I moved into my house several years ago now. Was it 6 years? Maybe it 7 years ago? I can’t recall. What I do remember is the feeling I had the first night I stayed here. It was hours after my lovely friends who lent me their strength and baked celebratory brownies were gone. The place was terribly quiet. There was an absolute sea of brown boxes overflowing with the things I’d collected through many years in various homes and apartments.
I padded about the house sinking my toes into the dark green thick pile rug. I looked at the blank walls, which were painted a sallow color reminiscent of the peach toned crayon. I checked all the faucets for water pressure. I repeatedly looked out the window and opened all the doors to get a sense of my new landscape. I remember feeling a bit scared, but simultaneously exhilerated. I was alone. I was home. It was all mine and there were a million things I could do to make the house the way I wanted it to be. I was newly single and felt breathlessly free.
And, for several years, I continued to feel liberated and weightless each time I opened my front door. It was a good arrangement. I loved my little house and it treated me well in return. I worked long hours every day and came home alone, but I never felt lonely. Quite honestly, during those years it never once crossed my mind this place might one day house my little girl. I never once dreamed of the pitter patter of bare baby feet or the gibber gabber of a wee one waking up in the morning contented to converse quietly with her stuffed animals until the rest of the house was ready to join her in wonder.
It’s strange to think about all this now. I still look back on those first years of living here so fondly. Those were good times. Life was interesting and I loved every minute of transforming this house into a home. But, in the year before Maeve came, the house felt more like a shell waiting for her arrival. It wasn’t the same fresh new home of the early years. K really put it best. It was Christmas week last year and I was enormously pregnant. We were seated side by side on the couch when he turned to me, “I feel like we’re not complete until she gets here.”
Truer words were never spoken.
Today, my life is so altered I barely recognize it. And, the house? It’s so very different. It feels even more like home– a house full of love and laughter. I wouldn’t trade it for all the riches in the world.
Last week, Maeve turned 1 year old.
To celebrate, I made her a sweet party hat and some banana cupcakes to share. The cupcakes are very much like the ones my mother always made for me on my birthdays. It just seemed right to continue the tradition.
Of course, Maeve loved her first taste of sugar. She was dazzled, in particular, by the multi-colored sprinkles.
I enjoyed this recipe a great deal and thought I’d share it with you. If you are a banana person, like me, you might have some reservations about banana recipes. As we banana people know, some banana recipes are quite greasy and leave you with a soggy cocktail napkin with an oily imprint. On the other hand, some banana recipes are sort of dry and gritty tending more toward something you might uncover in the health food section of a hippie supermarket. This recipe falls squarely in the middle, which, in my opinion, is just right. The banana flavor is subtle with just the ideal amount of sweetness. The cupcakes are light and fluffier than most cakes. There is no grit nor grease. It’s a perfect little introduction to cake for the wee one.
Maeve loved them and the house was filled to the brim with the scent of freshly baked cupcakes for hours.
It never felt more like home.
1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large ripe bananas, peeled, and mashed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 1 (12-cup) muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add the butter and the sugar. Beat with a hand-held mixer until combined. Add the sour cream and the vanilla extract. Slowly beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Incorporate the dry mixture and wet mixtures together until thoroughly combined. Add the bananas and walnuts, being careful not to over mix. Using an ice cream scoop fill each cupcake liner 3/4 way full.
Bake in the preheated oven until the tops turn golden-brown and when a toothpick, inserted in the middle of the cupcake, comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven to a wire rack and let cool before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Recipe Source: The Food Network