It’s been two years since I started this baking venture called gracefulleats…and I must say, it’s been a challenge.
During this second year, I’ve: been featured in BuzzFeed, here and here; had my earl grey donuts with blueberry glaze featured in a German magazine called Sweet Dreams Magazin; finished seven letters of my alphabet, eight including this one (what a horrible record…); and you know, made the usual random cookies and cupcakes for bible studies, road trips, and friends/family. This year seemed so much more unproductive. The amount of posts on here seems to decrease as time goes by, and I don’t know whether or not I should contribute that to busy-ness or laziness. Perhaps both?
There are times when I think about stopping this whole thing altogether. I tell myself, “It’s too much work, you’re wasting your money, no one really ever reads this thing, you’re not that good at this stuff anyway,” etc etc. But the amount of support and encouragements I get from friends and family is amazing. They push me to keep going, to keep doing what I love, to keep pursuing this hobby of mine. They send me links to help me with my photography and composition, recipes for me to try, and blogs for me to look for inspiration. They ask me why I haven’t blogged, then tell me that I need to finish the alphabet (and I will! Eventually). They tell me how they’ve used recipes from my blog, which always makes me a little nervous because I know I make grammar mistakes and typos all the time. But…you all know who you are–thank you.
But as I was thinking about this post, I realized this: there’s a much greater purpose behind this blog. There’s a greater purpose behind sharing recipes with people who I’ll probably never meet. There’s more to just finding recipes, making baked goods, taking pictures, and writing blog posts. There is a far greater purpose as to why I do what I do on here. And it’s the gospel. The gospel–the story of how our Sovereign Creator sent His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. The story of unconditional love and everlasting joy. The story that, if we believe it, gives us eternal life in heaven to sing His praises forever. The story that gives us delight, hope, and peace…in His name and for His glory.
My prayer is that as long as I keep living for Christ, for the gospel, this mindset may be reflected in my posts. As for how these posts will reach out to others, I’m not really sure. But I’m certain that God is good and faithful, and He will do what He pleases. I will continue to be His servant and a missionary for Christ, knowing full well that I am a child of God and that He does all things for my good. And I will continue to do this, as with all other things in life, for His glory…because that is what I was created to do.
So, thank you, all, for your support and encouragement. Thanks for staying with me on this journey the past two years! Soli deo Gloria.
Makes one 6-inch layer cake
Adapted from The Cake Blog
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Chocolate Ganache:
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 ounces heavy cream
For the Nutella Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup Nutella (i didn’t think this was enough, you may want to add more)
1. For the Banana Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 6-inch round cake pans by spraying with cooking spray and lining the bottom with a cut out 6-inch parchment paper circle.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add in the sugar, and cream until light and fluffy.
3. With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla and eggs, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition.
4. Add in half of the sifted dry ingredients. Mix in the yogurt or sour cream. Add in the rest of the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Fold in the mashed bananas until just combined. Don’t overmix.
5. Pour the batter evenly between two pans, and bake until golden, about 22-25 minutes. Let the layers cool on a wire rack, inverting them once they are cool enough to handle. Let the cakes cool completely before slicing them in half horizontally to create four layers of cake.
6. For the Chocolate Ganache: Place the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium-low until it starts to simmer. Pour the cream over the chocolate, and let it sit for 30 seconds before whisking together until smooth. Let the ganache cool before using.
7. For the Nutella Swiss Meringue Buttercream: Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk until combined.
8. Using a saucepan that fits the mixing bowl without the bottom of the bowl touching the water, fill the saucepan with a few inches of water and place over medium heat.
9. Place the bowl over the saucepan, making sure the bottom doesn’t touch the water. Heat the egg white/sugar mixture, stirring occasionally, until the egg mixture reaches about 110 degrees on a candy thermometer.
10. Once hot, remove the bowl from the heat, and place it on the mixer. Whisk on high until the bowl becomes room temperature, and the egg white mixture reaches stiff peaks.
12. For Assembly: Spread a layer of ganache over the bottom layer of the cake. Remember, I also added a layer of Nutella, but this cake does get pretty rich, so it’s your call.