Jul
01

Things I’ve learned in the past year:

1. Follow your heart. It’s the best thing you can do in life. You live once, so enjoy your life as it unfolds.

2. Embrace change. When we change, we grow and adapt. We become better. Don’t do something just because it’s comfortable. Instead, challenge yourself and learn from your failures.

3. Take chances. I moved across the country for a job and realized it wasn’t for me. I looked at what I wanted, and what I didn’t, then made a decision to pursue a different career. Without moving, I wouldn’t have figured that out. Taking chances means succeeding or learning something you didn’t before. And sometimes, it’s okay to fail.

4. Work hard. Damn hard. Success never comes easy. Dreams rarely turn into realities overnight. It’s an uphill climb full of doubts, but with enough determination, I believe anything is possible.

5. Baking cake is essential. No wait, THIS cake is essential. It has bananas, peanut butter and has a caramel topping to die for. It’s the stuff dreams are made of… or something like that anyway.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes a love a little reflection. Today we’ll reflect over this cake together. Join me?

Today, I slept in for the first time in what seems like forever. For brunch, I made vegan chocolate chip oatmeal cookie pancakes that I found on Pinterest. I’m so thankful I did because I had a smile on my face for the next 7 hours. What? Pancakes make me happy.

There’s one thing I’m more excited for this week: the 4th of July! It’s probably one of my favorite holidays. Laying under the sun all day and watching fireworks at night is simply the best.

And of course instead of giving you a standard with red, white, and blue dessert for the 4th of July, I thought that maybe you’d like to indulge in this cake instead.

While rummaging through recipes, I found a recipe for a Caramel-Walnut Upside Down Banana Cake in my Bon Appetit Desserts! book (a great dessert cookbook). I adapted it by adding peanut butter instead of more butter, and reducing the sugar (ripe bananas provide natural sweetness). Don’t let that fool you though, his cake is still ridiculously indulgent.

The caramel sauce is completely delicious, gooey, and warm when the cake comes out of the oven; I recommend serving the cake as soon as you are able to flip and cut into it. I thought about pairing it with a salted caramel ice cream, but they were out at the store so if you try it, let me know.

Please note that the caramel sauce tends to harden a bit once the cake it cooled, so don’t be afraid to warm up a slice in the microwave! You can even make the cake with out the caramel-walnut topping if your heart desires.

This is a cake that changes non-cake lovers into die hard fans. It can also be the cake you bring to your boyfriend’s mom. You could even bring this cake to every family gathering you ever have, they won’t mind.

It will deliver every single time.

My advice? Don’t think about the calories. Indulging every once in a while actually keeps you on track. And your taste buds will thank me later. I promise.

Come on you know you want to.

 

 

Caramel-Walnut Upside-Down Peanut Butter Banana Cake

Topping

Cooking spray

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons dark corn syrup

1/3 cup walnut halves or pieces

 

Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter (4 tablespoons), room temperature

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup very ripe mashed bananas (about 2-3 large bananas)

1/2 cup all-natural creamy peanut butter

3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt or sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup skim milk

 

Directions

  1. For topping: Spray 9-inch round cake pan (or larger cake pan) with nonstick spray. Melt butter in medium saucepan; add dark corn syrup and brown sugar; bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and immediately stir in walnuts. Spread topping in cake pan.
  2. For cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until creamy. Next, add eggs 1 at a time; beating again until mixture is smooth and creamy. Add mashed bananas, peanut butter, yogurt (or sour cream), milk and vanilla; mixing again until well combined. Add in dry ingredients slowly until just combined. Add batter to cake pan.
  3. Bake cake until knife into center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool at least 15 minutes. To remove cake, gently cut around cake with a knife to loosen. Place plate or platter over pan. Holding pan and platter together, turn over, and remove pan. Scrape any extra caramel and walnuts on top of cake. Cool at least 15 minutes for topping to set. Serve warm with your favorite ice cream.

Notes

  • Adapted from Bon Appetit’s Desserts! Cookbook
  • Your baking time may be slightly longer. The original recipe called for 55 minutes of baking time, yet I found I only needed about 45
  • Make sure to place a baking sheet on the bottom rack of your oven; the caramel sauce may boil over the edges of your cake pan
  • This cake serves 6-8 people and is best served warm

 

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