Delicious banana-rum cake using my new bundt pan!

I’ve been reading the Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy blog for a little over a year now, and being in love with her writing (and recipes!), picked up a copy of her book a few months ago.  I read through it when I first got it (something I usually do with new cookbooks – I love reading them just like books), but while I kept meaning to make something from it, I just kept getting distracted by old favorites.  Which also explains the paucity of posts lately 🙂

A few weeks ago, however, I had some extra bananas to use up,  picked up the book to see if there was anything interesting in it, and found this recipe.

It looked fantastic, so I made it (and took the excuse to use one of my new spiffy Bundt pans obtained on sale this winter), and Oh My God.  It really was fantastic.  The outer layer of rum-soaked cake became this sticky, crusty incredible goodness (we won’t even talk about the pecan layer on top), while the inside banana cake, which was soft and creamy right after baking (you think we waited for this to cool completely?  Ha!) becomes dense and creamy after you let the cake cool.  And if you throw the leftovers in the fridge?  Oh my goodness.  It is soooo good.  We even threw the last piece in the freezer (double-wrapped), and when I thawed it back out and ate it, it was still perfectly wonderful.

The book itself is a joy to use – recipes are clearly and beautifully laid out, instructions are easy to follow, and the book itself is a visual treat.  I highly recommend it.

Look at that creamy interior...

So this cake is an excellent one for cake stands, leftovers, etc.  Bakesales, you name it.  It holds up well, the flavors just get more rich after the first day, and it’s sooo good.

If only real cathedrals tasted this nice

So while we had friends over to play cards, I made it again – this time using my new mini-bundt pans (I cut the recipe in half, which made me six mini-bundts and one leftover tart-pan’s worth of batter).  Still amazing, amazing, amazing.  I took one to my sweetie for lunch at work, and he wrote to tell me that he was still tasting it on his tongue hours later.

Another cute little bundt shape

Bahama Mama Banana Rum Cake

from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor

Dark Rum Glaze:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark [I used dark] brown sugar
1/2 cup dark rum

Combine the butter, water, and sugars [but not the rum!  I did this the second time and had to double the rum, oh noes] in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low nad simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the rum.  Set aside and keep warm.

The Cake:

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted [I ran out halfway through and used walnuts as well, which worked just fine]

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar [I used dark]
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dark rum [I use Myers Dark]
3 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.  Spray a 10-cup tube pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Sprinkle the pecans in the bottom of the pan.  Set aside.  [note: Yes, the pecans make quite a deep layer on the bottom of the pan.  It will all work out, I promise.]

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat togethe rthe butter and sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Beat in mashed bananas, vanilla, and rum.  Sift the flour, baking osda, baking powder, and slat 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 ede of the pan using the back of the 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 – 80 minutes.  [For the smaller bundts, it took around 30 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 1/4 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’s just dwell on that phrase for a moment, shall we?  Rummy, sugary shell.  Yummmmmmmm.]

Let the cake cool comp;letely before cutting into wedges and serving.  [Ha!  I can say that when warm/hot, this cake is almost like banana bread pudding.  It’s so awesome.  Don’t deny yourself.] Will last 2 to 3 days if covered well.  And if your house contains only one person, or somebody who has no taste buds.  Otherwise, don’t plan on saving any.  It’s that darned good.

Yummy!

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So, last week was when this cake was due (check out everyone else’s!).  And I had baked it!  And photographed it, even.  But the pictures didn’t get edited, and we went out of town, and, and, and…  so it’s a bit late.  But still tasty!

Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache

from Sky High: Irresistible triple-layer cakes

Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache

Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache

The banana cake came together like a dream – easy to make, smells fabulous, tastes great.  I did my usual ‘cut the recipe in half and use three 6″ pans’ trick so as to not end up with miles of cake.

I used walnuts for the praline instead of pecans, and made it by melting sugar and coating, rather than the boil/fry method the recipe calls for.  It was fabulously tasty, and I think walnuts go better with banana anyways!

The white chocolate ganache…  Jeff loved it.  Said it was fabulous.  To me, it tasted way, way too sweet, but I’ve been off sugar for two weeks now and my taste receptors are changing 😦  The cake was a little plain when I’d frosted it, so I covered the sides with leftover praline, and spun some sugar for a topper (I still need practice with that bit – lots!)  I still strongly dislike working with whipped cream frostings.  It’s just not smooth.

Check out my fabulous sugar!

Check out my fabulous sugar!

Here’s another shot of a slice with sugar on top:

(and if you look very carefully, you’ll see some of that five inches of snow we got last week.  Only snowfall all season!  Gone now.)

my-favorite

The Cake:
makes a 9-inch triple layer cake

3 cups of cake flour [I actually used this – shocker!]
3 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup of ripe mashed bananas
8 ounces of softened unsalted butter
2 cups of sugar
7 egg whites

Praline Filling:
1 cup sugared pecans, cooled [I used walnuts]
1 and 1/2 cups white chocolate ganache

Sugared Pecans:
1 and 1/2 cups pecan halves
3 cups vegetable oil
1 cup confectioners sugar

Alternately:

1 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 cups walnut pieces

White Chocolate Ganache:
8 ounces of white chocolate chopped
2 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

CAKE:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper or wax paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside dry ingredients. In a food processor or blender, process the milk and banana into a smooth light puree. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. On medium high speed, beat in egg whites 2-3 at a time until smooth. Scraping down the sides of the bowl between egg additions.
4. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and banana puree alternately in 2-3 additions, beating until just blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on medium-high speed for 1-minute. Divide the batter among the cake pans.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of each cake. Let the cake layers cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto a wired rack and remove the paper liners. Then cool completely one hour.
6. To assemble the cake, put one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Cover the top evenly with half of the praline filling, leaving a 1/4″-inch margin around the edges. place the second layer on top, again flat side up, cover it with remaining filling. Finally add the third layer and frost the sides and top with the white chocolate ganache. Garnish with sugared pecans.

Praline Filling

1. With a large chef’s knife chop the pecans. Or pulse in a food processor being careful not to turn into paste.
2. Add the sugared pecans to the white chocolate ganache and stir to mix well.

Sugared Pecans

1. Place the pecans in a medium sauce pan, add water to cover, and heat to a boiling. Boil the pecans slowly until they are swollen and soft 5-8 minutes. Drain the nuts well in a sieve for about 5 minutes. (Do not pat dry; the nuts must remain damp.)
2. While the nuts are draining, heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan or deep fat fryer t0 350F degrees.
3. Set half of the nuts aside. Dust the remaining nuts in the sieve with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Shake the sieve to coat the nuts evenly, letting any excess sugar fall away. Immediately add the coated nuts to the hot oil. Fry until golden brown about 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon scoop the nuts out and drain them on several thickness of paper towels. Repeat the process with the remaining nuts.

Alternately,

1. Place 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat and heat until melted and dark amber in color.
2. Add walnuts.  Stir to coat, sprinkle with another 1/4 cup of sugar.
3. When the new sugar has melted, add another 1/4 cup.  Repeat with last 1/4 cup.
4. Turn out onto non-stick, melt-proof surface (such as a silpat).
5. When cool, chop into small pieces.

White Chocolate Ganache

1. Put the white chocolate in a medium heat proof bowl. In a small sauce bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 1-minute, then whisk until smooth. Let the white chocolate cream stand until cooled to room temperature.
2. In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters beat the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream and vanilla until softly whipped. Stir in the white chocolate cream and beat until fairly stiff. taking care not over beat, which would cause the ganache to separate.

Late afternoon sun on spun sugar.

Late afternoon sun on spun sugar.