The price of bananas around here has skyrocketed. Last year at this time, they were 39 cents a pound. Now, I’m lucky if I find them for 59 cents a pound. So, imagine my delight when I found them at our local Costco a couple weeks ago for 39 cents a pound. The bananas came in huge bunches, so I knew that I would have some left over to make some lovely, banana-y baked good. In case you haven’t noticed, I love to find an excuse to bake.
For inspiration, I turned to a book full of “food porn,” if you pardon the expression. By that I mean one of those cookbooks that’s a delight to hold and read because of the care that went into the layout, the food staging, and the photos. The kind of book that makes you itch to bake just about everything in it. This time, the book was Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth, by Jill O’Connor. The recipe? Bahama Mama Banana Rum Cake. Yowza!
I am not a big fan of layer cakes, but I do love a good pound cake or bundt cake, and this one did not disappoint. Master Chow and I both thought that this cake was fantastic without the glaze – moist, fragrant, flavorful, with a hint of rum that did not overwhelm the banana, and a sweet crust around the nuts.
Fearing for my waistline, I dispatched him to his place of employment bearing about 2/3 of the cake. I wasn’t sure his co-workers would like it, as Master Chow and I both thought that the glaze was a bit too much. Master Chow later informed me that the cake was devoured in record time, with requests for the recipe, which just goes to show you what I know. This cake is a winner.
Cooking tip: I recommend placing your cake pan on two baking sheets to prevent over-browning of the cake, especially if the interior of your pan is dark.
More after the jump . . . .
Bahama Mama Banana Rum Cake
Adapted slightly from a recipe by Jill O’Connor in Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
For the dark rum glaze
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark rum (use a good quality rum, because you will taste it)
For the Cake
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts, toasted
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temp
1 cup mashed, very ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas – I went a bit over, with 1 -1/4 cups of bananas)
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
3 tbsps dark rum (or a teaspoon of rum extract)
3 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream
To make the glaze: Combine the butter, water, and sugars in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum. Set aside and keep warm.
To make the cake: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Spray a 10-cup tube or bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, then flour, tapping out the excess flour. The pan needs to be well-greased, or the cake will stick to it. Sprinkle the walnuts in the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat together the butter and sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the mashed bananas, vanilla, and rum (or rum extract). Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt over the batter and fold in using a rubber spatula, just until no streaks of flour remain. Fold in the sour cream. Spoon the batter over the nuts in the pan and spread to the edge of the pan using the back of a rubber spatula.
Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 60 to 80 minutes (I had a bit more banana in the recipe than called for, so my cake actually took 85 minutes to bake). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Use a wooden skewer to poke holes all over the cake and pour 14 cup of the warm glaze over the cake. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes more. Place a serving platter over the pan and invert to release the cake onto the platter. Spoon the remaining glaze over the cake, a little at a time, and let stand until the glaze is completely absorbed into the cake. If the glaze starts to pool at the base of the cake, use a small metal spatula to spread it up and around the sides of the cake. It will look like you have too much glaze, but don’t worry, within a few hours the cake will absorb all of it.
Let the cake cool completely before cutting into wedges and serving. This cake will last 2 to 3 days if covered well.
For the thoughts of another food blogger who has baked this, check out The Biscuit Pusher.