Sunday, April 13, 2008
Bahama Mama Banana Rum Cake
The banana pile got a bit out of hand in the freezer again so I vowed to use some of them up. I also vowed to use my newest cookbook -- Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey -- since I've owned it for two weeks and have only used it once (the very awesome Maple Walnut Pie.) I was at Borders yesterday and realized that I couldn't buy any new baking books until I've used that one more than once, and since there are still many books I want to get, I figured I ought to get cracking.
Luckily, the book had a very intriguing Banana Rum Cake -- problem solved. A cake somewhere between a rum cake and a pound cake with bananas thrown in for good measure, and a lot of sugary, rummy, sticky glaze to go over the whole thing -- the only thing I thought was missing was coconut, but I can always add that next time. My big problem was that my cake wasn't quite done when I pulled it out of the oven. I had mixed results when I tested it with a skewer after 60 minutes in the oven. I figured the last little bits would finish cooking on the cooling rack, but it turns out that it probably needed at least another 5 minutes in the oven, if not longer. So my cake is a bit... um... moist... yeah, we'll call it moist.
If I make this cake again I would also probably fold the pecans into the batter rather than have them just on the top. It makes a cool looking crust that way -- but then when you eat it you get a distinctly different experience depending on if you eat the "crust" or the inside of the cake. If the pecans were folded in, the crunch and flavor would be distributed evenly and I think it would improve the cake.
That was really my only quibble with the cake and it's very minor and easy to change if I make it again. Other than that -- bananas, rum, cake... a very good combination that works well together to give a moist (some parts moister than others), flavorful cake.
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
For the Cake:
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, 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)
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
3 tbsps dark rum
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream (I didn't have enough sour cream so I used buttermilk)
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. Spray a 10-cup tube pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the pecans 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. 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. 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. As the glaze hardens, this will encase the cake in a rummy, sugary shell.
Let the cake cool completely before cutting into wedges and serving. This cake will last 2 to 3 days if covered well.