Paula Deen’s Banana-Pecan Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup solid vegetable shortening
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
¼ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup Pecan Valley Pecan Pieces
Carmel Frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) cake pans.
2. For the cake: In a medium bowl, stir together flour and baking soda; set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together shortening and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in mashed bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add flour mixture, mix until just combined. Stir in black pecans.
3. Pour into prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.
4. Meanwhile, prepare frosting.
5. Sandwich 2 layers of cake with frosting.
6. Frost the outside of the cake. Press chopped pecans on the sides of the cake, if desired.
Carmel Frosting
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar; firmly packed
⅓ cup heavy cream, plus more as necessary
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 16-ounce box confectioners’ sugar1. Melt butter in small saucepan. Add brown sugar and ⅓ cup cream. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in confectioners’ sugar a little at a time until smooth. If frosting is too thick, add 1 tablespoon heavy cream at a time until consistency is right.

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