Diane Chamberlain’s Gold Nugget Cake

Diane Chamberlain’s Gold Nugget Cake

Diane Chamberlain’s Gold Nugget Cake

In the 1940s, World War II was in full force and food rationing was a normal part of life so the government could ensure that everyone was getting an equal amount. In spite of this, women came up with unique and quirky menus that we simply don’t see today.

When Anna Dale first moves to Edenton, Miss Myrtle serves her upside-down pineapple cake. Something else she may have served, in line with rations during the depression, is this delicious Golden Nugget cake! Gold Nugget Cake was a popular, fuss-free cake to enjoy—and its relatively inexpensive ingredients made it a perfect one to create during wartime. In particular, using overripe bananas in this way was a terrific pathway to deliciously stretching a food ration.”

-Diane Chamberlain

Big Lies in a Small Town Recipe Party

Book Club Buzz: Author Letter, Menu, and Book Giveaway



Diane Chamberlain’s Gold Nugget Cake

Diane Chamberlains' book club recipe for Gold Nugget Cake, inspired by her novel BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN. Recipe adapted from Familycookbookproject.com.


  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American



For the cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sour milk or buttermilk
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (23 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup butter or shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup mashed bananas
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 bananas, sliced


To make the cake

  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Grease and flour 2 8-inch circular cake pans.
  2. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder,and salt together into a large bowl.
  3. Place mashed bananas in a small bowl and add sour milk or buttermilk.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter or shortening with sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add dry and wet ingredients alternately to batter in small quantities, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract.
  5. Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cakes are golden and spring back when pressed.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Invert cakes onto plates.

To make the frosting

  1. In the bowl of a large mixer, cream together butter, mashed bananas, lemon juice, and vanilla. Slowly beat in confectioners’ sugar, adding more if needed to make a fluffy, spreadable frosting.

To assemble cake:

  1. Spread frosting over the top of the first cake. Top with sliced bananas. Place the second cake on top, and frost sides and top of cake. Garnish with sliced bananas.

Keywords: Banana Cake, Cake

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