Classy, elegant, and secretly healthy!
The Big Blog News
Almost three months ago, my family and I hustled through the hospital doors to visit my grandparents at Christmas. My grandma had entered the ER in the beginning of October, and various post-surgery complications prevented her from healing and going home sooner. Between the nurses’ rounds and doctor’s appointments, I cheered Grandma through her PT sessions, listened to “Law and Order” with Grandpa during another one of her operations, and played Tour Guide in the backseat when we checked her out of the hospital to look at Christmas lights.
On the plane flight home a few days later, squashed in between my mom and brother, I reflected on the weighty subjects of life and love. After 55+ years of marriage, my grandparents still rose each day with the same passion for each other and their various hobbies, and I contemplated how I wanted to replicate that in my own life.
As I meditated, a tiny seed transplanted itself from my heart into my head. I sensed that blogging was the right path, but as the idea continued to blossom, I realized my name no longer fit.
I first started blogging as Foods for the Soul 3 ½ years ago. Before writing my very first post in October 2010, my younger brother had to patiently explain the difference between a blog and a website, as well as walk me—a completely computer-challenged person—through the process of setting one up. I initially treated it as a hobby and a way to stretch myself outside of my comfort zone. I started creating new dishes instead of sticking to my weekly pasta and sandwich routine, snapping pictures in my tiny apartment kitchen and posting my humble recipes afterward.
As motivation to continue blogging, I challenged myself to cook my way through the alphabet. Each week, I cooked a new dish that began with the next letter, and after 26 weeks when I finally reached “Z,” I was hooked. I kept going.
About two years later, towards the beginning of last spring, I put cooking on the back burner and started focusing almost exclusively on baking. I dreamed of cocoa powder and chocolate chips at night, I pondered the flavor profiles of various cookies and cupcakes while running errands, and I brainstormed potential brownie and bar recipes during dinner.
So now, just a few hours after publishing this post, I’m changing my blog’s name to reflect that.
It’ll be called Amy’s Healthy Baking.
Amy = me.
Healthy = my lifestyle.
Baking = my passion.
Already, the name feels like it fits a little better. But I promise that nothing else about my blog is changing! It’s still me developing, photographing, and writing the recipes and blog posts you so sweetly read.
No matter where you’re following me—email, RSS, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram—you still are, even after my blog name switch. You don’t have to do anything to continue receiving updates! Just to be thorough, here are my new handles…
If you’d like to start following me—or just want to make sure you still are!—simply click the links above. (If viewing this in your email inbox, you may need to visit the blog post to see the links.)
To celebrate my blog’s new name, I’ve lined up multiple giveaways for the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for them! I connected with some of my favorite brands, and they plan on offering many lucky readers some fabulous goodies. Check back often—you don’t want to miss these!
Of course, no celebration is complete without cake, so I baked quite a treat for you too: a Banana Cake with Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Frosting. It’s a mouthful to say, but an even sweeter one to eat! Bright banana flavor fills every moist forkful, accompanied by a decadent dark chocolate frosting and a kiss of sweet peanut butter swirl. And in true “healthy baking” fashion, this sophisticated cake is low in fat and calories, and it contains NO butter, refined flour, or refined sugar!
I used entirely whole wheat flour to bake this clean-eating cake. Although whole wheat baked goodies usually acquire a bad reputation for turning out dense and dry, this one is the exact opposite! Its incredible moisture comes from mashed banana and Greek yogurt. Try to pick the spottiest, brownest, ripest bananas you can find! They’ll be much softer and add more natural sweetness to the cake. As for the Greek yogurt, it’s my secret weapon to healthier baking because it adds lots of moisture without the excess fat and calories in butter and oil. It even bumps up the protein content too!
There’s only 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in this entire cake! I mainly added it for texture; with all of the other prominent flavors, you actually can’t taste the coconut at all. If you don’t have any, feel free to substitute unsalted butter instead.
I baked this cake in a 9”-square pan—I wanted the slices to be extra big! If you prefer taller slices that aren’t quite so wide, use an 8”-square pan instead. The bake time may differ by a tad, so use the toothpick test to check. (Look for very few or no crumbs, but no wet batter either!)
Surprisingly enough, I usually avoid frosting. Generally too sweet for my tastes, I scrape it off store-bought cakes and cupcakes (or choose cookies or brownies instead)… Unless it’s dark chocolate and super fudgy. This is my favorite homemade frosting—and you don’t even need a mixer! It’s just four ingredients—cocoa powder, agave, vanilla, and milk—stirred together in a bowl. I developed it for my skinny double dark chocolate cupcakes, and I cut the recipe in half for this cake. With its really rich and decadent taste, a little goes a long way, and I didn’t want it to overpower the delicate banana flavor in the cake.
Although the peanut butter swirl looks sophisticated, it’s so simple! I introduced the technique with these fudgy peanut butter brownies, and it turned out even cuter on this cake. Just warm up the peanut butter in the microwave until it’s easy to spread, and spoon it into a zip-topped baggie. Snip off the corner and pipe horizontal lines across the fudgy frosting, between ¼” to ½” apart. They don’t have to be perfectly straight; almost all of mine are slanted because I was so excited about my blog switch! Drag a toothpick in vertical lines, alternating the direction (up to down, then down to up), to create the elegant “V” shapes. That’s all there is to it!
I saved the best slice for you!
This Banana Cake with Fudgy Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Frosting is a delicious symphony of perfect pairings: peanut butter and banana, banana and chocolate, chocolate and peanut butter. Every moist bite begins with a sweet fruity burst, followed by decadent dark chocolate and a subtle nutty finish. The elegant cake looks is full of your favorite comforting flavors, and each large slice contains less than 185 calories!
So from the bottom of my heart… Thank you. I wouldn’t be here, blogging and baking and doing what I love, without you. Whether you read through the entire post, just try the recipe, or simply skim through the photographs, I truly appreciate every one of you. ♥