No more surprises…

Oh I was such a mover and a shaker when I was a little kid. Of presents that was. I just HAD to know what was in those packages!  My mother would sometimes have to lecture me to not shake them so hard but that falls on deaf ears to an overstimulated 7 year old Christmas-aholic.
As I got older (parents don’t read this part) I got extra bad and would actually unwrap the gifts while my parents were out. The first years were a little botched as my re-taping wasn’t that great (I suck at wrapping) but no one went back and looked at the gifts. Plus I always volunteered to pass out the gifts to everyone so that I could hide my dirty work. I did get more sophisticated though, as I would steam away the tape those last few years and no one was the wiser. The problem of course once Santa stopped coming to my house (perhaps I made the naughty list for peeking at my gifts) the surprise of Christmas goes away. I was left knowing everything I was getting….just like it is when you are an adult.
Now a days I have my Amazon wish list so that my husband, parents and in-laws can’t go wrong. The only problem with that of course is that it takes the surprise out of it. My poor husband is tortured each year though with the request to find me a surprise. The last few years he has done great though this year he says he can’t think of anything. Now some of you may say that he is just saying that to through me off, no. I know him, he really means that. It’s not his fault, it’s just hard to buy adults gifts. Let’s face it, for the most part if you really want something as an adult, you just go out and buy it. Or it’s too expensive, I mean I love a surprise of say a Nikon D200, but let’s be realistic here…so not happening.
So few surprises left in the world of adults. And sadly usually the stuff that surprises us is more of a shock and not necessarily the best kind of surprise. Surprise you need to buy new tires. Surprise you did your taxes wrong and you owe money this year. Surprise you have a $500 vet bill. Surprise your brother-in-law is coming to live with you. All fun stuff. :)
This cake does offer up a bit of a surprise. Not many recipes use butterscotch chips. The melting them into the batter gives the cake a really good flavor that compliments the banana. I added chocolate to one half of the batter for a little contrast. I served mine with bananas sauted in a little butter and brown sugar with some whipped cream on top.

Butterscotch Banana-Chocolate Swirl Cake

5 ounces butterscotch chips, separated
½ recipe for yellow cake batter (recipe here)
1 large banana, smashed
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease mini loaf pans; set aside.
Microwave 3 ounces of butterscotch chips on medium high heat for 30 second intervals. Stir after each interval and repeat until chips have melted.
Add smashed banana to the yellow cake batter. Mix until fully incorporated.
Add melted butterscotch chips to cake batter and mix on medium speed for 1 minute.
Separate batter into evenly into two medium sized bowls. Add cocoa powder to one bowl and mix until incorporated.
Add remaining 2 ounces of butterscotch chips to the other bowl. Mix to incorporate.
Alternating, drop spoonfuls of batter, first butterscotch then chocolate butterscotch into the mini loaf pan until you have reached ¾ of the way up. Take a knife and swirl the batter. Repeat with second loaf.
Bake on a cookie sheet (in case you filled it too much and it spills over) for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean.

Adapted from

*This can be doubled so that you can use the full yellow cake batter recipe. If you do that, bake it in a 10-cup Bundt pan for 35-45 minutes.


  1. I know that excitement of not knowing what might be under the tree just isn’t the same anymore. Boo! but your cake has plenty of nice surprises!! Love the sauteed bananas and chocolate!

  2. Haha, you were quite the sneaky child with finding out what was in the “mystery” packages!! :-D

    That dessert is SCREAMING out my name… wowza.

  3. That’s so funny! I was the same way. One Xmas there was a long cylinder shaped package. With my name on it. Well my parents never let us open anything on Xmas eve, but I wanted to open that thing so bad that I convinced my mom to let us open just one. So of course I grab the cylinders, rip it open and am greeted by an explosion of socks! Yes that’s right, mom stuffed socks in a wrapping paper tube and wrapped it! Ugh that mom is sneaky. I love your dessert! Happy holidays

  4. Oh, I love butterscotch and this looks just delicious! What a wonderful combination. I’ve found that I’m surprised more now, but that’s because I don’t live with my parents and can’t snoop! Plus, my mom has gotten better at just knowing what I want without me telling her, so what I get is completely a surprise…except for that omelette pan I want!

  5. Ugh… So true about surprises. Anyway, men tend not to buy as many things that they ought to (shirts, tools, shoes, socks, nose hair clippers) so it’s a little easier to convince us that you’ve given us something that we actually need ;)
    I wouldn’t be surprised if I absolutely loved this cake! Butterscotch and banana is one of my favorite combos!

  6. Surprise, LFB is a boy!

    I used to feel up presents too and everyone once in a while, I’d shake. One time I shook a rectangular box (from my aunt to my brother) and yelled out loud “is this a box of cereal!” It was. Peanut Butter Cap’n crunch :-)

  7. Yes, in the past, as a kid, Christmas was exciting! I really miss being surprised (in a positive way)…

    A gorgeous dessert plate!



  8. i hear you! it is hard to find a decent surprise gift. this year i too sent my in-laws and hubby my amazon wish list. there were loads of stuff on it so it will be a bit of a surprise to see what they choose. i have been wishing for a new macro lens for the past two years but that’s not happening either. i wish i had a big bowl of this though. it looks great and comforting!

  9. Oh, this cake is all I want for breakfast! :) Poor men – there is so much pressure on them to come up with the perfect gift, and to make it something we want and love but never thought of ourselves. I expect no less!! Too bad my husband is getting a pile of socks from me. :)

  10. My parents were very sneaky when I was a kid.. they’d wait until Xmas Eve night to put the gifts under the tree.. so I didn’t have the opportunity to sneak peeks. Which I totally would have if given the opportunity. *grin*

    This cake sounds so amazingly good! I can’t wait to try it!

    Hugs & love,

  11. Parents always know when their kids have snuck into the Christmas presents…. but that makes it all the more fun! We used to switch around the presents after we’d found they had been broken into! This cake looks like a wonderful kind of surprise.

  12. Peabody, I know exactly what you mean!

    When I was a kid I had a wish list, so I usually could at least guess what the present from my parents was, but I’d also have maybe ten or fifteen *other* presents under the tree from other relatives and have no idea. I love surprises, but as I got older not only was I more sure about my parents since I only told them one thing I wanted, but the relatives got fewer and fewer, either due to death or just me being older and it being less required that you buy a cute little kid a present. As an adult, I now actually buy more presents than I receive, as I give all my aunts and uncles and cousins something. Not that I don’t love giving gifts, but I’m looking at the two presents on the coffee table this year and I know one of them has got to be Baking: From My Home to Yours because it’s the only thing on my Amazon list shaped that way and I sort of long for a surprise. Also, Amazon is great but has a tendency for mistakes, like when I bought Joy of Cooking recently but didn’t see that it was on my wishlist, so I’m really really afraid that my father might have bought it for me. Eep.

  13. Look! It’s health food! yay bananas…

  14. The dessert looks great….I want to try this!

  15. We share the same childhood holiday dirty secret of opening gifts before it was time… :) Although that Butterscotch Banana-Chocolate Swirl Cake looks amazing. Butterscotch is one of those flavors that tends to get overshadowed a lot and I love that you let it shine in this dessert!

  16. I was a peeker, too. So sad to have no surprised left. I wouldn’t mind being surprised by someone bringing me by some of that dessert. It looks scrumptious!

  17. im really bad with surprises. I always ruin them because I get too eager to reveal everything. But that cake looks soo yummy and I wouldnt be surprised if it tasted yummy too!

  18. Hi there! I found your blog by random and, needless to say, have fallen in love. May I add you to my blogroll?

    And weren’t you quite the sneaky doll by steaming those presents? LOL

  19. I too would have peeked if I had been so crafty, but alas, I could never even find where my parents hid the gifts! They were pretty good at it, too… Come Hannukah, they would start pulling boxes out from under the radiators, behind the curtains, and even out of shoes!

  20. I would tear the wrapping paper, peek, then re-wrap. My mom would always notice and I would always get busted.

    I’d like to recieve this cake for christmas, as i am totally salivating.

  21. My favorite recipes I think have 4 or 5 simple ingredients that are spectacular together.

    This recipe is one of those.

    Good job.

  22. One more comment, you remind me of a story when my kids were little. Being the devious Dad I was, I once asked one of my son’s if he wanted to help me wrap his brother’s presents. Of course he said yes. So he helped me wrap them all commenting and saying things like….”Aw Dad, I wanted a Stretch Armstrong” and I’d say, Don’t worry Tyler, I might have gotten you one also.

    The NEXT night I asked his brother (Nathan) if he wanted to help me wrap HIS brother’s presents. Sure he did, and a similar scene ensued.

    As you guess, I had had EACH of them wrap their OWN presents….!!! But they didn’t know it….

    One of the best Christmas
    mornings EVER!!!


  23. This looks fabulous! I love butterscotch. It’s hard for me to not peek, but I remember doing it once as a kid and I was so disappointed that I found out that I’ve tried my hardest not to peek ever since!

  24. i agree… it is SO hard to buy gifts for my hubby b/c like you said…for the most part, if we want something, we just buy it. the only additional things i want a for the kitchen, and we don’t have room for anything else right now :( boo

    in any case, your cake with the bananas foster topping is enough to cheer me back up :)

  25. YUM! This sounds absolutely delicious. Those photos are mouthwatering! Now I really wish I had your baking skills :)

  26. A cake like this would be a good surprise anytime!

  27. Yes, it does get harder the older I get. My husband is the worst to buy for, though, because he is too impatient and just goes out and gets what he wants. It’s always a struggle to come up with something… I love butterscotch chips, so I bet I’d love this cake!

  28. just wanted to stop in to say that i loved this post! what a great lead-in story to a yummy recipe. and i, too, was a peeker. in fact, a vivid memory is the morning i dumped ALL FOUR of the stockings(mine, sisters, and 2 brothers…) and then couldnt remember what things belonged where – in my excitement/nosiness, i’d dumped everything in ONE BIG PILE!
    man, was my mom angry.
    anyways, can’t wait to make this cake…cheers!!

  29. Oh wow – that cake looks so delicious! Banana, chocolate, butterscotch — how can you go wrong???

  30. I loooooooove bananas! And this decadently delicious!

  31. what are 3 of my favorite flavors? well, since you asked, i pick chocolate, butterscotch, and bananas. all 3 in cake form would please me greatly. :)

  32. Holy cow, that looks insanely good!! This is why your blog is one of my FAVES!

  33. Looks decadent!

  34. My husband is so hard to get stuff for. If he wants it and needs it he just automatically gets it. It never occurs to him to wait and get it as a Christmas present. What makes it worse is that he’s incredibly good at getting me surprises for Christmas. Sigh.

  35. Butterscotch Banana-Chocolate have to be some of the very best flavors in all the world! I’d love some please . . .

  36. yeah, why is it that surprises for grown-ups are often crap? butterscotch is my idea os a great surprise!! tasty!

  37. My husband really wants to get something nice for me but he just doesn’t understand presents very well. He grew up in a family that didn’t give presents to each other when they got older. I really want o be surprised by say…diamond earrings but, alas, no surprises. I make him a list now and he feels safer with a list. It’s my little present for him because I understand him better.
    I think the best surprise Christmas present I have had was when I was 5 years old. Everyone had opened their presents and I had only a bike horn. I can remember feeling sad and confused. Then my mother said she heard a noise in the back of the house, and brought out my bike. It was the very best surprise present!
    Sorry…I got side-tracked down memory lane there. Your banana butterscotch chocolate swirl cake looks fab!

  38. I have to say I prefer having lists of things people want instead of playing the “I don’t know what to get someone” game.

  39. Santa! I want this cake to be my surprise!!!

    I didn’t have Santa growing up (gasp)…yup, I was one of those kids for whom Santa was just a character on a card…but I was very good at “re-wrapping” ;)

  40. You naughty Peabody you, peeking at your presents! Haha. Really entartaining read and great cake. Like your green ‘P’s after each post too :)

  41. Don’t feel bad I unwrapped presents then re wrapped them when I was a kid. Then as we got older my parents would take my sister and I shopping separately for each other’s presents so we would just tell each other what they bought.

  42. I just love your posts! :D

  43. Your list of adult surprises is creepily similar to my life:

    We had to buy a new car battery. We did screw up the taxes and had to pay money for last year. Our cat got a diagnosis of diabetes this year and is now on super-expensive food and insulin.

    The only thing left is a call from a brother-in-law…

  44. I hear ya on the surprises issue. My boyfriend and I both have Amazon wishlists, which are awesome for family and friends to buy from, but we avoid buying from them for each other … which means we’re both usually stuck for ideas!


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