Last weekend we went to Ontario, Canada, to visit my family. Saturday was my nephews third birthday party. My sister-in-law loves to bake. At Christmas she always bakes a slew of different cookies and treats. For birthdays she always makes extremely tasty cakes. This year my nephew's party was pirate themed so his cakes were pirate ships!
I wish I could be this adventurous with baking. I attempted to make a guitar shaped cake for my husband's birthday. My plan was to make a decadent chocolate cake, cover it with vanilla butter cream, and then a chocolate ganache. Unfortunately, my plan was foiled when the cake would not release from the pan and fell apart. This happened despite following the pans instructions - Thank you Wilton! The cake itself was delicious. So I made a delicious chocolate trifle instead.
My baking skills have been improving. This past summer I mastered making pies from scratch. My favourites were Blackberry Apple and Blueberry. Prior to becoming pie savvy, the only baked good I could make with consistent good results was banana bread. My banana bread never comes out too dry, or too moist. It's always perfect. And it should be, since I've been making it for as long as I can remember!
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
6 tblsps butter, softened
3/4 tsp lemon zest
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups ripe bananas (2 - 3), mashed
All ingredients should be at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease 8.5 X 4.5 loaf pan.
In a small bowl whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add the sugar, butter, and lemon zest to the bowl of your mixer. Beat on medium speed until creamy. Add the eggs and bananas until incorporated. Then add the dry ingredients in about 3 parts, beating until smooth after each addition.
Pour batter into greased loaf pan. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the certain comes out clean. Cool slightly, then remove from loaf pan. Cool completely before slicing.