Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Funky monkey banana cake

If you're like me, you have more ripe bananas on hand than you can eat.  Many of my overly ripe bananas make their geriatric way into my freezer, where they join other geriatric bananas in a large plastic basket.  They wait there, sleeping in their frosty black jackets in their cryogenic state, hoping for a resurrection of sorts.  The resurrection is usually in the form of banana bread with tons of nuts and chocolate chips (DISCLAIMER: this is not a healthy breakfast food, but my husband, the Sugar Addict, loves it and I figure if I'm using King Arthur flour and organic bananas there is some redemption in my future).  Or, lately, I've been making a rum-soaked banana cake I fondly refer to as The Funky Monkey, adorned with what I have come to call RumButterCreamCheese Frosting.  I see clearly now that there is likely no redemption in my future because this dessert is not for the health-conscious.  It is pure over-kill.

Be still my heart.

The cake recipe I'm going to give you today is rich, moist and toothsome.  People will want (and ask for) seconds every time you make it.  I'm a little proud of this recipe that I've developed over the years and even though I'm not a professional baker, I've acquired a few skills (DISCLAIMER: the author is not a pastry chef although she has wanted to play one on TV).

I'll tell you a little secret I've learned about appearing to be a skilled baker: it's the rum.  Shhhhh!

I have to digress just a little here to mention that I love The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, from which my recipe came to be adapted.  If you look at my disgustingly ridiculous collection of over 300 cookbooks, you can tell I really love The Fannie Farmer Cookbook because it's one of several with a torn binding.  Pages are falling out.  Many of the pages are stained.  I have made notes in the margins.  There are pieces of paper with scribblings on them stuck here and there inside.  That means it's a good cookbook (DISCLAIMER: the author's opinions are purely subjective; that means she is not a literary critic but has delusions of being one).

So here's my recipe.  Of course, you don't have to drizzle it with rum, nor are you obligated to use rum in the frosting.  It will still be perfectly delicious.  But if you want people to ask for seconds, or if you want your morning coffee break to be a little more pleasant, go for the rum.  It's truly decadent.

Funky Monkey Banana Cake with RumButterCreamCheese Frosting

     You can make this into a layer cake as well; just adjust the baking time accordingly.

1 cup neutral oil (like grapeseed or canola)
2 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 medium bananas
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract (Mexican vanilla is nice too)
4 cups cake flour (you can approximate cake flour by using 2 Tbs. cornstarch for every cup of flour called for and filling up the rest of the measuring cup with flour; or you can try to find cake flour in a well-stocked grocery store or specialty market--look for King Arthur, Swans Down or Softasilk)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Divine Desserts baking spice mixture (or you can use an equal amount of cake spice)
1 cup buttermilk (I often substitute 1/2 cup Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup water, stirred together)
2 oz. dark rum

RumButterCreamCheese Frosting (recipe follows)

1.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.)  Grease a 1" deep sided cookie or sheet cake pan.
3.)  In an electric mixer or by hand, combine oil, sugar, mashed bananas, eggs and vanilla; beat well.

4.)  In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and spice mixture.
5.)  Add flour mixture to wet mixture and blend.
6.)  Slowly add buttermilk and mix until well-blended.
7.)  Spread batter in greased pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
8.)  Cool about 10 minutes, then poke holes all over surface of the cake with a fork.
9.)  Drizzle with rum and let cool completely before frosting.

RumButterCreamCheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. dark rum
pinch salt
1 lb. confectioner's sugar (about 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

1.)  With a hand-held electric mixer, combine butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, rum and salt on medium speed in a medium-size bowl.
2.)  Add confectioner's sugar and blend until completely incorporated.   
3.)  Frost cooled banana cake.
4.)  Sprinkled with chopped nuts if using.


  1. My mouth is seriously watering after reading this post! We will definitely be making this in our very, very near future! Great post.

    1. Hey you, thanks for that! And after checking out your blog, I see I've missed an important opportunity to eat great food at The Domain. Will be stopping by The Park for brunch ASAP!