Ever since my trip to Bahamas this fall, I have been resenting the fact that I had to rush out of the airport without buying a box of the famous Bahamian rum cake.
So I had my eye on this recipe in Jill O'Connor's "Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey" for several weeks after buying the book.
Of course, I didn't realize the night I made this cake would forever be seared into my brain as the night of the "Carbon Monoxide Drama." I had just pulled it out of the oven, and settled in to watch a movie with my sister when the carbon monoxide detector went off, alerting me to call 911 immediately. Sure enough, dispatch put me through to the fire department immediately, and warned me to leave my house. Within minutes, a fire truck with flashing lights pulled up to my street, a dashing firefighter leaped over a snowbank and asked me how I felt. After carefully checking my house, and finding nothing but a faulty detector, the firefighters told me my freshly baked rum cake smelled great. I invited them in for a slice, but they had to get going they said. Their loss, this cake tasted great for several days and my father actually asked if I had any left over.
Ingredients for the dark rum glaze:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark rum
Ingredients for the cake:
1 ½ cups chopped pecans, toasted
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dark rum
3 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup sour cream
To make the glaze: Combine the butter, water, and sugars in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for five 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 non-stick 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 cool for 5 minutes. Use a wooden skewer to poke holes all over the cake and pour ¼ cup of the warm glaze over the cake. Let the cake cool 5 more minutes. 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, until the glaze is completely absorbed into the cake.
Let the cake cool completely before cutting into wedges and serving. This cake will last two to three days if covered well.
My substitutions:I had the foresight to throw some over-ripened bananas in the freezer and pulled them out for this recipe. I wish I had the patience to let them thaw more completely, but this dense cake wasn't affected in the slightest.
Would I make this again? Most definitely, particularly if I don't have time the day of an event. You can easily throw this in a tightly sealed container in the freezer and the flavours hold up well.
Grade: Fives stars out of five. Simple, yummy, and eye-catching (especially if you have a nice Bundt pan).