Bourbon Banana Bread (yep.)

Last weekend I volunteered with Rebuilding Together. About 30 volunteers from my office got together and helped do repairs on a house inhabited by three mentally and physically disabled residents. Tasks ranged from rebuilding the wheel chair ramp, landscaping, rebuilding a fence, and my new expertise: repainting the house! I had a lot of fun, it was a beautiful day to spend outside helping others.

At the end of the day there was a ton of leftover food that was provided for the volunteers, so I snagged a bunch of bananas to take home. I've been patiently waiting for these bananas to brown so I could make banana bread. I began my banana bread recipe search at Smitten Kitchen of course. My search ended as soon as I saw bourbon listed as an ingredient. Sold!

Bourbon Banana Bread

4 bananas, smashed
1/3 C butter
3/4 C brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp bourbon
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
1 1/2 C flour

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan. In a large bowl, mix together the banana and butter. Add the sugar, egg, vanilla, and bourbon and stir to combine. Sprinkle the baking soda, salt, and spices and stir to combine. Finally, stir in the flour. Turn the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a tester comes out clean (I had to bake for at least 60).

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Disclaimer: Otis did not aid in any baking activities
I'm house/dog sitting this weekend while my brother and sister-in-law are on a romantic weekend getaway. I've decided to spend a romantic weekend baking with this guy:

My brother had a bag of carrots in the fridge I know he's been trying to use up, so I obviously decided to make cake. This is a great basic carrot cake recipe, which can be amended to include walnuts or raisins or whatever you like.

Carrot Cake

2 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
2 C sugar
1 1/4 C vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrots (grated very fine)

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl, whisk together sugar and oil. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir until combined. Stir in grated carrots (and any nuts or raisins if you're using). Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 inch round cake pans and bake for about 40 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Very finely grated carrots makes for very moist cake!
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 C powdered sugar
1/4 C maple syrup

Blend all ingredients with a hand mixer until thick and creamy. Chill for a few minutes to achieve an easily spreadable consistency.

Discovery Park

On Saturday, Katie, Otis, and I took a walk around Discovery Park.

It was a beautiful day (spring, finally!) and I was happy to be able to explore one of Seattle's parks. Many more to see!

- A note about non-recipe photo posts - you may have noticed I haven't been posting daily photos recently. It's really hard to keep that up, and I honestly haven't been inspired to lug my camera around every day. So, I will try to posts more photos per post, since there will be less of them!