Baking with B: Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cake

Back in college when my ex-boyfriend’s mom was visiting we knew it could only mean one thing- she was going to be bringing this famous cake that I dubbed “Mama B Cake”. It earned its fame mainly because it was the only thing that “Mama B” could (or would) bake. When she made it for you, you knew it was something kind of special. The cake was its own kind of love so I imagine that’s why it always tasted so good. Try as I might, my version will never be delicious as hers. (I’ve searched around for the original recipe for ages, but this one I found here was the closest I could get.)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cake

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 c. overripe bananas, mashed (about 3)

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1/2 c. smooth peanut butter

3/4 c. brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter, banana, oil, sugar, egg and vanilla until thick and yellow. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, one spoonful at a time, until well combined. Pour half of the batter into prepared pan. Add cocoa to the remaining batter, stirring until combined. Dollop the chocolate batter onto the peanut butter batter, then swirl to combine using a wooden skewer.

B’s Tip: If you don’t have skewers lying around, use a chopstick, a cake tester, a knife, the handle of your mixing spoon- anything that’s long and thin!

Bake for approximately 50 minutes until knife comes out clean in the middle. Cool for approximately 10 minutes in pan before turning out onto wire rack. Let cool completely before serving.

Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

Baking with B: Chocolate Guinness Cake

Chocolate? Beer? Lime? I know what you’re thinking- how could these ingredients possibly go together?

Here’s the answer: I don’t know. But believe me, it works. The beer gives the chocolate a rich, deep flavour and the lime zest brightens things up so the cake doesn’t feel as heavy Even if you’re not a fan of Guinness (or beer in general), this is still a great cake for any chocolate lover and is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day (And no, that’s not some leprechaun trick!)

Chocolate Guinness Cake (serves 12)

1 c. Guinness beer

1 c. unsalted butter

¾ c. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 c. white sugar

2/3 c. regular sour cream

2 large eggs

1 tbsp vanilla

2 c. all-purpose flour

2 ½ tsp baking soda

icing sugar for garnish (optional)

lime zest for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 9-inch pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Pour Guinness into large saucepan over medium heat. Add butter and heat until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder and sugar. Set aside. In a bowl, combine sour cream, eggs, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add sour cream mixture to Guinness mixture, and whisk to combine. Whisk in flour and baking soda, then pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50-60 minutes, at 350F, until tester comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Cool and serve with a sprinkle of icing sugar and lime shavings on top.

B’s Tip: Yeah, yeah I know it sounds weird, but go with the lime shavings! It’s honestly one of the best things about the cake.

Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

5 Rules for Relationships

I know about love just as much as the next person. In fact, I probably know even less. However, seeing as it is Valentine’s Day and I am in the business of giving advice I thought I would share five rules for relationships that I have developed from what little I’ve learned over the years.

  1. Never stop showing kindness. It’s a way of giving your partner affection and showing that you appreciate them. Even though your feelings may be obvious, it’s still important to remind your partner that those feelings haven’t changed.
  2. Understand that people communicate in different ways. Our style of communication isn’t only about our word choice or turn of phrase. Our body language and our actions also demonstrate how we feel. We need a combination of these techniques to communicate what we’re really thinking and the methods we use influence how we interpret the way other people communicate, which can lead to misunderstandings. It’s important to acknowledge what’s really being said instead of focusing on how your partner is saying it.
  3. Separate the conflict from the relationship. We avoid conflict because we fear it will result in ultimatums: the relationship is over, I’ll never see him again, etc. In fact, being in disagreement with your partner is a sign that you are two separate people, not a sign that your relationship is about to dissolve. Conflict is natural, healthy, and (unfortunately) unavoidable. Arguing with your partner may be uncomfortable, but it’s evidence that you care enough about each other to want to work things out.
  4. But if you do have to fight, fight fair. No name calling. Leave the past in the past. Emotional triggers? Out-of-bounds. Similarly out-of-bounds: your partner’s family, their views on politics, religion, or past relationships. Pay attention to your emotions and focus on exactly what it is you’re fighting about. And there’s no making accusations without having evidence to back them up.
  5. It has to be about you, sometimes. Too often I have seen people lose themselves in a relationship, constantly giving and giving and never receiving in return. Real love is about wanting what’s best for your partner, so your partner needs to understand and respect the decisions you make in order to be your best self. If you practice self-care and cultivate your own independent relationships and interests, you pave the way for a relationship that’s more varied, exciting and healthier for the both of you. Someone who doesn’t want you to do your own thing simply isn’t worthy of you.

In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.