Monday, June 23, 2008

Banana Cake with Jamaican Cream Cheese Frosting

When we made the Fondant Cake yesterday we only made a very small cake to practice with. The original recipe for the cake called for two 9x2 pans, so instead of that I did two 4x2 cakes and two 8x2 cakes. The small cakes we covered in fondant, but that left me trying to figure out what to do with the rest.

I finally opted to just frost them and I suppose I could have just used buttercream, but that seemed like a terrible thing to do to such a good cake. I mean after all, this was a banana cake with coconut that was basted in rum sauce -- buttercream just seemed too mundane for all of that. Since I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do I started flipping through my books and sure enough a recipe jumped out at me almost immediately.

My Passion For Baking book has a version of a banana layer cake that she tops with a coffee and rum cream cheese frosting. It looked perfect for the cake I had sitting there, and as an added bonus we had coffee leftover from breakfast that would be perfect. The problem was that the frosting was very, very slick. I couldn't even get it to stick to the side of the cake without problems. I finally glopped on enough frosting that some stuck to the sides and I threw the whole thing in the fridge. After chilling for a couple of hours the frosting became much more manageable, but I was still annoyed with the whole thing.

I've had that problem with cream cheese frostings before, but somewhere I found a version of cream cheese frosting that used whipped (cream? egg whites?) to stabilize it and I remember saying after I used it for the first time that I was never going back to regular cream cheese frosting since that stuff was such a dream to work with.... now if only I could remember where I found the recipe.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsps baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup packed light brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, preferably at room temp
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp dark rum or Malibu coconut rum
About 4 very ripe bananas (you should have 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (or whole milk, buttermilk, sour cream or plain yogurt)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (or an equal amount of moist, plump dried fruit, or a combo of fruit and coconut)

Rum Glaze
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup rum

Bring sugar and water to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Brush the glaze over the finished cake, allowing it to soak in.

4 tbsp cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp rum
4 to 6 tbsp coffee

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until blended. It could be goopy so start with the least amount of wet ingredients and the most dry and slowly add coffee to get the right consistency. If it is runny, refrigerate for an hour or so until it becomes manageable.

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