I think all parents have high expectations for their kids. And high expectations for themselves, as well. I know I worry way too much about whether I'm doing the right things as a parent, teaching my girls the right things, handling things the right way... the list goes on and on. And things definitely get more interesting with more than one child, especially as they start to interact with each other more. Jamie often shakes his head and asks me "Is it really normal for them to behave like that? Why do they act that way and fight with each other?" Yes, he's an only child. My usual answer, "Yes, it's normal. And why? Because they can!"
I'm the oldest of four girls, so I know how hard that can be. Yet I still find myself saying the same things to Brianna that my mom used to say to me. It's hard, having to be the older, more responsible one. And I'm sure it's particularly trying when your not-quite-3-year-old sister is making your life miserable. I realized that I tend to forget that Gillian is almost four years younger than Brianna, and I probably expect too much from her a lot of the time. It's easy to think that because Brianna can do something when I ask her to (can do it; will do it is another matter entirely), Gillian can too. Add in the fact that Gillian's vocabulary and sentence structure is very advanced, and it's even harder to remember that she's not even three yet.
Case in point... Over the weekend, I wanted to stop by Sur la Table to look for a new bundt pan. I didn't really need one, but the one I have was cheap and not very interesting to look at, so I wanted to explore some new options. So while Jamie and Brianna were finishing up at Borders, I took Gillian and walked over to SLT to check things out. Unfortunately, I forgot that Gillian doesn't really listen when I ask her not to touch things. So I told her that if she couldn't listen to me and leave things alone, she'd have to hold my hand. At that, she sat down on the floor and told me "No!" At that point, I just picked her up off the floor and headed out of the store as quickly as I could while Gillian squirmed and shouted "No! I want to be down! I will listen now!" *sigh* You'd think I'd learn my lesson and not try to take her places like that, but I know sooner or later she'll get past this stage...
The reason I was looking for the new bundt pan was for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. Mary the Food Librarian loves to bake bundt cakes. So I don't think anyone was surprised to learn that she selected the Classic Banana Bundt Cake for us to make this week. I resigned myself to making the cake in my usual pan, but then I remembered my kugelhopf pan! I've only used it once, so it was about time to try it out again.
We go through cycles of eating bananas in this house. Jamie doesn't really eat them much. I will if I'm in the right mood, and only if they aren't too ripe--I like them totally yellow, but not yet brown at all. Gillian--my monkey girl--loves them, and Brianna will usually eat them as well. In fact, banana was the first food other than breastmilk that my girls ate. It's certainly one of the easiest to prepare for kids of all ages. =) I don't really like banana desserts and baked goods, though. I'll eat banana bread sometimes, but don't like things like banana cream pie at all. Still, I like bundt cakes, and definitely wanted to give this one a try, especially since everyone who made it was raving about it.
The cake is very straightforward to mix up. It uses the standard creaming method. Besides the bananas for moisture, it has sour cream, which I love in cakes. (I used reduced fat for this one.) The leavening comes from baking soda. I expected that, because of the sour cream, but was a bit surprised at the quantity. You don't see many recipes that call for 2 teaspoons of baking soda! Then I did some thinking and some checking online, and realized that the bananas are acidic as well, though not as much so as the sour cream. Plus baking soda results in more browning, and this cake definitely comes out a gorgeous brown color. Because of the shape of my pan, my cake didn't take quite as long to bake as the recipe said. I tented it with foil after thirty minutes (that browning thing again), and it baked for a little less than 60 minutes total. I used to worry a lot about bundt cakes sticking to the pan, but I've found that a liberal application of baking spray (like Pam for Baking or Baker's Joy) works wonders.
The verdict? Well, as I mentioned, the cake turned out gorgeous. And besides looking good, it was quite tasty. I added a drizzle of glaze (just powdered sugar and milk). I love glaze. =) Gillian liked it too--she mostly picked off the glaze and ate it, leaving the cake behind. I was surprised to find that Brianna liked the cake a lot. I think she's going through a growth spurt, because she's been eating everything in sight. She actually preferred the cake without the glaze. Jamie liked it, and banana baked goods aren't his favorite. He commented that he liked the lighter texture (as compared to your typical banana bread). I took a bunch of the cake to the daycares, too. Several people immediately commented that banana cake or bread was their favorite. I didn't get any other comments from them yet, but the containers came home empty, so I guess it was a hit. =) I would definitely make this one again, especially if I had people to share it with.
For the recipe, be sure to head over to Mary's blog. And check out the blogroll over at TWD to see what everyone else thought of this week's cake. And I leave you with a new picture of my silly monkeys... =)