September 21, 2014

Almond Berry Banana Cake (my seventeenth birthday cake)

yesterday was a rough day. 
i spent nearly 45 minutes crying over frustration and confusion. thank God for my brother.
then i spent another hour struggling through my calculus homework.
then i walked carefully down the stairs as i was holding a binder & textbook, and slipped on a newly vacuumed step.
and that slip was not the type that results in a bit of stumbling and tumbling that distributes the momentum (or something like that; i never took physics). it was a cartoon character kind of slip -- the one where you slip, fly up about a foot off the ground, and fall straight back down. and quite frankly, i think this kind of slip, although funny in Tom and Jerry or something, hurts way more than the stumbling kind of slip. i basically just laid on the stairs like that, bracing and wincing, not being able to cry cause honestly i didn't have the energy to. And you know what's even worse than getting hurt? Having someone tell you to "BE MORE CAREFUL" after something like that. just sucks.
then fifteen minutes after that, I had to go to a little performance (outdoors) and play for 45, more like mess up for 45 minutes with a microphone really close to me. yeah, that's more like it.

but the evening was significantly better. i had finished a ton of hw in the morning, so i forced myself to just relax. my mom was cooking in the kitchen (a rare treat), i had some miso soup cooking on the side, i lugged up the bar stool from our basement so i could sit and use the island counter space to read. and after dinner, i introduced my mom & brother to Grey's Anatomy, and they loved it. 

so lots of ups and downs within 48 hours.
i really feel like this "trial" period before my next test is basically meant to force me to grow up mentally before i deserve to get my license. i have to mature before i can receive the benefits of being seventeen. i feel like the protagonist in "Mi Caballo Mago"; i wrote a 2.5 pg. Spanish lit essay on that story and my thesis was that the protagonist demonstrated maturity not through his action of capturing "el caballo Mago" but through his mental growth (he became more compassionate and understanding and whatnot). so maybe i'm him. 

ANYWAYS, on to the cake.

My childhood favorite was pb & j / pb & bananas, and it still is one of my favorite foods to this day. granted, i don't eat it twice a day like i used to (honestly though), but my bday cake was inspired by those flavors. 

i always try to make cakes that the whole family can eat; meaning something dairy-free, sugar-free (as in no sugar added: no stevia, no real sugars, no maple syrup, no honey, nada), contains healthy fats, and is gluten-free. 

so what kind of CAKE (or dessert for that matter) fits those requirements and still tastes absolutely incredible?
my banana muffin/bread recipe. 
i've talked about it so many times; it is literally my pride and joy. if i ever had the opportunity to cook for Wolfgang Puck, Alton Brown, Gordon Ramsay (yeah I think it's THAT good that he would have to curse --not bad things but good things--), Laura Vitale, or Chef Jon (from foodwishes), I would make this for them. I'm super confident that you will like it ;)

*slice the cake in half right down the middle (not horizontally or anything to make a super thin cake, although you could do that and get even more layers, but this cake is delicate since it's so moist, so it might not hold up that well)

Recipe: Almond Berry Banana Cake
By: Hannah Claudia

banana bread (1 batch, so just follow the measurements as the recipe states)
almond butter (i roasted the almonds before making the almond butter and it saved me SO MUCH TIME!! and tasted better too)
lots of frozen berries (try to get organic berries)
some defrosted/fresh berries
toasted coconut chips (just for decoration)


1. Bake the banana bread in an 11 x 4'' (-ish) loaf pan
2. Make the almond butter ahead of time!
3. Make a berry compote by adding about 3/4 cup of frozen berries to a splash of water in a small saucepan. Once the berries start to release their juices, go in with a wooden spoon/spatula and mash everything up until you achieve your desired consistency.
4. Once the banana bread is fully cooled, thinly slice the edges off (eat them kay, NO WASTING) and slice the whole cake down the middle vertically (*see above photos). 
5. Spread almond butter on the tops of both halves.
6. On one half, spread all of the berry compote on top of the almond butter.
7. Place the half without the berry compote on top of the half with berry compote.
8. Decorate with the defrosted/fresh berries and coconut chips

My brother thoroughly enjoyed this cake (and so did I of course). I was so so so happy with how it turned out; I've tried to bake cakes for myself several times in the past, and they have never turned out well cause I couldn't get the no-sugar and low-fat ratios to work out, but this recipe is tried and true and everything just worked out phenomenally. This cake, with its two layers, served 6 moderate slices (perfect for my family of 6), so there were no leftovers (kind of good because I had two bowls of granola that day and more cake would not have been good for hannah), but my brother was slightly disappointed by the fact that he couldn't have more xD
no worries, it's so easy to make and i'll make more for him in the future.

xoxo, hannah

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