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Nana's Gone Nuts! Cake

3 c. flour
1 c. Splenda
1 T. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk (low calorie skim milk can be substituted for those watching their calories)
1/2 c. softened butter
2 eggs
1 Banana (reserve about 1/4 of the banana for decoration)
1 bag chopped pecan pieces
1 bottle banana extract
2 tubs white icing (regular)

Mix the flour, Splenda, and baking powder in a bowl. Add the milk and butter with a standing mixer (or electric) on low speed until combined. Then beat on high for 2 minutes. Add eggs and beat for 2 more minutes. Cut up 3/4 of the banana and place into the cake batter along with 1/4 of the bag of pecans, mixing until well combined. As the batter is being mixed, add the banana extract to desired flavor (I use about 1/4-1/2 of the bottle). Pour batter into two 8 or 9 inch round baking pans lined with parchment paper on the bottom. Spray the sides of the pans with a non-stick spray like Pam Organic. Set the pans on the counter giving them a quick shake to make sure batter is settled evenly. Place the pans into a 375 degree pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for about 10 minutes OR do a 'flash cool' by placing pans directly into the freezer for about 5 minutes or until the pans and cakes are cool to the touch.

In a separate bowl, dump the container(s) of frosting and mix in 1/4 of the bag of pecans (or more if desired) reserving the last half of the bag.

Place one of the cooled cakes, face up, onto a serving platter with pieces of parchment paper around the bottom (this is to make the frosting look pretty around the bottom). Carve off the top of the cake to make it even across the top. Spread some of the icing to cover the top of the cake.

Place the second cake on top of the first, cutting the top to make it even. Add the icing on the top and sides of the cake. With the remainder of the pecans, go around the sides of the cake, covering the icing (the sides will look like it's all pecans). With the reserved banana, cut up 6 slices and arrange on top to look like a flower or desired design. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake to reveal a smooth finish. ENJOY!

Brooke L. Scheler

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