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Chasen's Banana Shortcake with Banana Sauce

For the cakes:
1 C. butter, softened
1 C. sugar
4 large eggs
2 t. vanilla extract
2 C. sifted cake flour
1/4 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
2 T. heavy cream, chilled

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour 12 individual charlotte or cake pans.

With an electric mixer on high speed, cream butter with the sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes, frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla. Continue beating on high speed for 6 minutes, frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl. Set aside.

Resift flour with salt and baking powder. With mixer at lowest speed, add flour mixture slowly to batter. When incorporated, add cream. Beat only until blended.

Place cake pans on a baking sheet and divide the batter equally among them. Bake on the center rack about 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of each cake comes out clean and the cakes are just beginning to shrink from the sides. Cool 5 minutes on a wire rack; invert each cake onto your hand, then place right side up on the rack to finish cooling.

For the whipped filling:
2 C. heavy cream, chilled
1/4 C. superfine sugar
1 t. vanilla extract

Whip cream until stiff. Fold in sugar and vanilla extract.

For the Banana Sauce:
1/2 C. heavy cream, chilled
1 T. superfine sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 pint best-quality French vanilla ice cream, softened
2 very ripe bananas, cut into very thin rounds
1 T. dark rum, or to taste

Whip cream with sugar and vanilla extract until stiff. Fold ice cream into whipped cream. Toss the banana with the rum and fold into whipped cream mixture.

To assemble the shortcakes:
2 T. dark rum
4 small, ripe bananas, sliced, plus 1 banana, sliced into thin rounds
Hot fudge sauce of your choice

Slice each cake horizontally into two equal layers. Place cake tops upside down on dessert plates. Prick each with a fork and drizzle with rum. Spread filling generously on top. Lay bananas in a single layer to cover filling. Cover with more filling and top with the remaining cake layer. Spoon a dollop of filling on top of each. Chill. When ready to serve, place remaining banana rounds decoratively on the tops of the cakes. Spoon on Banana Sauce and hot fudge sauce.

Yield: 12 servings.

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