Indulgence or life?

Sunday night on Twitter, I mentioned I was baking a cake. This is the fourth time I have made this particular cake in the past two months – obviously, it is one of my favorites.

It think it goes deeper than that though. It used to be the cake my mom made for my birthday each year. I was diagnosed and hospitalized the week before my 22nd birthday. We knew my life was going to change, but we didn’t know how much.

My mom still wanted to make my birthday cake, but we didn’t know if I could have it. Thankfully, there was a family in our church with a diabetic son, and the mom assured us that I could have it as long as I dosed correctly for it.

I don’t have any pictures from that year (and I looked really bad, so you probably would not have wanted to see them anyway!), but I have some pictures from my 23rd birthday.


banana cake on my birthday banana cake on my birthday

The recipe isn’t anything special. In fact, I thought it was a family recipe until I called my mom to ask her and found out that she got it out of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (the old school edition, not this one).

It’s not about the recipe though, its about enjoying life and a good treat every once in a while.

I am going to copy the recipe here. I know it is not ‘healthy’ or ‘good for you’. It even includes shortening. I don’t care.

I am going to bring this cake to a work party tomorrow and I am going to pray for a leftover piece or two to bring home. Because for me, enjoying this cake means that even for just a short while, my life is normal.


You will need:

2/3 cup shortening

2 ½ cup flour

1 2/3 cup sugar

1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cup mashed banana (I like to have mine REALLY banana-y so I use more like 1 ½ cups)

 1/3 cup buttermilk (you can make it if you don’t have it, but I usually just buy the smallest container if I don’t have it)

*** you will add another 1/3 cup buttermilk and 2 eggs while you are mixing***


Sift all the dry ingredients into a separate bowl

Mix all ingredients until moistened.

Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes

Add 1/3 cup buttermilk and 2 eggs

Beat 2 minutes

Grease and flour pan. Bake 350 degrees for 40 minutes.


I ONLY eat it with homemade cream cheese frosting so here is the recipe I use for that.

1 3 oz pack cream cheese softened

1 tablespoon butter softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar (add gradually)

milk as needed (just a splash)

Beat until you reach desired consistency.


The recipe says this is enough for 2 8X8 pans, which should mean it is enough for a 9×13. It will ‘cover’ it, but I don’t think it is thick enough, so I add a smidge to each ingredient.

 banana cake banana cake


  • I’m going to call it life! Just because we have diabetes dosen’t mean we have to stop living. I too am T1 on insulin for 27 years almost. I think I adjusted better then other peers did because I chalked it up to life and had that little bit of normal every now and then. Not alot but just enough to know that my life was still there and there really wasn’t anything wrong with me. Even now I continue to live like that. As long as you keep it in moderation I think it helps with keeping a healthy lifestyle. That way you don’t feel deprived and over do it when you least expect it.

  • lol!!yes it is order to feel normal we have to do normal things.i dont think of it as “cheating”or being”bad”.its living

    good post

  • The cake looks delicious, Sara, and I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with enjoying it! If you take all of the enjoyment out of life, then what’s left? If there’s any left, save me a piece 🙂

  • thanks for posting this Sara! My family makes a similar cake for every birthday. I was diagnosed almost 4 years ago at 27. This past year we tried the cake with Splenda. It was not too bad…but I think I am going to try your version soon. And yes. Totally bolus worthy!~

  • Life Is Bolus Worthy.


    Cake looks DElish!

    And life should include indulgences. As Elizabeth said, if you take out enjoyment, what’s left? deanusa is right too, not cheating or being bad (I grew up with that, Hated that my doctor’s drilled it into my parents head, Everyone was on me as a kid, don’t eat that, you can’t, you shouldn’t, Bad bad bad…. I got on the pump 4 yrs ago and my Endo said “Cheating? There is No cheating. There is ‘do a blood test, if you want to eat it, bolus'”. Life Changing.)

    So here’s to leftovers!! Enjoy!

  • Wow, that cake sounds really good! I love bananas and banana-flavored foods. It’s nice to have a favorite recipe like that. I’ve never baked a cake from scratch that I can remember – I like to cook, but I’m not so good at baking so cake from a box has been my MO – however, I might have to give this a try.

    I’m all for having a normal birthday, complete with delicious cake, so I hope you enjoy your cake and I hope you can salvage a piece to take home too 🙂

  • Check out my blog and you’ll see that I actually decorate cakes as a hobby…. 🙂

    It’s just something fun I like to do.

    And, I figure that it’s an ironic hobby, but it’s also life. Diabetes is part of me. So is my love of cake. 🙂

  • Nice looking cake, good story. I also bake cakes about once a week since life’s little indulgences are what makes us all happiest. Moderation or a small slice is all it takes. I can have a very small slice every day that way if I want even though I’m diabetic. It gives me a treat to look forward to.

  • 3 things: 1) That looks delicious, esp. the frosting!

    2) It is important to feel “normal” at least once in a while – for me it’s my daily oreos at lunch.

    3) I had no idea you could make buttermilk. I always use it for biscuits and then the rest of it goes bad. I’m gonna keep that in mind next time I make biscuits.

  • Enjoying life is always good for you!

    The ultimate irony is the pastry chef within me. I wonder how many PWDs are also addicted to baking.

  • Sara, the cake and icing are awsome!!! Made it for Sunday School as a thank you. Made it into a flower shape and decorated it. The children loved the whole thing!

    Thanks Sara.

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