The Gift of a Simple Week Day Treat
‘Not much’ is what I find myself saying when I run into friends who ask what’s going on. It’s an automatic response, but it’s true. I’m a chef-mom and the leader of my little family, but life is pretty simple. My girls are school-aged so we live in the rhythm of the academic year. By now, our school-work-whatever routine rolls along and everyone does what they’re supposed to do. Well, for the most part. There’s still some early morning footwear drama, but no Oscar nominations. Stalling and massive waves of eyerolls, yes, but apparently that’s ‘age-appropriate behavior’ even if it is irritating as hell. We make it before the final bell so all’s good. Without revealing enough to jinx it, let’s just say we are solidly in the groove. And that I consider a total victory.
Sometimes it’s nice to celebrate the triumphs of an ordinary day. We have a family rule about not eating sweets during the week, but knowing how to break the rules is a life skill too. So I surprised everyone with a sugary gift on a Wednesday afternoon – just because. My kids were shocked and it made them happy (and all that eyerolling stopped for a few). Plus I needed to use the black bananas that had been sitting on the counter begging for attention, so why not? This recipe makes just enough for a tray of muffins or a small weeknight cake. It isn’t beautiful or fancy, but the coconut crunch on top is something special. Make sure you pinch a little taste before it goes in the oven. It’s almost as good raw as it is baked.
Banana Coconut Crumb Cake (It Really Is Easy)
This recipe looks complicated because there are two parts, but it’s not. We top off with a crumble instead of frosting because it’s easier to pull off midweek and takes 10 minutes max. It makes one 8” x 8” cake or 15 muffins, and easily doubles for a 9” x 13” cake. Or make two small ones and wrap one up for a friend who needs a reason to smile. Just because.
- ¾ cup flour
- ½ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut or coconut powder
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
- Place everything in a bowl and rub and mix it together with your fingertips until you can pinch it into small clumps.
- Set aside and make the cake.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 very ripe (black) bananas, about 1 cup
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup melted coconut oil
- ½ cup yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Sift together flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Place bananas, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, eggs, coconut oil, yogurt and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, blend at medium speed until smooth for the most part, about 2 minutes. There may still be a few lumps of banana, but they should all be smaller than a pea.
- Mix dry ingredients into wet, scraping down the sides and mixing just until blended. Batter may still be a little lumpy.
- Pour batter into greased or non-stick pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle Coconut Crumb Topping evenly over the top.
- Bake until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean from the middle, about 45-50 minutes for an 8” x 8” cake and 20-25 minutes for cupcakes.