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Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting by

Prep: 45 min. Bake: 45 min. + cooling Yield: 16 Servings

Ingredients

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 large)
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup chopped unsalted pistachios, toasted

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
2 containers (8 ounces each) whipped cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup baking cocoa
4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Additional chopped unsalted pistachios, toasted, optional

Instructions

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Fold in 3/4 cup pistachios.
Transfer to two greased and floured 8-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350 for 45-55 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 frosting, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add cocoa; mix until blended. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until creamy.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread top with 1 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake. Spread top and sides with 2 cups frosting. Press pistachios into sides of cake if desired.
Cut a small hole in the corner of a large pastry or plastic bag; insert #127 petal pastry tip. Fill the bag with remaining frosting. Pipe concentric circles of frosting over top of cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until frosting is set. Yield: 16 servings.

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