The ornamental cherry trees lining our driveway are bright pink as a write this. If you walk close to the line of trees, the happy hum of buzzing bees greets you from several yards away.
The dark red leaves will sprout any day now leaving the grass covered in the sweetest little pink blossoms and the bees will head for the neighboring apple and pear orchards. But I look forward to these fleeting few weeks all year long. It’s almost as if spring is saying hello.
There’s been ample time to pause and notice the last few weeks, with all our lives on hold and the kids home from school. I’ve watched the tulips and daffodils push their way through the ground (along with the weeds). We’ve spent lazy afternoons throwing the ball for the puppy in the grass and watching our baby cows run in the pasture.
We’ve barbecued for lunch and dinner many times and indulged in takeout from our favorite local restaurants. We huddle together in sweatshirts around the fire pit eating from cardboard containers while the dogs watch hopefully at our feet.
The kids run from one end of our property to the other, stirring up trouble and mischief with every step. They yell and shriek at each other. Sometimes in fun, other times in frustration. It doesn’t seem to matter, the noise is deafening. Suddenly the house goes quiet as everyone retreats to their separate corners, instinctively understanding when a break is needed. It never lasts long before the cycle starts over again.
We fill our days with simple pleasures. We walk and read, cook and play games. We argue over dishes and picking up laundry. We sleep late and stay up even later. We play music all day and watch YouTube tutorials that teach us how to draw, watercolor paint, cook and create.
Our entertainment looks different these days. And the way we entertain is revolutionized. Family is at the center of my little universe as I look for new and creative ways to be with them. We don’t have to wait for a birthday or special occasion to have a reason to celebrate. Every day is reason enough for celebration. When one of my kids requests we bake something together, I don’t have to say “Another day.” Now I simply say “Sure.”
This one-bowl recipe is a single layer cake made from ingredients you likely already have on hand. This humble recipe is perfect to throw together “just because,” but is so tasty and delicious you can easily use it for a special occasion. Looked at through a certain lens, one might argue any day is special enough for cake.
Banana Coconut Cake
- 4 medium overly ripe bananas, mashed (about 1¼ cup mashed)
- ½ cup canola oil
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup shredded sweetened coconut flakes
In a bowl, mash bananas until mostly smooth with only a few small pieces remaining. Stir in canola oil, honey, eggs and vanilla extract. Using a whisk, mix well to combine. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt to the bowl. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir to combine. Gently fold in shredded coconut.
Pour into an 8 x 8 square pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the top is a light golden brown. Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Use a knife to run around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Flip cake out onto a cookie rack to finish cooling.
When cake is finished cooling, frost liberally with brown sugar buttercream frosting. Cake makes 12 pieces.
Brown Sugar Buttercream
- 1 cup softened butter
- 4 ounces softened cream cheese
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Splash of milk (only if needed)
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer combine butter, cream cheese and brown sugar. Whisk on low at first slowly increasing the speed until the ingredients are smooth and well-combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixer to insure the ingredients are all getting mixed. Add the vanilla extract and mix for an additional minute. Slowly add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, slowly increasing the mixing speed to incorporate the ingredients. Don’t forget to continue to scrape down the sides of the bowl. If the frosting is too thick for your preference, add a tablespoon of milk at a time until you reach desired texture.
Using a pastry knife or a spatula, liberally frost the banana coconut cake with frosting. Store extras in a container with a lid in the refrigerator for up to a week.