on May 06, 2020, Updated Nov 04, 2023
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A moist, simple banana cake is becoming part of our Mother's Day tradition this year.
This post is in partnership with Milk. Love What’s Real – all opinions are my own.
We are spending our days in repetitive ways right now. Working from home, if we can, streamlining our shopping trips, both in frequency and in purchases. Looking around the house or the internet for distraction. And when special occasions pop up, like a friend’s Zoom birthday celebration that feels better than nothing, but also like not enough.
And as Mother’s Day approaches, I started wondering just what that day would hold, both for myself and my own mom, not to mention my in-laws, friends, and all of the other Moms out there, especially those on the front lines.
We’ve been social distancing like crazy, and that includes anyone outside of the four walls of our home, like my Mom. She’s holding up okay – more than okay, she’s been a trooper, and thank goodness she’s healthy. But my focus this year is definitely on trying to make her feel like Mother’s Day isn’t just going to come and go with just an online chat, or even a wave from the driveway.
Although we won’t be able to celebrate as we have in years past, it doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate with food and drink, balancing old and new traditions, and appreciating the moments we’re able to spend together – even at a distance!
One bright spot is that the weather is getting warmer, so we decided to make that work to our advantage. We planned a practice Mother’s Day get-together for last weekend, and here’s how it went:
I made a simple lunch with a bunch of things I had around the house. A vegetarian couscous salad with bell peppers, sautéed onions, artichoke hearts and feta. A pasta salad with tuna, shallots, some jarred pickled jalapenos, the last handful of fresh parsley and a mustard-ey dressing. Some sliced and fried polenta, and a green salad. I separated everything into big containers for my immediate family, and smaller containers for my mom.
And I made a cake with the bananas that were just ready for baking, but not much else, some of my ever-more-previous store of flour, sugar, eggs and milk. And while the cake cooled I made a frosting with the block of cream cheese I had been saving, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and
We drove it all to my mom’s place in CT, having told her to prepare for a 6-feet apart Mother’s Day test run “picnic“. Separate bags for the food. Paper plates, separate serving utensils, the works.
And it was as good as it could be. We all sat at least 6 feet apart to make sure my mom didn’t feel like we were a little band of 4 while she was relegated to a little solitary area of the patio. We ate, we chatted, we didn’t hug. And then we had cake. I put candles in it because…well, because why not? Why not bring a bit of cheer into our lives whenever we can?
As always, mom had her slice with a glass of milk, and we all had ours with milky coffee. There is something about a simple moment over a piece of cake and a cold glass of milk that always feels special, and extra special during these times – any reason to celebrate together and take our mind off of everything going on is a moment to hold tight to.
The cake was moist and comforting, the frosting was tangy and sweet, and we left her a big slab for the next day, and carted the rest home. It disappeared sliver by sliver. Jack and Charlie ate the bit of leftover frosting with spoons.
A moist, simple banana cake is becoming part of our Mother’s Day tradition this year.Tweet This
So, we’ll go for round 2 in a week, on the actual Mother’s Day itself, now that we are pros at the social distanced al fresco picnic. And I’ll bake the same cake, because now it feels like it’s a tradition. Next year, though, I’m hoping and believing we will all be at the same table passing plates of the banana cake to one another, clinking glasses, and that we will be able to hug each other good-bye when we leave.
More Banana Dessert Recipes:
- Banana Bread Pudding
- Best Banana Cream Pie
- Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger
- Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
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For the Banana Cake:
- 1 ¾ cup cake flour (you can also use all-purpose flour)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup mashed bananas (don’t puree them, leave some little lumps)
- ½ cup whole milk you can use 1% or 2% if you prefer
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 8-ounce block cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounce glass milk for everyone!
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch round baking pan, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon, if using.
- In a large bowl, use a hand blender to blend the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until creamy and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Beat in the vanilla, and then the bananas. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in half the of the flour mixture until almost blended, then stir in the milk. Add the rest of the flour and stir just until everything is evenly blended.
- Scrape into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until a wooden skewer or a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then flip the cake out of the pan and finishing cooling on the wire rack top side up.
- While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. In a large bowl use an electric mixer to blend together the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, milk, vanilla and salt until smooth and creamy.
- When the cake is completely cool, frost the top and sides with the cream cheese frosting.