Sunday, September 18, 2016

Welcome our guest, Ellen Byron + Bananas Foster cake #recipe + #giveaway

Ellen's debut novel, Plantation ShuddersA Cajun Country Mystery, made the USA Today Bestsellers list and has been nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. The second book in the series, Body on the Bayou, launches September 13th. Ellen has also written for television, as well. Her credits include Wings, Still Standing, Just Shoot Me, and more. As a journalist, she has written over 200 magazine articles for national publications. Plus she writes plays!  Learn more about Ellen on her website:

Here's a taste of Body on the Bayou:

Maggie Crozat agrees to be frenemy Vanessa Fleer’s Maid of Honor, but when Vanessa tops the list of murder suspects, meeting this Bridezilla’s wedding demands takes a backseat to keeping her out of jail. 

Publishers Weekly says, “A tight plot, an appealing setting, and a smart, good-hearted protagonist with a caring, supportive family and lots of friends give this story everything cozy mystery readers could want.”



Bananas Foster is an iconic dessert served at an equally iconic New Orleans restaurant, Brennan’s. Bananas are flambéed in a sauce of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum, and banana liqueur, and then served over vanilla ice cream. Legend has it that the dish was invented at the restaurant in 1951 as a way to advertise the fact that New Orleans was a major hub for imported bananas from South America.

The dessert’s irresistible blend of bananas, sugars, spices, and liquors can be applied to a variety of dishes. Google “Bananas Foster” and you’ll get a long list that ranges from pancakes to bread pudding to ice cream. When I was creating recipes for Body on the Bayou, the second in my Cajun Country Mystery series, I knew I wanted to tap into this uniquely NOLA treat, so I came up with a recipe for Bananas Foster Coffee Cake. Laissez les bon bananas roulez!

The cake ingredients:

3 ripe bananas, sliced
6 tablespoons butter, divided (3 at a time)
2 ounces dark rum
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 ounce banana liqueur (note: if you don’t have this, use 3 oz. Rum)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups Bisquick

The streusel ingredients:

2/3 cups Bisquick
2/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter or margarine

Instructions to make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350, with rack in center level of the oven.

In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the dark brown sugar and stir to combine. Add the rum and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often to blend the ingredients and keep them from crystallizing. Add the banana chunks and cook for 2-3 more minutes, gently stirring to coat the bananas with the thickening liquid. Scrape the caramelized banana mixture into a medium heatproof bowl. Use your spatula to break up the bananas into small pieces (but don’t mash them into pulp). Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter until melted, then add the vanilla. Let the mixture cool down to warm, then quickly whisk in the eggs.

Place the 2 cups of Bisquick in another medium-sized bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the Bisquick and stir together.

Instructions to make the streusel:

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, and cut in the butter. Use a pastry blender to combine ingredients until the streusel is crumbly.

To put it all together:

Put half the cake batter in a 8” by 8” buttered cake pan. Top with half the streusel. Top that with the rest of the cake batter, and cover that with the rest of the streusel.

Bake for 35-45 minutes. Try not to over-bake, or it will be dry.

Serves 6-8.

I am offering a giveaway today, a hardcover copy of BODY ON THE BAYOU plus some swag.   Leave a COMMENT and tell me if you've ever been to the bayou. Remember to add an email address (cryptic if you'd like) so I can contact you if you win!

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  1. I have never been to the bayou, but I've always wanted to visit!

    1. It's such a great part of the country, Karen. Hope you get there.

    2. Nelly B is my Google name, BTW!

  2. Yes! I love the bayou. Haven't been in a few years, but will be returning soon. Also love this Bananas Foster Coffee Cake recipe; and the book sounds amazing!

  3. Yes, I have been to the bayou. Of course, the food is my favorite part. Dmskrug3 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  4. I have not been to the bayou, would love to one day. Thanks for the chance :)
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  5. I went on my first visit to the Honey Island Swamp in Louisiana this week. We traveled by boat through several slow moving, offshoot branches of a river but I don't think this is a bayou. And I was lucky to try Brennan's Bananas Foster this week in NOLA. It was delish, so thanks for the recipe and chance to win a hard copy of your newest book!
    grace dot koshida at gmail dot com

    1. I've been on a bunch of swamp tours, but this one sounds great!

  6. I never been to the bayou! I have a good friend that lives there I would love to go and meet her. Wonderful review thanks
    Penney penneyw(at)

  7. I've never been to the Bayou but would love to do so some time. I have a cousin who lives in Slidell Louisana. dbahn(at)iw(dot)net.

  8. I have been to Louisiana a few times. Most of what I've seen has been from the road. I've never been in the bayou. suefoster109 T

  9. This is a part of the country I have never been. Someday I will make it there. So many great places here in the US to explore! I have Plantation Shudders out from the library. I would love to win book 2 here. Thanks for the chance!

    Rlewis11797 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  10. I have never been to the bayou but this book sure sounds good and so does the recipe
    ninaatmyhouse at yahoo dot com

  11. I have never been to the bayou but this book sure sounds good and so does the recipe
    ninaatmyhouse at yahoo dot com

  12. No, I have never been to the New Orleans area. Not yet, anyway.

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

  13. That's a very interesting recipe--I think I'll have to try it. Thanks for the contest--I'd love to win your book.

  14. While I've visited New Orleans several times I never made it out to a bayou. Thanks for the chance to win your book and for your amazing recipe!!! kimdavishb (at) gmail (dot) com

  15. This cake sounds like a great variation of bananas Foster.
    I've been to New Orleans, but not out into the bayou.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  16. The book looks awesome to read!! The recipes also looks delicious. Thank you for the chance to win

  17. Yes.I was down to New Orleans and we took a swamp tour and saw the gators and some coons.

  18. I have never been to the Bayou. The recipe looks enticing. Thanks for this great giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  19. I have been to New Orleans once and can't wait to go back. I was only in the "city" area. I loved it!!

  20. I have not, but visits via books have certainly piqued my interest! This is one of my father-in-law's favorite desserts, the bisquick sure makes it sound easy! :) Thanks for the chance to win!

  21. I've never been to the Bayou but I did visit Florida gater area. I was 7 and we went on a glass bottom boat to the Indian Village to watch a man wrestle a gater. Does that count?

    I'm totally annoyed with my local library. For the past year ALL of the new books they buy are e-books. I have to go one county over to find dead tree version of the books I want to read. Thankfully they had Plantation Shudders and I ordered it. This way when I win this wonderful giveaway I'll have already enjoyed the first book. LOL

    NoraAdrienne (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. Wonderful. And I'm a paper goal, too. Trying to get used to my Kindle.:-(

  22. I would enjoy visiting the bayou and Louisiana. The cake would be yummy. Many thanks for the giveaway. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com