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Tennessee Banana-Black Walnut Cake With Caramel Frosting

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  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Servings: 30

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon for cake vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped, plus 2 cups finely chopped for garnish (optional) black walnuts
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus more as necessary heavy cream
  • 1 (16 oz) box confectioner's sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.

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 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add flour mixture, mix until just combined. Stir in 1 cup black walnuts.

Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare frosting. Melt butter in saucepan. Add brown sugar and cream. Cook over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl.

Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. If frosting is too thick, add 1 tablespoon heavy cream at a time until consistency is right. Sandwich 2 layers of cake with icing. Ice the outside of the cake. Surround sides of cake with 2 cups crushed black walnuts.

*Cook’s note: DO NOT substitute English walnuts for black walnuts.