This year, the banana cake has a half inch layer of cream cheese frosting.
Last year’s cake was bare because I didn’t want to use the last of my cream cheese for frosting and we weren’t shopping in stores then, only getting grocery deliveries. It was my husband’s birthday cake, a pandemic cake, a Depression cake, sweet enough to be a cake but stopping way short of celebration. It was a cake that felt like bread. If we had to, we could live on this cake for a good while, that’s what I thought. Everything then had that feel.
After dinner tonight at the dining room table we haven’t used for over a year, my friend, Karen, remarked on the cake.
“I usually don’t like frosting but this frosting was really good. What’s in it besides cream cheese?”
“A stick of butter.”
“A whole stick of butter?”
“Yes, and three cups of confectioner’s sugar.”
“Three cups of sugar?”
I left out the bit of vanilla and the sprinkle of salt. And I didn’t tell her how I beat the frosting for a good long time just to see it be thick and smooth in the bowl or that after I frosted the cake, even layering on the half inch, there was enough frosting left in the bowl that, if I’d wanted to, I could eat spoonfuls of it, scraping the sides nice and clean. It seemed amazing and indulgent and somehow, oddly, earned.
Now is the time of frosting.