When you taste a lot of rum, you begin to realize that it has a lot of complexity to it – just like wine, beer and coffee do, if you take a bit of extra time to learn what you’re looking for. While rums are made from molasses and sugar cane juice, the region where the sugar cane was grown, as well as both the fermentation and distillation processes, impart a surprising amount of complexity to rum. One flavor commonly associated with rum is that of sweet, ripe tropical fruits, such as bananas and pineapples. It’s no surprise that a spirit with a naturally fruity flavor would pair well with those fruits. This is one of the reasons that rum is so delicious in tropical fruit-based drinks. It is also why rum pairs so well with bananas in this Banana Rum Bundt Cake.
The moist, dense cake is loaded with mashed, ripe banana and laced with plenty of rum. I used rum in the cake batter itself, then soaked the hot cake in more rum when it came out of the oven to ensure that it stood out. I also finished the cake with a sweet vanilla and rum glaze. It is a delicious – and fairly grown up – cake that is a nice change of pace from the usual banana bread. You’ll still taste the banana in every single bite, but every bite will see just a bit more tropical than usual!
It is important to use a flavorful and good quality dark rum for this recipe. A dark or aged rum will have a stronger molasses flavor to it than white rum, adding more complexity to your cake. You don’t need the most expensive rum on the shelf, but it is true to say that the more expensive the rum, the more character it will have. If you want to play around with multiple rums, I would recommend using a cheaper rum in the batter and a more expensive rum for the soak the the rum glaze, where you’ll be able to pick out the notes of the rum more clearly. I used Meyer’s Dark Rum, which is quite reasonably priced, in my cake batter and used Appleton aged rum in my frosting. If you want another layer of flavor, coconut rum (Captain Morgan makes a flavorful coconut right now) that will add an extra tropical touch.
The cake will keep well for several days after baking because it is so moist, so this cake can be baked a day or two ahead of when you plan to serve it. If you really want to preserve the cake, you can soak it even more generously in rum after baking (and turn it into a real rum cake). Alternatively, you can skip the final rum infusion to cut down on the alcohol used in the cake (the alcohol in the batter will cook off during baking) and get a more subtle rum flavor.
Banana Rum Bundt Cake with Rum Glaze
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup dark rum
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (approx 3 large)
Rum soak: 1/2 cup dark or aged rum
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp dark or aged rum
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, allspice and salt.
In a large bowl, Whisk together sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract until well combined.
Stir one third of the flour mixture into the sugar mixture, followed by the buttermilk and rum. Stir in another third of the flour mixture, followed by the mashed banana. Stir in remaining flour mixture and mix until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
While cake is hot, poke deep holes all over it with a thick skewer. Carefully pour rum over the cake, allowing it to soak in and poking additional holes as necessary.
Allow cake to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes after the rum as soaked in, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare glaze: Beat together all ingredients until glaze is thick and smooth. If glaze is too runny, whisk in additional confectioners’ sugar. If glaze is too stiff, add in a few drops of milk.
Drizzle glaze over cooled cake.