Tuesday, February 26, 2013


   This recipe comes from www.this-is-irene.blogspot.com .  Another one of my favorite dessert foods.  Banana's!

Moist Banana Cake

Another easy everyday cake recipe today! To be honest, I didn't make it, I've still been pretty busy so mum's been doing the baking lately. This is just one of her specialty, when it comes to foolproof cakes, she's the boss, I prefer trying new recipes and ticking my to-do baking list even if it means some boo-boos on the way rather than stick to old favourites. Yes, I'm a fearless, courageous, risk taking young woman haha. So today, it's a super moist, non-crumbly banana cake. On her recipe book it's titled "exquisite banana cake", I think she got it the recipe from a friend but well, if it has "exquisite" in the title, must be something pretty special right?

Another little secret: I only got the chance to photograph it on the second day, because it was pretty gloomy the day she made it. And by the time I opened the box to see the precious cake models for the day, shock-horror, they were already cut up in slices and in halves! This was quite upsetting because I had spent the whole of the night before on my bed thinking about how I should arrange the loaf before going to sleep. You know those moments just before you go to sleep and you just think about nothing or things that happened that day, and things you hope will happen in the near future? So yeah, for me, it was all about banana cakes that night. But luckily, I pieced them together skillfully and hid cuts with some shred of brown paper bag and dressed it up with some pink bakers twine I bought at Etsy. No one would've known it was already cut up right? 

Mum also made one loaf with sultanas and the other without. If you want the sultana ones make sure you coat the sultanas with flour before folding them into the batter to prevent them all from sinking. Feel free to jazz it up with some nuts too, I'm sure walnuts and pecan would make it even more delish, if you're a nut-person. And how I wish I had fresh flowers blooming in my garden that I could just pick a few to enhance the setting for the shoots. Too bad I don't, heck, I don't even really have a white tablecloth, I just use a big sheet of white cardboard and sometimes when I need to, patch it up with some white A4 papers. Teehee, you didn't know that either. Man, alot of secrets are being revealed today... So anyway, in trying to make the setting interesting, I just made some iced chocolate (which yes, I had to drink the 2 glasses myself because no one was willing to help) and added some paper dollies and grabbed my rarely-used-tea-cakes-forks. I always thought it was always too showy to look good in food photos but I think considering the banana cake was pretty simple, it's a good complement! I just need to go prop shopping, pronto.

Moist Banana Cake 
Makes 2 loaves

160g butter, softened
dash of vanilla essence
1 cup castor sugar (I used a mix of brown and castor sugar)
4 eggs
4 medium ripe or overripe bananas, mashed (to yield 1 cup mashed bananas)
200g sour cream (light is fine)
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. all spice
1 tsp. ground nutmeg (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180'C and grease 2 lined loaf tins with butter
2. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until thick with a handheld beater
3. Beat in egg, then sour cream and banana in medium speed until well incorporated
4. Add all the dry ingredients to the mixture and mix slowly with a wooden spoon or spatula
5. Bake for 40 mins until golden brown and skewer comes out clean

I know everyone probably already have their own favourite banana cake/bread recipe. But if you don't or haven't tried a version with sour cream in it, I'd encourage you to try it out! It's super moist, and definitely moreish and filling. Perfect for brunch with some yoghurt or afternoon tea!

I can't believe tomorrow's friday already AGAIN. I've only got 2 more exams left so after next wednesday, I'll be totally free freee freeee to bake whatever I want. Knowing that just feels great! See you later! x


    The Viareggio Carnival was established in 1873 when some of the local "signori" decided to organize a Sunday a little different from the rest, by inventing a procession of decorated floats which travelled up and down the main street of the city. On the occasion , a masked protest was also organized by a number of citizens, as they were forced to pay too many taxes and as a result the chief tax collector was certainly made fun of!! The parade was liked alot, not only by the patrons but also by the citizens and the idea of making floats that interpreted humor and dissatisfaction of the people and the events that came about in that year.
   Carnival of Viareggio celebrating 139 years of life and activity under the sign of a vivid tradition such as the long – established European tradition of Carnival festivals, is no doubt one of the best known events in Italy.
    Carnival of Viareggio since it was born it has been acquiring a strong touristic value and attracts every year more than one million spectators gathering to attend the magic of the great parade of big floats in papier – maché.
    In 2012, the usual five carnival masked parades are planned for February 5th, 12th 19th 21th 26th and March, 3th, on the extraordinary Liberty style staging along the seaside avenues of Viareggio. Every evening, there are carnival celebrations in all of the city's different quarters.

             Real travelling theatres - the allegorical papier-maché floats are the product of the unequalled creativity, of the extraordinary sculpture and painting skill of Viareggio ‘magicians’, and are the highest example of this popular art whose language has spread all over the world.
The parades take place in a ring-like circuit 2 km. long, on the seaside avenues of Viareggio, best known as La Passeggiata.
    Here the floats move among the spectators, who can attend the show with no barriers, becoming in turn the protagonists of the parade.
    During the Carnival period, Viareggio and his Passeggiata change into a true open air Museum where people coming from all over the world meet to enjoy together.
The parades also include folkloristic bands and performers with the most original masks, offering excitement, culture and tradition in a wide programme of entertainment and fun for children and adults


   The popular seaside town of Viareggio is situated on the Tuscany coast. Viareggio and the resorts "Torre del Lago Puccini", "Lido di Camaiore", "Marina di Pietrasanta" makeup about 20 kilometers of the Versilian Riviera (or Riviera della Versilia).
Viareggio has most of the usual attractions of a typical Italian seaside resort.
    The town's symbol, heart of its history, is the “Torre Matilde”, built by the Senate of Lucca in 1550. In 1601 Viareggio, that was already a township, was declared a free port, and in 1617 it became the chieftown in the Vicaria del Litorale (the coastal viacariate).
    The birth of the first bathing establishment dates back to 1823. We owe the building of Viale dei Tigli to Maria Borbone, through which she could reach the centre, leaving from her villa situated in the East pinewood. In fact, the touristic activity began in Viareggio right in this period. Many men of culture stopped for a time in this area: the poet Percy B.Shelley, Lord Byron, Manzoni, Puccini and D'Annunzio.
    The city is 23.76 miles to Pisa, 17.67 miles to Massa, 29.87 miles to Livorno, and 59.5 miles to Firenze.
    The 3 Km modern promenade, where the parade takes place, is one of the focal point of the city, characterized by shops, cafes, refreshment points and Liberty style buildings.
Viareggio is now a tourist seaside resort with beaches and hotels boast ancient tradition.

    Since then Viareggio has become the home of the Italian Carnival, with its masked parades characterized by allegorical floats in papermache'. These floats are true works of art to which the local float makers dedicate an entire year of workmanship to. There is not one politician, entertainer, or intellectual that has not been a target (protagonist) of one of these floats, which almost comes to life during the parade by the moving arms, opening and closing mouths and rolling eyes. On every float, young people and children find a place from which to throw confetti and shooting stars to the crowd. During the entire period, masked balls and parties in the various "rioni" (quarters, districts) are organized as well as numerous sport and cultural events.

    The official Viareggio Carnival mask is the "Burlamacco", a clown which wears clothes. Checkered overalls, taken form the Harlequin's costume, a white ponpon stolen from Pierrot's big puffy blouse, a white gorget-"Captain Scary" style, a red headband and a black mantle. The name Burlamacco derives from Buffaimacco a Florentine painter and a character in the "Decamerone". However, it is also said to be linked to the Lucchese surname Burlamacchi.