Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting and a Southern Cakes Giveaway!

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I realize that some of you are a little like me. You can just never have enough cooking and baking books. I recently came across this gem of a book, Southern Cakes, by Nancie McDermott.

I can look at Nancie’s book dreamily all day long! It is full of real Southern cakes and the storied behind their wonderful recipes.

I’m so happy to tell you, my sweet friends, that one of you will be winning one of these FABULOUS books by Nancie McDermott! Nancie was born and raised in North Carolina. Nancie McDermott is a food writer and cooking teacher specializing in the cuisines of Southeast Asia. Her expertise on the food and culture of Thailand comes from the three years she spent in the Thai kingdom as a Peace Corps volunteer. Her first cookbook, Real Thai: The Best of Thailand’s Regional Cooking, was published in 1992, and was followed by The 5 in 10 Pasta and Noodle Cookbook in 1994; Real Vegetarian Thai in 1996, The Curry Book: Memorable Flavors and Simply Irresistible Recipes in 1997, Quick and Easy Thai in 2004; and Quick and Easy Vietnamese in 2006.

She has contributed recipes and feature stories on food and travel to Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Cook’s Illustrated, FoodArts and newspapers around the country including the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Los Angeles Times. She travels around the country teaching cooking classes and is a frequent television guest chef.
I was having a difficult time deciding which recipe I would try out and share with y’all. (I had to throw a “y’all” in here todayWinking smile)
Then I saw this banana layer cake with chocolate frosting and I KNEW I had to try it out!Smile
The cake is moist and flakey. You can’t go wrong with the stick and a 1/2 of butter and buttermilk. It is DIVINE! My children love banana bread and I make it every week. This was a special treat because it was topped with all this luscious chocolate frosting. It was a special treat for me too!!Smile

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What is Southern Cakes all about? I will tell you! Taste the chocolatey goodness of Mississippi Mud or marvel at the extravagant elegance of the Lady Baltimore and there will be no doubt that Southerners know how to bake a cake. Here are 65 recipes for some of the most delicious ever. Jam cakes and jelly rolls; humble pear bread and peanut cake; whole chapters on both chocolate and coconut cakes each moist and delicious forkful represents the spirit of the South. A Baking 101 section offers the cake basics, some finishing touches (that means frosting and lots of it!), and the how-to’s of storing each lovely concoction so that the last slice tastes as fresh and delightful as the first. (product description courtesy of Amazon)

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Giveaway instructions:
To enter in the giveaway, just say hi to Nancie and I. A simple “HI! Ciao! Hola! Salut!” Whatever language your prefer and you will still be entered in the giveaway!!Smile

SIX more ways to win:
Follow Nancie on Twitter: @nanciemac
“Like” Nancie’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/NancieMcDermott
Follow Cake Duchess on Twitter: @cakeduchess
“Like” the Cake Duchess Facebook page: Cake Duchess
Become a follower of the Cake Duchess blog
Subscribe to Cake Duchess RSS fee
Look at all those chances you have to win! The Southern Cakes giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday, May 6th, 2011.
(I apologize to my International readers. This giveaway is open to US readers onlySmile)

* Remember! To have your extra entries count, be sure to leave a comment for each entrySmile.

Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas

Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup cocoa
1/3 cup evaporated milk or half-and-half
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the cake:

Heat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and stir with a fork to combine well.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar, and beat well, about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla.
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Beat well for 2-3 minutes more, scraping down the bowl occasionally, until you have a smooth batter.

Using a large spoon or spatula, stir in half the flour just until it disappears into the batter.
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Stir in the buttermilk , and then the remaining flour, the same way.
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Gently fold in the mashed bananas.
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Divide the batter between the two cake pans.
Bake at 350 F. for 25-30 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown, spring back when touched lightly in the center, and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towels. Then turn out onto wire racks or plates to cool completely, top side up.

To make the frosting, in a medium saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa, and evaporated milk. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until the cocoa dissolved into a dark, shiny essence, Remove from the heat and stir in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat with a mixer at low speed until you have a smooth, thick frosting.

To complete the cake, place one layer, top side down, on a  cake plate or serving plate, and spread about 1 cup of frosting evenly over the top. Cover with the second layer, placed top side up. Spread the frosting evenly, first over the sides and then covering the top of the cake.

*IF you don’t have buttermilk, stir 1 1/2 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice into 1/2 cup of milk, and let stand 10 minutes.

GOOD LUCK in this FUN giveaway! I wish each and everyone of you could win a copy of Nancie’s incredible book!

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