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I have very little experience with baking. Three cakes and one batch of muffins to be exact. But every memory I have of being in a room where a warm oven was in the process of baking something has been so good that it made me want to be the person whose oven emits aromas that fill an entire living room and has people shouting “the cinnamon smells amazing!” repeatedly. (That was me, December 2008, at my new friend, super baker Beth’s Christmas party. I am aware that she probably thought I was nuts.) Ever so often, I think fondly of our friends Andrea and Petra in Rome and our time in their beautiful kitchen where perfect little jam biscuits were baking as we came in from the cold after a long day exploring the city.

So last year I resolved to bake on a regular basis to improve my skills. The first few attempts were rewarding and I’m hoping I’ve gone past my allotted beginner’s luck and am doing alright because I’m being diligent and methodical about it. Over the past week I found myself nearly done with a new music project and a little under the weather. E was sick too and we needed something to lift the mood. I was convinced baking on a sunny Saturday morning was the answer and I had the perfect recipe to try out: Banana Bread/Cake (I can’t tell what the difference is).

I have long been a fan of pastry chef/writer David Lebovitz’s blog and it was high time I stopped staring at his gorgeous pictures and actually used one of his recipes. So Banana Bread/Cake by David Lebovitz it was.

Here are a few things I learned:

  • Day-old banana puree, even from the fridge, is not very attractive. (I have no idea whether that grey colour is normal. It smelled alright, but I wasn’t taking a chance). So off to the market to get ripe bananas early in the morning. It was nice though, got some sun.
  • When you haven’t altogether recovered from the flu, pay even closer attention to measurements in the recipe. So staring at the weighing scale and marveling at how I had spooned out exactly 125 gms of sour cream into the bowl without using a measure was not very smart. I realized a little later (but well in time) that what I actually needed was 125 ml of sour cream. Close call.
  • Also, don’t measure baking soda from the packet into the tiny teaspoon while holding it over the big bowl of flour. Some escaped from the packet, outside the spoon, and directly into the mix. Again, I was able to make up the difference but I can’t imagine that was very scientific of me.
    One hour later, E and I were sitting in the sun, drinking coffee and eating hot slices of banana bread/cake, particularly sweet when you get that surprise dark chocolate nib in a bite. The living room smells lovely and my cake has cracked in a way that makes it look like it has an evil smile on its surface. Perfect.

Here’s a link to the recipe:
Banana Bread/Cake by David Lebovitz