A Pandemic, a Coffee Cake and a New Mother’s Day Tradition

In our house Mother’s Day has been celebrated by starting the day with brunch at the country club where my wife and I were married.  After our son was born, I discovered that they held these brunches each year and for us it was a lot of fun to get to spend an hour or two in the very room where our reception had been held. 

We went on this way happily for our first 4 years of parenthood and probably would have continued to do so for several more, but in year 5 that option was taken from us as the pandemic had taken a strong hold on the world.  By the time Mother’s Day 2020 had rolled around, for the safety of all, indoor dining at restaurants had come to a screeching halt.

As they say, when life throws you lemons, make lemonade. Indeed, the entire world seemed to have had truckloads and truckloads of lemons thrown at it as we all watched the news hour after hour to learn more about this horrible pandemic. That is when the make lemonade part started to come into play for all of us. In this terrible situation we all had to find ways to try and make normal life happen again within our individual homes as the world around us began to shrink quite a bit.   They say events such as this only happen once in a generation or two, but I hope that no future generation ever has to experience this again!

So, the challenge to create some sort of normalcy was on and my son (five at the time) and I decided we would do the best we could to recreate our country club Mother’s Day brunch right in our own home.  Luckily, we started to work on the plan more than a month in advance as it was more difficult in the early days of the pandemic to source all the food you might be looking for.  

In the end, I think we did a good job of pulling it off.   When it was time to unveil the big surprise, it brought a big smile to Lori’s face and even a tear or two to her eyes – what more could you ask for?  We served ham and eggs, blueberry and chocolate chip muffins, biscuits, cheese and crackers, fruit salad, juice, tea, and coffee.

Mother’s Day Brunch 2020

We also served a coffee cake which I created on the fly using ideas from several recipes I had read. I looked at dozens of them and by the end, I was just too overloaded on great looking cakes and could not decide which one to try!   The idea was a very simple one which was handy because we had taken on a lot and it turned out great – we were very proud of what we had created.

Mother’s Day Coffee Cake 2020

Here is the recipe if you would like to give it a try!

Easy Coffee Cake


Here’s what makes this delicious cake so simple – start with your favorite yellow cake mix and prepare it according to the directions on the box!

Streusel Filling:

  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed – I used dark, but light would also be fine.
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

In a medium sized bowl stir the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, chopped nuts and cinnamon together until well mixed.  Pour the melted butter onto the mixture and mix again until well coated and the graham cracker crumbs are evenly moistened.

Pour half of the cake batter into a greased Bundt pan, then sprinkle the streusel mixture evenly over the batter and carefully pour the remaining batter evenly over the streusel.

Bake according to the directions on the cake mix box.


  • 1 cup Powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

Mix the two ingredients together in a bowl until they form a smooth glaze.  You don’t want the mixture to be too watery or too thick – it should be able to drizzle off of a spoon slowly, but easily.  Fortunately, it is easy to fix consistency issues when it comes to glaze – if it is too thick, add more water a few drops at a time and if it is too thin, a bit more powdered sugar until you reach the desire consistency.

After the cake has cooled, prepare the glaze and slowly drizzle it over the cake in a back and forth motion until the entire cake is covered in decorative lines.  If you wish to add any decorations such as colored sugar, do so immediately after you are done pouring the glaze – if it gets too dry, the decorations won’t stick.

Fast forward to last week – another year and another Mother’s Day at home.  It was fun to create another brunch and one year later, food was certainly much easier to get having navigated the waters together on how to handle the simple things we all took for granted before like getting a loaf of bread or a roll of toilet paper.  Our cake was such a hit last year that we made it again and for the second year in a row, three people ate way more cake than they probably should have!  

Mother’s Day Coffee Cake 2021

After our second Mother’s Day brunch at home came to a close, I asked Lori if she missed brunch at the country club and if she would ever want to go back when we are able to do so.  She told me that maybe she’d like to go again one day several years from now, but for now she has come to love and enjoy the brunch we have created right here in our own home.  It will never cease to amaze me how out of the most unlikely or challenging of situations a new and happy tradition can be formed.

As the vaccine becomes more readily available, treatment options begin to expand and the number of cases and transmission rates begin to drop, it is nice to know that perhaps we are starting to see the beginning of the end of this whole situation.  While in many ways it was a terrible year and I know some people who did get sick, I am one of the truly fortunate ones who have not lost someone to covid – as we move forward, may we never forget the ones who did.

I am generally a glass is half full kind of guy, but even the strongest of the half full types were challenged during this past year.  While it might be easier to dwell on what we were not able to do, I’d rather remember what we did do and how creativity often saved the day.  From a Mother’s Day brunch created to be like the ones we’ve celebrated at the country club in the past, to being a mom and dad who took turns hiding behind each door in our house pretending to be different people so our son could still go trick or treating safely, to baking Christmas cookies together as a family and then spending an evening driving around to look at the holiday lights while delivering those cookies during surprise socially distanced visits to family because our usual gatherings were off the table.

To all the mothers out there, I hope your Mother’s Day was wonderful and that your glass was half full and that next year as we hopefully continue to emerge from this pandemic, your glass will be overflowing!

2 responses to “A Pandemic, a Coffee Cake and a New Mother’s Day Tradition”

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