The cake that’s even tastier than it sounds…

I ended up with a bit of a banana surplus this weekend.  I’d bought a bunch of bananas with the intention of making banana mousse again, but then that didn’t end up happening and suddenly I had banana overload.  I could, of course, have just eaten them, but I seem to get bored of bananas on their own after just one, so that tactic didn’t really get me very far.  Mushing them up and freezing them was an other option, but I already seem to have more than enough frozen bananas and limited space in my freezer.  Clearly the solution was to bake with them, and I had the perfect recipe for using up a bunch of bananas plus some of the mashed up ones in my freezer…  I even managed to tie it in with my continuing hazelnut obsession.

That, my dear readers, is a banana, hazelnut and spiced rum upside-down cake and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it’s even more delicious than it sounds.  One of my labmates declared that it might well be the tastiest baked goods that I’ve ever taken in.  Needless to say, my labmates were terribly enthusiastic when the cake appeared on the table during our afternoon coffee break (it’s also a magic cake, clearly), and even more enthusiastic about demolishing it.  We got some rather jealous looks from people passing through the foyer when they spied the rapidly disappearing cake.

I don’t even know where to start with the praises of this cake.  It’s full of banana flavour (hardly surprising since there are seven in there), it’s wonderfully moist and isn’t nearly as heavy as it looks (thank you cornflour).  The toasted hazelnuts add a lovely crunch and go wonderfully with the banana and spices.  The rum adds to the flavours as well (although – confession – I couldn’t actually taste the alcohol in the rum, just the spiced flavour.  My labmates could though, which probably says more about me than the cake).  The caramelised topping is delicious, but by far the best bit is the topping near the edges of the cake which is all gooey and caramely and sticky and just plain scrumptious.  Sadly my photos just don’t do justice to this cake because I was in a bit of a rush when I took them (tut tut tut).

There’s a new blog challenge on the block (the virtual block.  Which totally doesn’t make any sense, does it?).  Janine at Cake of the Week has started Baking with Spirit, which involves cooking or baking with a different alcohol every month.  Now, at risk of sounding like a stereotypical student, I think this is a completely genius idea, mostly because I tend to bake with alcohol fairly often (although perhaps a little less now since some of my labmates seem to be responsible types and they eat most of my baking).  G&T scones feature on this blog.  Enough said (in fact, I’m a little surprised that I didn’t think of a similar blog challenge!).  So anyway, “rum” is the challenge alcohol for this month’s inaugural challenge, which ties in perfectly with today’s recipe since it uses spiced rum.

Since this cake is so utterly fantastic and really does deserve to be shouted about from the rooftops (because obviously there are a lot of rooftops in the blogosphere), I’m also submitting it to Javelin Warrior‘s Made with Love Mondays blog event, which is all about cooking or baking from scratch.  I’d say that a large proportion of my baking and cooking is “from scratch” so I’m not sure why I’ve never participated before.  Obviously this cake doesn’t fit at all with this week’s suggested theme of “fresh aubergine” but luckily the theme is totally optional.

Banana, hazelnut & spiced rum upside-down cake

Serves 8-10
Adapted from What We’re Eating

To toast the hazelnuts, spread them out on a baking tray, place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C and roast for 10 min, until they smell fragrant (be sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn).  Rub the hazelnuts in a clean tea towel to remove most of the skins, and allow to cool fully before using.  The four sliced bananas should be fresh, but for the three mashed up bananas, frozen ones will work perfectly fine (once thawed, obviously).  Tasty both eaten warm or cooled, and is delicious on its own, but also tasty served with crème fraîche and would probably be good with ice-cream if served warm.  The cake will keep for a couple of days, but is best eaten sooner rather than later.


For the caramel sauce:
85g unsalted butter
165g dark brown sugar
60 ml spiced rum
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
Pinch of salt

For the rest of the cake:
70g toasted hazelnuts
7 bananas
175g all-purpose flour
35g cornflour
2½ tsp baking powder
75 ml whole milk
60 ml spiced rum
165g light brown sugar
115g unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves


1.  Pre-heat the oven to 175°C/fan oven 155°C.  Set out a 24 cm non-stick round cake tin (a little tip: if you happen to have two tins of a similar diameter, pick the deeper one).  Line a baking tray that the cake tin will fit onto with tin foil, making little lips around the edges of the tray (this is to catch any caramel sauce that bubbles over the side of the cake tin).

Prepare the caramel sauce:
2.  Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.  Once melted, add the dark brown sugar and stir until dissolved.  Remove from the heat and stir in the rum (be warned, it will probably bubble a little violently) and add the spices and salt.  Pour into the prepared cake tin so that the caramel sauce coats the bottom evenly.

Prepare the rest of the cake:
3.  Roughly chop the toasted hazelnuts and sprinkle evenly over the caramel.  Cut four of the bananas in half lengthways and tessellate them in the pan in a single layer, flat side down (don’t worry if some of the bananas break since that makes them a little easier to tessellate).

4.  Mash the remaining three bananas and set aside.  Sift the flour, cornflour and baking powder into a medium bowl, stir together and set aside.  Mix the milk and rum together in a measuring jug or small bowl, set aside.

5.  Cream the butter and brown sugar together with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, making sure that each one is fully incorporated.  Whisk in the vanilla extract, spices and mashed bananas.

6.  Add about ⅓ of the flour mixture and beat in until just incorporated.  Scrape down the walls of the bowl using a spatula before adding ½ the milk mixture and beating until just incorporated.  Repeat by adding ⅓ of the flour mixture again, followed by the remaining milk mixture and the remaining flour mixture, beating until barely incorporated each time (be careful about over-beating the batter as it will result in a tougher cake).

7.  Gently pour the cake batter into the cake pan over the top of the bananas, making sure that the batter is evenly distributed.  Bake for 50-55 mins until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and sit the cake tin on a wire rack to cool for 15 mins before placing a serving plate over the top of the tin and inverting the cake out on to it.  The cake should come out easily, but if not, give it a gentle tap on the table whilst still holding it to the plate.  Gently lift the cake tin away and scrape any remaining caramel out of the bottom of the tin and onto the top of the cake with a spatula.



Filed under Recipes, Sweet Foods

23 responses to “The cake that’s even tastier than it sounds…

  1. This looks amazing! I love a good banana in a cake, and I bet the spiced rum adds a really interesting flavour. Thanks for entering my blog challenge, so pleased you’re a fan of it!

    • Mel

      Thanks! Spices go so well with bananas and hazelnuts, so the spiced rum combines perfectly with them. Looking forward to seeing the round-up at the end – rum is so wonderful for baking/cooking!

  2. Oh my god, that looks incredible…

  3. underthebluegumtree

    So cruel to post that on one of my 5:2 fast days! I jest. It looks AMAZING. Am adding to my pinterest “To make” board as I type.

  4. Well Madame Mel, I was so impressed by the timing of this post (I happened to have 4 bananas to spare in the restaurant) I thought it would be worth a whirl. Served it up today and had sveral customers who were having audible cake-gasms and since they were exclusively female, I now realise this was a recipe I could have used to considerable effect, during fallow periods in the girlie chase of my youth!! Who needs crass chat-up lines and expensive after shave, when you can offer sticky banana, rum and nutty wonderfulness!!
    Seriously Mel, absolute killer recipe. Used one of my bendy loaf tins and it just looked like one of those cakes you want to die in. Fancy this one will be a feature from now on and I’ve decided to try one with Kahlua and toasted walnut, simply out of curiosity.
    Now about your fee…


    • Mel

      I’m so glad that you tried it out and that it went down a storm (cake-gasm is an excellent description!)! I agree that this is definitely a cake to impress – judging my male labmates’ reactions to it, it would work wonderfully on guys, too. Perhaps I should bring cake with me next time I go out for drinks… because that wouldn’t be strange at all, haha.
      Oh Kahlúa and toasted walnut sounds delicious, do let me know how it turns out. I might have to make my way up to Auchterarder to try some (or a variation) the next time I’m in Scotland (whenever that may be!).

  5. Colin

    Haha. Ok Missy, you’ve cut yourself a deal. I’ll report back on Kahluaville, if you spill the beans on the success rate of your latest clubbing chat-up line, “so big boy, fancy some cake?” THAT’S a contest…

  6. Colin

    Never let anyone get in the way of a progressive experiment, Mel. Those girly pals could be in your debt for many years to come, when you’ve pulled a stunner. Go sister!!

    • Mel

      Haha, I’ll put a sign over the cake: Experiment in progress.

      • Colin

        Brilliant! and finally…during the ‘clubbing’ element, resist using the line,”I’ve got the spiced rum, if you’ve got the banana.” Could be misconstrued and guaranteed to get the male of the species, a criminal record…and I don’t mean ‘Best of the Spice Girls’…happy baking girl!!

      • Mel

        Hahaha, yes I think I’ll be avoiding that particular line…!

  7. What a wonderful way to use up a lot of bananas! I love banana bread so I’m sure I’d enjoy this spiced cake as well – it sounds delicious. Thank you so much for sharing with Made with Love Mondays and welcome to the series!

    • Mel

      Thank you – it’s about time I joined in since I generally tend to cook from scratch anyway! It’s a very banana-y cake, so if you’re a banana bread fan, I’m sure you’d love this too.

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  9. My mum used to fry bananas with brown sugar and rum so this cake is right up my street as I know those flavours are fab together!

    • Mel

      Oh I love sautéed bananas with rum! Or bananas flambéed with rum. I haven’t had either in forever, I should rectify that. The flavours do just work perfectly together.

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  12. wow, this sounds tremendous. I want to make it RIGHT NOW but only have a few bananas. Will bookmark for another time.

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