Ginger Banana Cake

To say life has been busy here is somewhat like saying eating cake is fun.  Both would be HUGE understatements, and yet totally related in that when life gets crazy, eating cake is even more fun and probably even necessary.  So to help us through the busy insanity of the last few weeks, I've made this cake a few times, primarily because we loved it so much, but also to try and figure out why.

I mean, it's a banana cake, which might seem a bit pedestrian at first glance, but I caution you in regards to making snap judgments pertaining to its deliciousness.  It's a bit difficult to describe how good this is, except to say it might be something sort of like if banana bread and gingerbread had some kind of mad romance, and after a few too many shots of rum, created a love child that turned out to be more cake than bread, bearing some family resemblance to a cake-like ancestor.  A lucky break for all involved; moist, melt-in-your-mouth scrumptiousness.

 You can taste the banana, but it's certainly not overly banana centric.  The first time I made this, The Husband had to guess a couple of times before he named banana as the main ingredient.  At the same time, the ginger isn't overly dominant either, which is surprising given that there is both fresh and dried ginger in the batter.  And then there's the rum.  I tripled the amount called for in the recipe because I just don't see the point of adding 1 tablespoon of rum and expecting it to have any influence on the outcome at all.  I mean, what's the point?  So I started with 3 tablespoons and may or may not have upped that to 1/4 cup in subsequent bakings.

The recipe comes to us via Joy the Baker, with a few liberties taken by yours truly.  The first being not trying to mix and bake this all in the same pan.  The beauty, no, the glory of this recipe is baking it in a cast iron pan, but I have no problem with dirtying a bowl or two in the process.  

But if you are somewhat allergic to dirty mixing bowls, you might want to give it a try.

The one thing I'm pondering for my next baking, which will perhaps be this weekend, is whether or not to add raisins.  For some reason, this cake seems to be quietly asking me to add them.  I might comply and see what we think.  It certainly doesn't need them.  We've sprinkled it with powder sugar and drizzled it with icing, we've eaten it plain and we've loved it every time.  Here's the recipe...

P.S.  Kitchen Renovations continue and I'm happy to report we're nearing the finish line.  Another week or so and I might have some photos for you!  Stay tuned!

Ginger Banana Cake

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

Cake or bread?  We say cake.  This is one beautifully moist and delicious cake that you'll be wanting to make over and over again.  It's perfect for breakfast, afternoon tea, snacking or whatever.

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed muscovado brown sugar (or dark brown sugar)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark rum (I used 3 tablespoons- or more)
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
heaping 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 

Instructions: 

Butter or spray a 9 or 10-inch cast iron pan and set aside.

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter and combine it with the brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time and then whisk in the vanilla and rum. Add the mashed bananas, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger and stir to combine well.

In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt and then stir that into the brown sugar mixture and mix well.  

Pour the batter into the prepared cast iron pan and then place in the oven and bake for 18-25 minutes until mixture is dry on top, but still slightly soft in the center. I like to slightly under-bake this cake.  (Mine took the full 25 minutes to cook)

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar  or drizzle with icing if you'd like, and enjoy warm.

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