She fried everything in site, smoked and lived to be in her 80s. Widowed in her mid twenties with five children, the youngest being six-weeks-old I'm sure was a hard life but it that she found the strength raise a family alone. She could be anywhere from cantankerous to darn right mean but never took any lip from anyone, I mean anyone. She had a grip like iron until she passed away. She was a fantastic cook.
Emily Prucilla, our afore mentioned grandmother/great-grandmother, was one of those cooks that rarely followed a recipe. This makes recreating some of her jewels difficult. We were lucky to have the one for the butterscotch cookies but I'd love to have the Banana Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting recipe, it was one I'd not thought of in a long while.
I can see here standing at the stove cooking the frosting, one hand on her hip, and whistling some odd tune. She'd just start putting things together without measuring, just tasting, and 99% of the time she has success.
Here is my effort for the cake but the frosting I made was way too sweet and overpowered the cake. It was cooked brown sugar and cream, beat until fluffy, which didn't happen without an addition of butter, a few drops of water and eventually, powdered sugar. By this time I was working up a sweat. Sheesh! I would make this with a much lighter frosting next time because the cake is quite tasty.
Fresh Banana Layer Cake
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (sift before measuring)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about two)
1/4 cup cream, buttermilk, or plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch pans.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl whisk together banana mixture. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy and beat in eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Stir in flour and banana mixture alternately beginning and ending with flour, stirring well after each addition.
Divide between pans and bake for about 15-17 minutes. Cool on rack, remove from pans and cool completely before icing the cakes. I added some toasted pecans on top, it looked rather plain without.
Editors note: I don't believe my butter was soft enough because my cakes, from 8-inch square pans, did not rise more than an inch. I cut each cake in half to make a four by eight inch four layer cake. I like height when it comes to desserts. Ya gotta think on your feet when you do this cooking thing, especially when discerning guests are coming.