Few aroma’s tug at us as much as the ones that originate in the kitchen. For most of us they conjure memories of family, warmth & laughter, along with fantastic (or maybe not so much) meals our mom’s or dad’s made.

Our old house had a large living room and even a big den with a fireplace, but whenever people came over, it was the kitchen where they would congregate.  Great meals, funny stories, dramatic moments and even tears were shed in that room more often than the others. Some of my best memories involve trying to cook with a kitchen full of visitors and family. There is truth in the belief that there are moments in the past we remember only when we smell certain things

One of my favorites was the banana spice cake my mom used to make.  The intoxicating blend of banana, cloves, cinnamon & nutmeg was an aroma that would stop you in your tracks.  Coupled with the light frosting, made over a double boiler, and it’s impossible to resist.  The next time, you’re stuck with a bunch of banana’s that didn’t get eaten, try it for yourself.  Wait until the peel is almost all dark they can easily be mashed.  Make this enough times, and you won’t need a timer to know when the cake is done; your nose will tell you.

Banana Spice Cake

2 1/2 c. sifted flour                                    2/3 c. shortening
1 2/3 c. sugar                                           2/3 c. buttermilk (or 2/3 c. half & half)
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder                            1 1/4 c. mashed ripe bananas
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda                                2 eggs, unbeaten
1 tsp salt                                                    1 banana, sliced (optional)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

(If I don’t have buttermilk on hand I put 1 TBSP white vinegar or lemon juice in reg. milk & let it stand for 5 minutes. Then just pour 2/3 c into cake mixture.)

Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl, add shortening buttermilk and mashed bananas. Mix until all flour is dampened then beat at low speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs, beat for one more minute.

Pour batter into 3- 8 inch or 2 – 9 inch greased and floured or sprayed cake pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.
Cool, remove from pans and frost, placing banana slices in between layers.

Seafoam Frosting

2 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed.
5 Tbsp. water
dash of salt.

Combine ingredients, except vanilla in top of double boiler.  Beat slightly to mix. Place over rapidly boiling water. Beat with electric mix until frosting stands in peaks. (Approx. 5-7 minutes)   Remove from heat, add vanilla, beat 1-2 minutes or until thick enough to spread.

What food smells bring back happy memories for you? 




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