A couple days ago, I had a couple pounds of bananas that desperately needed eating. It also happened that my birthday was a couple days ago.
And when I happen to have some good fruit sitting on the edge and something to celebrate, I bake. Yesterday I made my birthday cake. Banana with a bittersweet chocolate sour cream ganache. That was my birthday cake.
One of the best garage sale finds I’ve ever made was a copy of The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, which I picked up for a whopping buck. Her Cordon Rose Banana Cake is amazingly good. I’ve never made a bad cake out of that book, but it’s the banana cake I keep returning to. It’s tasty, not too sweet, a perfect backdrop for the fabulous ganache that’s also featured in the book, and popular with my friends.
Baking is one of my all-time favorite pastimes. It’s something I have a gift for. From earliest childhood, baked goods have done my will with barely any effort from me. Pie crust – that most elusive of culinary accomplishments – turned out flaky and golden on my very first try at the tender age of seven. And so to this day, I usually bake myself a birthday treat. Usually it’s a cake, but pie has been featured more than once, too.
Life has not been the kindest to me and mine over the past year. Money’s always tight, disaster looms over some of the best people I know, good people have battled dread illnesses, and anxiety seems to reign supreme some weeks…but last night in my kitchen there was delicious banana cake, a good friend to share it with, and a hopeful feeling in the air. By the time I headed up to bed, I felt ready to face nearly anything.
Sometimes a good bit of baking can do that.
So what brings hope and relaxation in your world?