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Banana-Hazelnut Cake

 Banana-Hazelnut Cake
Special occasions call for outstanding desserts that take a little more time to prepare. I often cake and freeze the bake layers weeks in advance and thaw before assembling.—Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
12 ServingsPrep: 40 min. Bake: 25 min. + cooling

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or unsweetened apple juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • FILLING:
  • 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • FROSTING:
  • 2-1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • 12 hazelnuts

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about
  • 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each
  • addition. Beat in vanilla. In a small bowl, combine the bananas,

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Banana-Hazelnut Cake (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • buttermilk and brandy. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add
  • to the creamed mixture alternately with banana mixture. Beat just
  • until combined.
  • Transfer to three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake
  • at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the
  • center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from
  • pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • For filling, place chocolate chips in a small bowl. In a small
  • saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chocolate; whisk
  • until smooth. Refrigerate until chilled. In a small bowl, beat
  • chocolate mixture until soft peaks form, about 15 seconds. Fold in
  • hazelnuts.
  • For frosting, in a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken.
  • Add confectioners' sugar; beat until soft peaks form. Fold in
  • chopped hazelnuts.
  • Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with half of the
  • chocolate mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining cake layer.
  • Spread frosting over the top and sides of cake. Garnish with whole
  • hazelnuts. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 12 servings.
To Make Ahead: Cake layers can be baked the day before serving. Store each layer in a resealable plastic bag at room temperature.
Nutritional Facts: 1 slice equals 794 calories, 48 g fat (26 g saturated fat), 166 mg cholesterol, 310 mg sodium, 87 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 10 g protein.