I was between accommodations for about 4 months. For me, one of the most painful things about that was not being able to bake. I had unpacked only what was barely necessary and didn’t want to add to clutter by unpacking my oven and all my baking dishes and whatnot! So when I moved into the new place, I was itching to set up my oven and start baking. And that’s exactly what I did! I wanted to start with something not too complicated and at the same time delicious. I had some over ripe bananas lying at home. The most obvious thing to bake was banana bread. But I wanted to give this most obvious banana cake a twist. I flipped through my Baking – From my home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I saw this recipe for a banana cake that she called her Lots-of-ways Banana Cake. She calls it that cos there are so many ways you can tweak this recipe to suit your taste and needs. I wanted something unfussy with some alcohol in it. So I decided to half this recipe, add some Malibu and bake it in a loaf tin.
Here’s how I made it
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ tspn baking soda
½ tspn salt
12 tbspn unsalted butter, at room temperature ( I used salted butter and left out the salt)
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum (I used Malibu)
About 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (should be about 1-1 1/2 cups)
½ cup milk (or yogurt or unsweetened coconut milk or buttermilk)
1 cup mixed nuts (I used almonds, pista, fig & lots of raisins)
Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. If you’re making the entire recipe, then you need to butter two 9×2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Else, just prepare one cake pan or loaf tin.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together. Beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and beat at medium speed for a couple of minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, followed by the vanilla and rum. Now lower the speed and add the bananas. Add the dry and liquid ingredients alternately, adding the flour mixture in three portions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). Mix just until everything is incorporated. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently stir in the nuts. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans or fill it all in one pan.
The book says it takes about 45 mins to cook. Mine took almost 75 mins. You know your oven the best. So bake it till a stick or knife inserted comes out almost clean and the cake starts pulling out from the sides. When its cooked, the crust is also nice and deep brown. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes, then unmold and invert onto another rack to cool to room temperature right side up.
I was feeling lazy and ate my cake just like this and it was brilliant. But its not called Lots-of-ways Banana Cake for no reason. I’m going to quote from the book and give you all the possibilities.
Frosting: To frost one layer or to fill and frost both layers, consider Sweetened whipped cream to which you’ve added vanilla, a splash of dark rum or Malibu coconut rum and toasted coconut, Marshmallow frosting, Chocolate Whipped Cream and just for fun, a crown of chocolate shavings or Bittersweet Ganache.
Rum Syrup: If you like the flavor of rum, you can douse the cakes with rum syrup as soon as they come out of the oven.
One-Layer Cake: Serve just one layer, lightly sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder, and accompany it with lightly whipped cream and/or ice cream (chocolate, coconut, vanilla, or coffee) and/or Hot Fudge Sauce.
Grand Banana Sundae: You can cut one cake into small cubes and make a sundae. Toss the pieces of cake with some cubes of fresh banana and a little rum and top with ice cream, hot fudge sauce and whipped cream. Why not go all the way and add some toasted coconut too?
I loved the cake just plain. The Malibu added a wonderful coconuty-rummy flavour that was unmistakable. I’m glad I didn’t do anything that might have clashed with this taste. Its not a very dense cake but its not light either. Eat it hot or cold with some ice cream or maybe a drizzle of chocolate sauce. YUM!
- The recipe says that the batter curdles when you add the bananas. But mine didn’t. So if it happens to you, don’t panic.
- Even when I halved the recipe, I added the same amount of Malibu the recipe called for for the entire lot. It showed and I’m glad I took that call.
- The cake tastes a lot better the next day and even better the day after! I would strongly recommend making the whole recipe and keeping it for a few days.
- According to the recipe, it keeps in an airtight container outside for 3-4 days and for up to 2 months in a freezer.
PS: Pls excuse the hurried picture. I promise to click better ones next time!