Margaret Button | Kitchen Comfort: Have your cake and solve a murder, too

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It's summer and with nothing but reruns on TV and a soft comfy couch on the deck, I spend many hours outdoors reading a book.

A year or so ago, while we were at a library book sale, my friend Pat pointed out a book by Diane Mott Davidson, which she said I would enjoy. I looked a the blurb on the back of 'Sticks and Scones" and decided to give it a try. What did I have to lose except 50 cents?

Mott's books are centered on Goldie Schultz, a caterer who is married to a police officer, and who happens to run into murder victims throughout her small hometown in Colorado. There are about 20 of the books in Mott's series — remind me not to move to that small town in Colorado, the odds of being murdered seem a bit steep!

What is fun about the books is that the author includes recipes for many of the menu items Goldie creates for her catering clients. I use her scone recipe as a basis for making my own and have stashed a recipe for cookies somewhere for future reference. The question is where did I stash it?

Gayle Trent's Daphne Martin Cake Mysteries revolve around Daphne Martin, a baker who specializes in cake in her small town of Brea Ridge, Va. Daphne has returned to her hometown after a nasty divorce and is trying to build a specialty cake business. I just finished "Killer Sweet Tooth," which involves the murder of a dentist and a convention of Elvis Presley impersonators, for which she makes a pink Cadillac cake. Again, the author includes recipes, including this one for Peanut Butter and Banana Cake. Elvis was right — there is nothing like a PB and banana sandwich and when it's turned into a cake, pure heaven!

Peanut Butter and Banana Cake

Ingredients:

½ cup butter, softened

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed bananas, 2 to 3 medium

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ cup milk

Frosting ingredients:

cup creamy peanut butter

cup milk

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups confectioner's sugar

To prepare the cake, in a large bowl cream the butter an sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda, add to creamed mixture alternatively with the milk, beating after each addition.

Transfer to greased 9x13-inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

For frosting, in a small bowl, beat the peanut butter, milk and vanilla until blended; gradually beat in confectioner's sugar until smooth. Spread over cake.


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