Cinnamon Banana Cake

Yesterday was Mr. Idea Room’s birthday! He likes food in general…but he really likes cake.  Especially our Cinnamon Banana Cake.  This recipe has been part of my family’s recipes for as long as I can remember.  We actually call it Sandy’s Cake.  I have no idea why.  I should probably ask because there could be a great family history story behind it.

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Anyways…One of my favorite things about this cake is that it is made with bananas.  And for some reason when I buy bananas…they either are gobbled up quickly before I can use one on my bowl of Cheerios in the morning (grrr…and yes…I LOVE me some Cheerios).  Or, they sit and turn brown forgotten in the fruit basket.


So, this is one of our favorite go to recipes.  This is also a recipe that we like to make and share with our neighbors and friends.


Cinnamon Banana Cake

1 cup butter  
1 cup sugar
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 dash salt
3 cups flour
1 pint sour cream (2 cups) or vanilla yogurt

Blend butter, sugar, bananas, eggs and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients. In another bowl make the filling.

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs. cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips (optional…but why wouldn’t you?)

Layer batter and filling twice in a 9X13 dish. Bake 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.

* Sometimes the middle of the cake needs to bake longer.  If so, put foil over the cake after the 45 minutes and bake it for another 5 minutes.  Test with a toothpick in the middle to see if the batter sticks to it, if it comes out clean…the cake is finished.


Click here for a printable version of our Cinnamon Banana Cake Recipe.

Candy cane swirl cake

This is a story about a Candy Cane Swirl Cake that tasted better than it looked…

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{Don’t let the picture fool you…that is some creative photography…}

I don’t really share my craft/cooking fails with you guys and I don’t want you to think that I never have any…cause believe me…I do.  Not everything turns out like I had imagined it in my head.  Can anyone relate?  I wanted to share this delicious cake we made over the Christmas holidays but it was just not pretty enough to make the cut.  Even though it tasted really great. 

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{See?  I told you!}

I originally saw the Candy Cane Swirl Cake at Betty Crocker.  But instead of using a box cake, I decided to make my favorite white cake recipe from scratch.

White Cake Recipe

  • 1 cup butter

  • 2 cups white sugar

  • 4 large eggs

  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 3/4 cups milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Grease and flour pans lightly. I used three 8 inch round pans.

  3. Cream together butter & vanilla extract.

  4. Add sugar slowly until all is added and it is mixed well.

  5. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

  6. In a separate bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt together twice.

  7. Now add flour mixture, alternating between the milk and flour. Mixing well after each again.

  8. ______________________________

1/2 teaspoon red food color (see Directions #1 below)

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (see Directions #1 below)

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1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Generously grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube cake pan. Make cake batter as directed above. Pour about 2 cups batter into pan. In small bowl, pour about 3/4 cup batter; stir in food color and peppermint extract. Carefully pour pink batter over white batter in pan. Carefully pour remaining white batter over pink batter.

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2. Bake cake at 350°F and cool completely.

3. In small bowl, mix white icing ingredients. If necessary, stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until smooth and spreadable. Spread over cake. Sprinkle crushed candy on top. Store loosely covered.

White Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon milk or water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla, if desired

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I am not quite sure why my cake fell apart.  Maybe the box cake would have been better to use in the bundt pan.  But it sure did taste good.  And there were several salvageable pieces of cake that I was able to serve up that looked halfway decent.  Hehe.  And with some creative photography I was almost able to make it look…well…somewhat presentable.

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I have decided to share more of these creativity failures with you as part of trying to keep it real.  What do you think?  Are you looking forward to seeing some of my creative catastrophes??

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Chocolate Gingerbread men


I don’t know who decides to rip up most of the flooring on their main floor two weeks BEFORE Christmas…Crazy people…

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But we did because it was the best time that worked for us so we didn’t have to wait until the new year.  I am putting an office/craft room in our dining room since we rarely use that room and it is some prime real estate.  So we have been crazy busy in addition to all the Christmas business.  But I am really excited!  I will share some pictures here soon.

So…Christmas baking has not been happening around here.  As soon as we got most of the house put back together I knew I needed to get my bake on.  The first thing I made were these DELICIOUS Chocolate Gingerbread Men.  I have been wanting to try a chocolate gingerbread recipe since last year seeing as how I have an addiction to gingerbread this time of year…and you can never have enough chocolate.  And, I have to say…I really enjoyed these…maybe a little too much…{ahem}!!

I used a recipe I found from Ghirardelli.

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Chocolate Gingerbread Men

Recipe from

Yield: 40 cookies


2 ounces Semi-Sweet Baking Bar

1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

2 tablespoons ground ginger

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup molasses

1 large egg

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In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the molasses, egg, and melted chocolate and continue beating on medium speed for an additional 2 minutes. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Transfer the dough to a flat surface and flatten into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least hour, or up to 5 days.

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Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Divide the chilled dough into four equal quarters, leaving three quarters in the refrigerator. Lightly flour a flat work surface and roll out one piece of dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Using a small (2 to 2 1/2 –inch) gingerbread man or woman cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible. Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheets, about 1 inch apart. Gather all the dough scraps into a ball and place in the refrigerator. Take out another quarter of the dough, and continue rolling out the dough and cutting cookies until all the dough has been used. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly raised. Using a spatula, remove the cookies from the cookie sheets, transferring to a wire rack to cool.

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These cookies are so full of flavor and I like how they had just a nice amount of softness and chewiness to them.  No need to add a lot of extra frosting to them.  Just a few buttons to dress him up a bit should do the trick.  Plus…it is a lot faster that way.

Take these to your next holiday party or gobble them up with a tall glass of cold milk.

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And can you even believe that there are only 6 more sleeps till Christmas? I have a few last minute items to finish up this week and then should be ready to celebrate!  I LOVE this time of year!  Now we just need it to snow!

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    Santa Pops

    Have you been waiting for the Christmas version?  I hope so…cause I am sharing my latest Oreo Pop with you today…the Santa Pops!

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    1.  Insert your popsicle stick or sucker stick into your Double Stuft Oreo Cookies.

    2.  Line a pan with parchment or wax paper.

    3.  Melt your Red Wilton’s Candy Melts in 20 second intervals in the microwave.

    4.  “Dip” your Oreo’s into the melted candy.  In the past I have been saying to *DIP* your Oreos and several of you were having difficulty with them staying on the stick during the dipping process.  I realized that I was actually pouring the chocolate over the over with a spoon while holding the Oreo over the cup of melted chocolate.  Just turn the Oreo around as needed so that the chocolate is completely covering your entire Oreo and the stick.  Hopefully this will help some of you who were having difficulty.  Sorry for the confusion.


    5.  Place the candy covered Oreo onto the wax paper.

    6.  Take a piece of black licorice {I used Twizzlers} and place it near the bottom of the Oreo.  The hardened chocolate will hold them it in place permanently.

    7.  Take three white round sprinkles down the Oreo for the buttons of Santa’s shirt.

    8.  Squeeze some white frosting along the bottom of Santa’s shirt.

    8.  Quickly pop the tray of Oreos into the freezer just to set the chocolate.

    9.  When the chocolate has hardened (should only need a few minutes) remove the tray from the freezer and add the belt buckle.  (A strip of yellow Laffy Taffy shaped into a buckle).

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    This makes for a pretty fun party treat or as a gift for a classmate.  The possibilities are endless for these Oreo Pops.  I am a woman obsessed.  But…I must admit…I am a bit sick of them.  I don’t eat them anymore.  I just make them for the fun of it and then I give them away!  What do you think?

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    Need some other Oreo Pop ideas?

    Check out some of these past Idea Room ideas…

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    Minnie and Mickey Mouse Oreo Pops

    Frankenstein Oreo Pops

    Eyeball Oreo Pops

    Snowman Oreo Pops

    Snowman Oreo Puddles

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    Easter Bunny and Duck Oreo Pops

    Graduation Oreo Pops

    Apple Oreo Pops

    Reindeer Pops

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    Turkey Oreos

    Bat Oreo Pops

    Pumpkin Oreo Pops

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    How To Make Play Dough—Peppermint

    Sorry about not getting this up sooner.  Things have been crazy around here with that wind storm.  I just finally found some time to sit down and get this typed up.  Have you ever wondered how to make Play Dough?  It could not be simpler.  I have shared how to make some fun Kool-Aid Flavored Play Dough and Pumpkin Spice Play Dough.  Well, since it is Christmas time, I decided we needed to make some Peppermint Play Dough.  So I fiddled with the recipe a bit and came up with a recipe for some yummy smelling Peppermint Play Dough.

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    Peppermint Play Dough Recipe

    1 cup flour
    1/4 cup salt
    2 tablespoons
    cream of tartar
    1 Tablespoon Peppermint Oil Extract
    1 tablespoon
    vegetable oil
    1 cup water

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    1. Mix flour, salt, & cream of tartar in a medium cooking pot.
    2. Add water, peppermint extract and oil.
    3. Stir over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes stirring constantly.
    4. When mixture forms a ball in pot, remove.
    5. Knead until smooth.
    6. Play and explore with this fragrant, brightly colored dough as you would any play dough.
    7. Put in a plastic bag and refrigerate to store.

    A great way to entertain the kids during Christmas break.  Or a great gift for a neighbor, classmates or friends.  It is so easy to make and is the softest (non sticky) Play Dough recipe I have ever used.  I like it better than the store bought stuff…plus…it smells amazing!!  And if you are feeling extra festive…throw in a handful of red glitter to give it some fun sparkle!

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    And, in the spirit of giving, I have provided you with a free printable Peppermint Play Dough label for the tops of your jars or Tupperware containers to label it for a gift.  The labels are 3 inch circles.  If you need them smaller you can simply print the label smaller than 100% to get the size you need.

    {Download Peppermint Play Dough Label}

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    I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  I would love to hear from those of you who are planning on making some for yourself or who plan on gifting it.  19 more sleeps till Christmas…but who’s counting!!

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    Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins

    ove the Holiday season for many reasons!  One of the reasons is getting to enjoy all the delicious baked goods.  As soon as the cooler weather hits, I get antsy to get my oven fired up again after being neglected during the hot summer months.  A perfect holiday baked good that is not too sweet, that I enjoy making are these Raspberry Muffins.

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    I decide to spruce them up a bit to make them a bit more sophisticated this year.  So I added some white chocolate chips and some White Chocolate Raspberry International Delight Creamer to the recipe.  And, I have to say, that the result was pretty darn tasty!

    Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins

    Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins


    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 cup White Chocolate Raspberry International Delight Creamer
    • 1 stick of butter, melted
    • 4 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
    • 2 cups fresh red raspberries
    • 1/2 to 1 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
    • Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 4 tablespoons melted butter


    1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Beat the eggs, buttermilk, and the White Chocolate Raspberry ID Creamer together.
    2. Add the melted butter to the mixture and blend well.
    3. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and allspice in a separate bowl.
    4. Add half of the dry ingredients to the buttermilk mixture. Stir to blend, add the remaining dry ingredients just stirring to blend again.
    5. Gently fold in the raspberries and the spoon into the muffin cups.
    6. Bake 18-22 minutes or until lightly browned.
    7. After baked muffins have cooled 5 minutes, and working one at a time, dip top of each muffin in melted butter and then cinnamon sugar.
    8. Set muffins upright on wire rack to cool completely.


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    Looks pretty yummy right?  I love that the red berries make them extra festive for the Holidays too.

    Tell International Delight what your favorite holiday treat is for a chance to win a $200 Walmart gift card.

    *Capture the flavors of the holidays with International Delight Creamers. Available in a variety of flavors, such as, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Vanilla Spiced Rum and White Chocolate Raspberry.

    TellTeTeTell International Delight what your favorite holiday treat is for a chance to win a $200 Walmart Gift Card.
    Capture the flavors of the holiday’s in every cup of coffee with International Delight creamers. Available in a variety of flavors, such as Cinnabon, Almond Joy and Pumpkin Spice, International Delight can make everyday feel like a holiday.

    *This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight.

    The opinions expressed by me do not necessarily reflect

    the view of the International Delight Brand.


    Hershey’s Chocolate Peppermint Roll

    I haven’t posted a recipe for a while and thought I would share this super yummy Chocolate Peppermint Roll from Hershey’s. We made this a while ago and it was so good. We only ate half of it and then decided to freeze the rest for later. We ate it for the second time when it was still frozen and it tasted just like an icecream cake roll! YUM! If you love peppermint and chocolate, you will definitely want to give this one a try!


    **We added crushed candy canes to our filling and used 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract.

    4 eggs, separated
    1/2 cup sugar plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup water

    Beat 1 cup (1/2 pt.) cold whipping cream in medium bowl until slightly thickened. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 cup finely crushed hard peppermint candy or 1/2 teaspoon mint extract and a few drops red food color, if desired; beat until stiff.


    2 tablespoons butter or margarine
    2 tablespoons HERSHEY’S Cocoa
    2 tablespoons water
    1 cup powdered sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1 Heat oven to 375°F. Line 15-1/2×10-1/2×1-inch jelly-roll pan with foil; generously grease foil.

    2. Beat egg whites in large bowl on high speed of mixer until soft peaks form; gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Beat egg yolks and vanilla in medium bowl on medium speed 3 minutes. Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar; continue beating 2 additional minutes.

    3. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; on low speed, add to egg yolk mixture alternately with water, beating just until batter is smooth. Using rubber spatula, gradually fold chocolate mixture into beaten egg whites until well blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.


    4. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly. Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan; invert on clean towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully peel off foil. Immediately roll cake in towel, starting from narrow end; place on wire rack to cool completely. Prepare PEPPERMINT FILLING. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cake with filling; reroll cake. Glaze with CHOCOLATE GLAZE. Refrigerate until just before serving. Cover; refrigerate leftover dessert. 10 to 12 servings.


    Melt butter in small saucepan over very low heat; add cocoa and water, stirring until smooth and slightly thickened. Do not boil. Remove from heat; cool slightly. (Cool completely for thicker, frosting-type topping) Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. About 3/4 cup glaze.



    Chocolate Peppermint Cookies and Fudge Recipes

    I can’t believe how quickly this month has gone by and that the Holidays are here. I have a couple of last minute treat ideas for your upcoming parties if you are still need ideas. Make some easy Chocolate Pepper*Mint* Cookies


    To make these Chocolate Covered Pepper*Mint* Cookies simply take Keebler’s grasshopper cookies and dip them in white chocolate and sprinkle with some crushed candy canes. They are so simple and fast to make for a last minute gift idea or party snack.


    Or make some of my FAVORITE fudge. This is my Grandma’s recipe and it is tradition to have it for our Christmas festivities every year!


    Hershey’s Fudge:

    4 1/2 cups sugar
    1 large can unsweetened evaporated milk
    1/2 cup butter
    pinch of salt

    Mix together in a large saucepan and boil on high all of the above ingredients. After you have a good boil going turn the heat down to med-high heat and boil for about 5 minutes and then remove from heat.

    Add the following to the hot mixture:
    2 (7 oz.) bottles Marshmallow Creme to boiling mixture.
    2 1/2 large Hershey Bars (without nuts)
    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 cup chopped walnuts

    Beat together by hand and stir until partially set (very tiring but worth it). Pour mixture into 2 buttered 9×13 baking dishes. Let cool and then cut into small squares. Keep refrigerated.

    **Edit–So, I didn’t realize there were so many different sized Hershey’s candy bars out there. The size you need for the fudge recipe is the 4.4 oz. bar. It is larger than a regular sized candy bar but not their giant sized bar…
    Let me know if you try it! I would love to know how you like it!

    {Only 2 more sleeps ’till Christmas…Wahoo!}


    Cinnamon Coffee Cake

    What do you do for breakfast at your house on Christmas morning? I am still trying to find a great “traditional” breakfast at our house and haven’t found one that is our favorite…yet! So this year I tried out a recipe to see if it would be our new favorite. I tried out a recipe from my friend {L} for this Cinnamon Coffee Cake. It was so yummy! The family loved it…especially my husband! So that was a good sign. But, I am still open for another {or multiple} ideas.

    What breakfast traditions do you have on Christmas morning?
    Thanks in advance for sharing! I love hearing the great things you are doing too!

    {Only 3 more sleeps ’till Christmas!!!}


    2 cups flour
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cups butter, softened
    1 cup sour cream
    1/4 cup milk
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla


    1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons cinnamon

    1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.

    2. Blend flour mixture and butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

    3. Combine sour cream, milk, eggs and vanilla and blend to mix well.

    4. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients.

    5. Beat at medium speed with a electric mixer until smooth and fluffy.

    6. Spoon half the batter into the parchment lined baking dish. Combine pecans, sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle half over batter.

    7. Spread the remaining batter over topping. Sprinkle with remaining topping.

    8. Bake at 350 degrees in a 9×13 pan, for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


    Candy Cane Sugar Cookies


    I just made these candy cane sugar cookies for a Christmas Party earlier this week and loved how cute they turned out. They were pretty easy to make and I liked how fun and festive they were.


    I saw the idea over at Martha Stewart but decided to use a different recipe as I am not a big fan of Martha’s recipes sometimes. Does anyone else feel that way? Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE Martha and her creativity, but I just personally have a hard time getting some of her recipes to turn out right. So…anyways, I used this sugar cookie recipe from Country Living.

    Honestly, the cookies looked great, but they tasted just okay. So, I am tempted to make them again with a different sugar cookie recipe. The trick is to get a sugar cookie dough that is fairly stiff so that the cookies keep their nice candy cane shape and don’t flatten out [and to pop them in the fridge for 20 minutes after they are in the candy cane shape but before you bake them}. Any one have a recipe they think would fit the bill?


    With the left over cookie dough, I rolled the white into a thick log and wrapped the thinner layer of red around it to make the two tone circle cookies and added a Hershey’s candy cane kiss to the top immediately after they came out of the oven. Be sure to pop the cookies into the fridge or freezer right away, or the kisses might end up looking a bit like this:


    Not too pretty! Have you tried these candy cane kisses? Two words…Yum-O!


    We have another Christmas party and I think I will make these from Recipe Girl…which by the way…if you haven’t seen her site, you need to check it out like now!

    {image from Recipe Girl}

    Don’t they look amazing??



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