Cloudy with a chance of dirt…

So while to some people 68F isn’t that warm it is to me, when you live in the apartment I do. PNW apartments are built to keep heat in, as most of the time we are more cool than warm, and therefore can get quite warm and a little stuffy. This makes me not want to bake so much. It doesn’t help that I live on the 3rd floor either. But just to keep me in check I like to keep on my MSN page what the weather is doing in Phoenix. I was beyond amused when this is what I saw.

Since when did DUST become weather? I know they get dust, I lived there. Even better is when you get a dust storm followed by an afternoon monsoon storm so everything is caked in mud. So in honor of Phoenix I will highlight things I learned while living there:

1. The phrase “leave no stone left unturned” should be ignored. Never, ever check under a rock. You will most likely meet Mr. Scorpion or worse, his friend the vinegaroon (which think spider meets scorpion…it’s so not good).

2. It’s a dry heat. Oh sure, there isn’t nearly the humidity as back east and the south, but you are going to sweat all the same. And at 114F you aren’t going to be wanting to do crap regardless of what the hygrometer reads.

3. Brown ground, brown sky (Phoenix ranks #3 for pollution…just under LA). It was hysterical last summer when my friend came out to buy me birthday lunch (not just that) she kept taking all these photos of the flowers and trees and couldn’t get over how everything was so green…yes, she lives in Phoenix.

4. Buy a car you don’t really like that much and don’t care if it will get stolen. I’ve had two taken when I lived there…and not exactly high end cars.

5. Since we have a lot of pools, women seem to think they should have floatation devices built into them so as not to drown. Breast aren’t the only thing that is fake there…if you are a brunette you kind of stick out. :P

6. Expect salsa to come as a side with anything you order. I even know a Chinese place that used to serve you chips and salsa when you first sat down (???)

7. There is such thing as a jumping cactus and though it’s not plotting against you if you come close to its spines it has this little hook that loves to “jump” and stick to your pants. Whether you attack it or it attacks you…it hurts all the same. Though it is a nice way to get a doctor to look at your bare butt (that has been covered in cacti).

8. Ice tea and mister systems are your friend.

9. Flip flops are appropriate foot wear for any and all occasions. Seriously…I wore them to my wedding.

10. If you drive through Sun City a golf cart is a legal form of transportation and you will get stuck behind one…and you will consider ramming your car into that old man in the cart about 15 times per minute. :D

As you can tell I don’t really miss living in Phoenix. I could say a lot more but I won’t. Now I will say that the city works for a lot of people…there is always a seat for an ass as my grandfather used to say. The Pacific Northwest is what works for my ass (though if you want to see a real one, AZ does have plenty of donkeys and they are cute). From the minute we moved up to the Seattle area I knew that this was the place for me, and after 6 ½ years I can still say that.

This cake has nothing to do with Phoenix other than of course the brown frosting makes me think of the grass in June. :P Ours in green by the way. Anyway, this is a simple banana cake that I was just going to frost with cream cheese frosting but that’s been done a ton so I decided the best thing to do was to add Nutella to it, because, why not? If it’s not fattening enough for you, try the half bread pudding/half cheesecake from this weekends post. :)

Banana Cake with Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting


½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 TBSP Lyle’s Golden Syrup (if you don’t have just omit)
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 ¼ cup mashed ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the sour cream, Lyle’s Golden syrup, and vanilla extract.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix into the batter on low speed. . Finally, mix in the mashed banana. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before frosting.

Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8) ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups Nutella
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix cream cheese, Nutella, and butter until smooth.

Add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix until smooth and creamy, you may end up needing less or more depending on how sweet you like your frosting or the consistency you want it at.

Beat in vanilla extract.

Frost cake when cool.


  1. OMG! Love it! can’t wait to make this.. bananas & nutella cream cheese frosting! Heaven

  2. Oh my, that looks amazing! And I would never omit the Lyle’s!

  3. Gorgeous and creative recipe, as always :) The frosting sounds amazing!

  4. Dust forecast cracks me up. My sister lives in Portland, I could be happy in the Northwest. Houston is hot

    I love Nutella. Will try this soon

  5. I love Nutella and sliced bananas as a snack, so this cake looks delightful!

  6. I went to Arizona once on a “holiday road” as my dad called it. Well one of my parental units made the other take a detour that resulted in me feeling so horrible that I actually wished to die. Arizona is no place for my little donkey either :D

    Great looking cake, and I lost the look of that frosting mmm.

  7. What a fabulous cake! That frosting is just devilishly good.

    I don’t like extreme heat, but I’d love to visit Arizona…



  8. Your cake looks delicious. What’s not to love about a banana cake with this kind of icing?

    I laughed when I read your comment about 68°F, because that would be a cool winters’ night to us. Most days we are in the high 80’s but with the trade winds blowing you don’t notice it so much, and everything is green and flowering from the “Hawaiian Blessing” showers. Yep, I’ve lived here long enough for my blood to thin out too much.

  9. Friend you know me: flip flops, salsa, dry heat? Heaven in my World. How good does that look! I think I will be making that next weekend!

  10. That cake looks so moist and delicious! Love the combo of banana and nutella.

  11. I have a gazillion bananas that just went bad and I threw them in the freezer. Now I know what to do with them…thanks!

  12. I would so prefer dry heat to humid heat. I cannot stand the weather here in Memphis, TN 6 months of the year. It has been over 90 since May! My Northern-raised blood cannot handle it. Yet somehow I bake away in my apt anyway. Mostly because things like this here make it impossible for my to resist baking.

  13. Very interesting Peabody! I’m thinking Phoenix is not the place for me, either :)
    Your grandad was right – my a$$ will always be at home in the Deep South, although I can appreciate other areas of the country.
    Your cake looks delicious.

  14. Numbers 8 and 9 totally apply here as well! Whoever decided TODAY was the first day of summer did not live in Mississippi. For us, it starts in April and lasts until October!

  15. I spent a week in Phoenix at the National Hockey League Booster Club Convention…in the middle of August. Dry heat my donkey’s butt! Monsoons, dust storms, sheesh!

  16. This recipe is awesome! I’ve found a new use for Nutella. Thanks for posting it with your beautiful photos.

  17. Phoenix is a great place to live! I am bias though, I am a native. If you decide to come to AZ in the summer season I highly recommend that you practice by going to your local sauna fully clothed, do some jumping jacks, then roll around in the dirt. That should help you get ready.

  18. Greetings from the Valley of the Sun(stroke)! I grew up in the Midwest (with its oppressive humidity and its “holy hell it’s cold” winters), but I’ve been enjoying the Phoenix area for the past 15 years now. I’ll take hot over cold any day. Remember: you don’t have to shovel sunshine! :)

  19. You are hoot Peabody! You also had me at Nutella and maybe even banana!

  20. Ha! Sixty-eight is sweater weather for me. I don’t know which is worse – 99F. and dry or 99F and muggy. From the looks of the frizz in my hair, I’m thinking dry.

    BTW, that frosting is pure evil! And, you are evil for putting the idea in my head! ;)

  21. You had me at Nutella! And I love banana bread too! So so so bookmarked!!!

    68F would be “winter” here if we had one!

  22. I recently moved to the Phoenix area from SC, so I totally get your post about the area and thought it was hilariously true. It’s been over 106 for the past week here in the NW Valley, and my way of coping is pretty much moving as little as possible and staying inside with the AC. While I will agree that dry heat is a little easier to deal with than humid heat, as you said, you still sweat a lot. In fact, I’ve never sweated so much in my life. For me, it’s more about the insanely intense sun than the humidity.

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