Roasted Banana Marble Bundt Cake

Made with some unfed sourdough starter, caramelised ripe bananas and wholewheat flour! 

Today I went for a volunteer appreciation lunch- I've been volunteering at this place for a couple of years (this would be my third year there), teaching kids life skills, helping them with their homework. Sometimes I think I'm as much of a kid as they are- innocent, altruistic, hopeful- and sometimes I really wonder how much of a difference I can make. But my 2 years + of experience has helped me grow in so many ways that even if my actions didn't make a big change, I'm still extremely grateful and happy! I've opened my eyes to so many things I never new existed- the number of people struggling to earn enough money for the family, single parent families, children from low income households who don't have enough to afford new clothes and toys, children who don't live in a safe environment, children who suffer, emotionally and physically, from the death of loved ones and who become withdrawn or extremely hyperactive. There are some children who experience so much more pain and exhaustion than most children their age- and it was saddening to see that so many of these things were happening right in front of my eyes and just right there and I couldn't do anything to help them. I guess we all have our limits in some way- there's only so much we can do to help, and only so much we can afford to give because we need to put our own lives together- but yet I can't help but feel we can only do more. 

If only if people really cared and really bothered to set aside a bit of their time for such causes. And only if more people did it because they wanted to - they truly wanted to help- and not because they wanted to build their portfolio. It bothers me and sometimes it really disgusts me when people do things just because they want to build up their portfolio. Pragmatically, I don't blame them. I just hope they find purpose in what they are doing and maybe their need to "build up their portfolio" leads them somewhere other than their life goal to be someone big and famous. I hope they find meaning in what they do and they do it with the heart to serve and not to gain from it. I hope they do it because they want to and not because they have to. I have to admit I started off because I needed to fulfill my hours- but I continued because I believed that I could bring purpose into my life and I believed that I could do something to make a change- even if I could have slept a few more hours every Saturday morning, spent that time baking or doing homework or going our with friends or lazing around, I chose to spend it with the children because I really cared. And I hope that one day others will care, too. They will care for these thousands of children out there, right here in our heartlands, and help them see how much more they can achieve for who they are and not limit them to their circumstances. I have to say I grew up in a very fortunate family and school where everyone seemed okay- I never really knew there were so many children who struggle to pass their primary school tests and exams, who cannot read and pronounce basic words at primary 6, just when I thought it was easy to get As and Bs in primary school, I realised that the people around me were just the lucky few who got things easy and so many other people got it hard. I really learnt to appreciate what I have and the help that I received. 

I could go on and on but I want to talk about my time spent with elderly. Honestly at first I thought I would've been able to get along with kids better- maybe because I just thought they were cute and adorable and easy to pacify- but I'm so glad I was given the opportunity to work with elderly, and although it's only been a couple of months, I think it's going to be a life changing experience for me. Basically I go for house visits to the elderly once a week and we talk to them- about their lives, their families, their friends, and they share, very openly, about their stories and experiences. I've really learnt a lot, listening to them share, or really just spending time with them, and there's really nothing more interesting than being in touch with the wealth of experience and knowledge they have gained through these years. And I've realised how important family is, especially when you're old and tired, family is what makes your life worth living- it's what makes you happy and makes your life fufilling. And a big, bonded, happy family is what never fails to bring a smile to your face. Old people, I've learnt, are just as adorable, or even more so, than children. And at this point in their life, what they really need is for people to be with them, to talk to them, to listen to them, to hear them, to respect them, to believe in them, to satisfy them, to make them happy. And life is just as simple as that- love, family, happiness, gratitude. 

Roasted Banana Marble Bundt Cake 

Roasted Bananas 
500g (about 4 bananas), sliced into 1 inch pieces 
30g brown sugar 
30g bourbon/rum 

375g wholewheat flour 
1 1/4 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp baking soda 
3/4 tsp salt 
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
3 eggs 
130g butter, melted 
160g milk 
1 tsp vanilla 
200g sourdough starter (100% hydration) 
30g cocoa powder 

Roast bananas + sugar + rum at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes, stirring halfway, till caramelised. Let cool. 
Whisk together dry ingredients.
Mash bananas, combine with wet ingredients + sourdough starter still smooth. 
Fold in dry ingredients.
Combine half the batter with the cocoa powder. 
Grease and flour Bundt pan. Alternate layers of the batter, swirling with a knife. 
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius, 55-60 min. Drizzle with melted speculoos. 

- used 1/3 recipe to fit my small Bundt pan, reduced baking time to 20-25 min 
- not very sweet: either use very ripe bananas on increase sweetness! 

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