Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Turning 30 & Banana Bundt Cake

30 is my year. This is the year that things get good. They get organized, they get balanced, and they get happy. This is the year I complete a olympic length triathlon. This is the year I finally go through the box that I dumped my college apartment desk contents into and didn't touch for seven years. This is the year I switch my career path back onto the trajectory where it belongs. This is the year I stand up for myself and leave a job that was taking over my life, and not giving much back in return. This is the year I get to say yes to taking a weekend off here and there to just be with friends, or visit a new city. This is the year I am no longer embarrassed about the state of my apartment. This is the year I start running long distances because I (almost) enjoy it. This is the year I start baking again for pleasure, and not just for work.

I am a few months into my 30's and instead of freaking out a little bit when the milestone came, as many people do, I decided a few years ago that 30 wasn't going to be scary to me. I always thought that your 30's were the time you finally had your shit together (excuse my french). It is the decade where you finally get into your groove, really start to know who you are and where you want to be. When I turned 30, I realized that I wasn't really at that place in my life yet, and as it turns out, it isn't your age that puts you in that place, it has to come from somewhere else. So I am doing something about it. It isn't all life-changing, world-altering changes, like quitting a job, or traveling across the globe. Even the little things, like buying one of those 7-day pill containers and actually taking my vitamins and aspirin everyday, can make a big difference in the peace and contentment in every day life. Instead of always thinking about all the things I should be doing better, I am making it my goal this year to simply do them.

This bundt cake was the first time in way too long that I baked something that wasn't for work, or for a personal client. It was for a friend, for his birthday, for a weekend at a lake house that I missed out on last summer. It was simple but delicious, and reminded me why I do what I do. Providing someone with something delicious, nourishing, and specially made just for them, is something I had forgotten I missed.

Banana Walnut Bundt Cake
recipe adapted from the food librarian
makes one large bundt cake

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
4 ripe bananas
1 cup yogurt
1 cup toasted, chopped walnuts, divided

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl well between each addition. Mix in the vanilla and bananas. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the banana mixture, followed by 1/2 of the yogurt. Scrape the bowl very well between each addition. Mix in another 1/3 of the flour, then the second half of the yogurt, followed by the rest of the flour mixture. Fold in 3/4 cups of the walnuts. Butter and flour a bundt pan or spray with baking spray. Pour batter into pan and bake at 350 for 65-75 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Be sure not to put a baking sheet under the bundt pan, as the hot air needs to circulate through center of the pan. 

Let cake cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and let cool completely. Wrap in plastic and let sit at room temperature overnight, or freeze until ready to use. 

For the glaze: combine 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla and whisk until smooth. Pour glaze over the top of the bundt cake and immediately sprinkle on the remaining walnuts. 

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