Church Roots & Southern Dishes

Growing Up In Deep Creek....

I grew up in a small country church and memories of my childhood often take me back to activities that took place there. Aside from my mama, appreciation for great food was acquired at this church. To this day, some of the best cooks I know still attend this same church! Every occasion called for a meal and no one walked away hungry. From homecoming, to Vacation Bible School to revivals, meals were plentiful and much planning and preparation went into each and every one of them.

Homecoming Sundays, “back in the day” were filled with people and lots and lots of food. As a child, I remember a huge homemade table outside of the fellowship hall underneath the tall oak tree. This table was made from wooden posts and the top was constructed of some type of wire similar to chicken wire. The table was a permanent fixture at the church for years and on homecoming Sundays when the number of people attending extended the capacity of the very small fellowship hall, folks would stand near the table to eat, providing them a place to put their VERY FULL plates and a large cup of sweet tea.

Homecoming was held in August each year, so it was hot. HOT… as in southern-North Carolina-humid-hot! Children could be heard in the background playing hide and go seek, red rover, and freeze tag; games you rarely hear about today. Although simple and country to the core, life was good and it was sweet. Some of the sweetness came from desserts, my favorite part of homecoming meals at Deep Creek.

I am still in search of some old photos from our homecomings back in the day. I am hoping some of the Deep Creek folks can help me out with that!

Until then, this is what I have:

Old Fashioned Sunday - circa 1990's

Desserts and Homecoming.....

The dessert table was always filled to the rim with homemade cakes, pies, cookies, you name it….and I don’t remember there being very many items that were store bought on the table. There were some desserts that were so well known and loved so much that you had to get to the table pretty quickly if you wanted a portion!

Two sisters who were some of the sweetest people in the world, Miss Sallie Mae and Miss Ethel, made the most delicious chocolate pies I have ever tasted. I could name off a dozen or more ladies in this church who could (and some still do) whip up amazing desserts and I am sure over time, I will write about them because there is always a story to tell behind every dish! For those of you following this blog, in upcoming posts, you will be introduced to many Deep Creek ladies’ recipes like Pam’s chocolate pound cake, Mrs. Helen’s chicken salad, Mrs. Iva Mae’s coconut pie, Aunt Faye’s sweet potato pies, Mrs. Jean’s hot baked fruit, and several more that stand out in my mind!

Just like the good ole days of our childhood memories, there are some foods that scream nostalgia. One of those dishes is banana pudding, a deliciously creamy dessert. Layers of bananas, vanilla wafers and custard, oh my! Banana pudding was always one of my favorite desserts growing up. My mama made it on the stove with cream, butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla and when she poured the hot mixture over the vanilla wafers, they would quickly soak up that goodness and create a deliciously soggy textured cookie fit for a king! There is nothing quite like a custard based banana pudding. I remember several of the ladies of Deep Creek Baptist Church bringing their banana puddings to homecoming and they were often flanked with a beautiful thick meringue toasted to perfection! As a matter of fact, I don’t remember a homecoming at Deep Creek without banana pudding.

Being the cake lovers that we are in the Davis house, Sydney and I wanted to create a banana pudding cake that had all those delicious flavors stacked high in a layered cake. This cake is perfect for birthdays, church events, or other special occasions, but I think you may want to keep it for yourself!

This recipe reflects everything I love about a layered cake. First, the three layers of cake are dense and very moist due to the bananas that are mashed up and thrown into the batter. Our cakes are usually very dense because that is how we like them. If you prefer fluffy, airy cakes, then this won’t be the cake for you. The cake is delicious by itself and can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee or a tall glass of milk, but we are taking it up a notch by adding layers of vanilla pudding mixture between the cake layers. This adds a level of creaminess to each bite that mirrors that of an old fashioned banana pudding. Lastly, we top it off with a very thin layer of vanilla bean buttercream frosting, because what is a cake without buttercream? Once all of that is done, I use crumbled vanilla wafers around the edges and a few halves on top to make it pretty!

If you love banana pudding, you will love this cake and I hope it brings back your favorite childhood memories with every single bite! Enjoy!

Banana Pudding Cake

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