cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

Best when served with a slather of cultured butter.

Best when served with a slather of cultured butter.

I’ve been making both pumpkin and zucchini breads (and a whole range of breads involving fruits and vegetables) for 25 years. I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me sooner to use yellow squash in a loaf. I usually try to transform the vegetables I’m least fond of into some sort of baked good, and yellow summer squash bores me. This recipe has solved all of my summer squash problems -- disguising bland yellow ones and sparing prized zucchini from a sad, shredding fate.

When the yellow squash melts into the bread under cover of apple and spice, kids (and adults like me) don’t even realize they’re gobbling up the vegetable. This recipe combines the oddly matched produce of late September, as if to say, "hey, I know fall is right around the corner, but summer is not quite over yet." You don’t have to wait until October to spice this up like a decadent warming pumpkin loaf. Just don’t be surprised when I share a few other flavor combinations for yellow squash loaf, now that I’ve seen the light.

Spiced Summer Squash and Apple Bread with Crunchy Cinnamon Topping

Makes: 1 loaf

What You Need:

for the bread batter:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour

  • ½ whole wheat flour (or use 100% all purpose)

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 medium yellow squash

  • 1 medium apple

  • ⅔ cup plain whole milk yogurt

  • ⅓ cup apple juice or apple cider

  • ½ cup turbinado sugar

  • 2 eggs

for the crunchy topping:

  • ¼ cup all purpose flour

  • ¼ cup brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • pinch of salt

  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pea sized pieces

What You Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush melted butter on the bottom and sides of a loaf pan. [mine is 9 x 4½ inches]

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Set aside.

  3. Using a box grater, grate the yellow squash and apple. You should have about 1 ½ - 2 cups total of shredded fruit. Squeeze out and discard any excess liquid.

  4. In a medium bowl, briskly whisk together the yogurt, apple juice, sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in the grated squash and apple.

  5. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Stir just a few times to combine. Drizzle in the melted butter and stir until incorporated. Do not over mix - a little bit of visible dry flour is okay. [See photo.] Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.

  6. Make the topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Stir. Using your fingertips, mix in the butter, pressing it between your fingers with the flour so that you have coarse crumbles and all of the butter is coated in the flour and sugar mixture. Sprinkle the topping over the batter.

  7. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven at 375 degrees for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

  8. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack or slicing.