For me baking is a lot like marriage. And no I don’t mean a dash of sugar and spice. I mean the confidence, intuition, and patience that can only come with time and experience.
If you are anything like me the first few times I baked a cake I spent the time not so patiently watching the clock, wondering if it has been too long or not long enough? Thinking you should follow the instructions and leave the cake in the oven, when you intuition is telling you it’s time to take it out.
Following the directions, measuring out your ingredients carefully, doing everything you can for success, but sometimes your cake just doesn’t turn out. Leaving your confidence dashed.
Marriage is similar. You can do everything right to set yourself up for success and it still might be a struggle. It just might not be the light, airy sponge cake you image it to be.
When you are first married there is the pressure, the misconception of the ‘honeymoon’ phase. That the first year of marriage is all sunshine and roses. And if it isn’t well…
As a new baker I wouldn’t think I could bake a croquembouche and it would turn out a perfect masterpiece. So I’m not sure why as a newlywed, we think we will have the perfect marriage right away.
Approaching our third anniversary, we are just getting a handle on this whole marriage thing. We are learning to compromise and support each other better. We’ve gone through some challenges and learned from them. Communication is improving, still a lot to work, but it is improving. I’d say on the skill level we’ve graduated from confidently baking chocolate chip cookies to baking lemon madeleines.
I kind of forgot about the pressure to be shiny, new, and perfect newlyweds, but I was recently reminded of all of those feelings when I was chatting with a newbie bride of three months. She made the sheepish comment that marriage was great but they were in the middle of renovating their home. Reading between the subtext I replied not to worry the first year of marriage is hard, we sucked at it, but it does get so much better – and her eyes lit up. The conversation that ensued seemed to be a relief, a comfort in hearing that others struggled and it gets better, much better. Why we don’t share these honest struggles with our friends is a mystery to me. I would have loved to hear that others faced similar struggles during my first months of marriage, instead of secretly feeling like there was something wrong with me or us. Perhaps just like learning how long it takes to bake a cake in your own oven, in your own home; you have to learn together in your own home and at your own pace. But I still think it’s nice to know you are not the only ones ‘adjusting‘.
Just like my baking skills, my marriage skills are a work in progress. With every miscommunication and slightly overdone bread, I’m learning. My knowledge, patience, and confidence in my intuition is growing, both as a baker and as a wife.
The good thing is we have a lifetime together to figure out how to bake that croquembouche!
So when your banana bread ends up a little darker around the edges than you would have liked, it’s okay, you can always try again.
And besides perfection is over rated!
Bourbon Banana Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze
Bourbon banana bread with a bourbon infused cream cheese glaze.
- 3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- ⅓ cup melted butter
- 1 cup demerara sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon bourbon
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 1½ cups confectioner's sugar
Preheat oven 350F.
In a mixing bowl, stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.
Mix in the baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour. And lastly stir in bourbon.
Pour the batter into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.
Remove from oven and cool completely on a rack, before drizzling the top of the bread with the bourbon glaze.
GLAZE: Using a hand blender on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and bourbon until smooth and fluffy. Add in the sugar and mix until combined. If the glaze is too thick, add a few teaspoons of milk or bourbon to thin out.