The other struggle of wills is with Daughter #1 about her choices of books. Recently she has been reading constantly the Rainbow Fairy series, a group of books which Husband and I do not enjoy. But because of the sheer number of them (think of books that never seem to end) she has kept on reading them. They are different titles, but the same basic repeating plot. She had finished the four she had gotten from the library and then said, "Mom, I have nothing else to read. Can you get me some more Rainbow Fairy books?" to which I replied, "I can, but do you want to read something else right now?" I proceeded to grab my copy of Little House in the Big Woods and handed it to her and explained how it was a book of my own childhood. I didn't expect her to want to read it, only because she's been so completely stubborn about the Rainbow Fairy books, but she looked at it and asked me about it. I gave her a brief synopsis, explained that the book took place in a time with no TV, no cars, no grocery stores, no toilet and made her imagine a world so different from her own. She looked at it, started reading and stopped when she had to ask me what the word "Wisconsin" was. After a while, she was quiet and deep in thought. And I peeked at her and was thrilled to see that she had completely fallen under the spell of another book. One that I liked. And my heart did a small dance of joy because she was willing to try something new.
After that wonderful moment, I came downstairs and had to celebrate. I have to make my own small little parties as the big ones aren't really happening. When Daughter #1 takes my suggestion and reads a book and enjoys it? That's cause for a celebration. When Son stops walking down the street naked and actually puts on clothes? Not quite the reason I'm looking to celebrate, but hey, I'll take it. And my choice of celebration is a slice of this Chocolate Banana Cake.
It is moist, rich, wonderfully textured because of the bananas, and relatively simple to make. If you didn't want to chop bittersweet chocolate, you could probably put in some chocolate chips in there and it would be chunkier with the chocolate, vs. the slivers of bittersweet chocolate that you hand chop. It is rich and chocolaty with banana texture and taste and it was amazing warm (as the chocolate made it gooey) and delicious cool. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you may never want to stop eating it. Just don't celebrate too often as it is definitely not going to be too kind to your waistline.
Chocolate Banana Cake (from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)
Makes one 9 X 5 inch loaf or a 9 inch round (serves 8-10)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of 9 X 5 inch loaf pan or 9 inch round pan.
Sift together flour, coca powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using paddle attachment beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar and beat at high until well blended, about 2 minutes. At medium speed, beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the mashed bananas and vanilla extract and mix at low speed until blended. Add the flour mixture at low speed in three additions, alternating it with the sour cream in two additions. Remove bowl from the mixer stand and stir in the chopped chocolate. Scrap batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with spatula.
Bake cake for 55 to 65 minutes (loaf pan) or 45 to 50 minutes (round pan), until a cake tester into the center comes out clean (except for any melted chocolate.)
Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Unmold cake onto the rack, turn right side up and cool completely.
Now, that's my idea of a celebration.
The chocolate I used...but do not buy from this link as it is crazy expensive. I picked mine up from Safeway.
A really great book of cakes...if my waistline didn't move so much I'd probably try a good number in here.
A classic from my childhood and completely worth reading