I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Bananas Foster Pound Cake

Bananas Foster is a classic New Orleans dessert with a storied history, and is one of the many dishes from the Crescent City’s famed restaurants that have made its way around the world.  And Bananas Foster is an impressive dish to order at a restaurant, when done the old-school way.  An expert server rolls out a cart, heats the sugar for the caramel sauce, sautés the bananas and flames the alcohol.  All tableside, to oohs and aahs, and nowadays, snapping cameras and flashing phones.

But who does that at home?  That experience is best left to the experts, in my opinion.  It is one of those dishes you go to restaurants for.  But rich, rummy caramel and bananas are a great combination.  Though I will admit here that I prefer cakes or cookies made with bananas to actual bananas.  We all have our quirks.  And so I love this cake.  I mean love this cake.  It has a very pronounced fresh banana flavor, and the addition of the mashed fruit makes it incredibly moist.  The rum is just a background note, enhancing the flavor.  The caramel glaze is a boozed-up version of my classic cheat for caramel icing, but the pairing with banana and rum takes it to a whole new level.

This cake makes an amazing dessert for any meal, but for some reason really shouts brunch to me.  Maybe because that’s when I’ve enjoyed the real Bananas Foster at those New Orleans restaurants.  Trust me, whatever the occasion; you want to make this cake.

Bananas Foster Pound Cake

For the Cake:

1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter, softened

3 cups sugar

5 eggs

3 ripe bananas, mashed

4 Tablespoons dark rum, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

For the Glaze:

¼ cup butter

½ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed

¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 Tablespoons dark rum

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

For the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Grease a 10 – inch tube or Bundt pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter for a few minutes, then add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 – 7 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Stir 3 Tablespoons of the rum and vanilla extract into the mashed bananas, then beat the mix into the butter until combined.  Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together, then gradually beat into the batter until completely incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the pan.  Bake for 45- 50 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  If the cake starts to get too brown, cover it loosely with foil.

Leave the cake to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then carefully invert it onto a cooling rack set over a piece of foil or waxed paper (to catch drips from the glaze). Poke holes on top of the cake with a skewer, then dribble the remaining 1 Tablespoon rum over it, distributing it evenly.  The rum will soak right in.  Leave the cake to cool completely.

For the Glaze:

The cake must be completely cool, or the glaze will slide right off.

Cut the butter into cubes and place in a saucepan with the brown sugar, cream, rum and salt. After everything melts together, bring to a full, rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. When it reaches that boil, count to 60 Mississippi, then pull it off the heat. Leave the pan to cool for about 5 minutes, then vigorously beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.

Immediately pour the glaze over the cake, but do so slowly and evenly to cover as much surface as possible. Leave the glaze to set, then slice and enjoy. Covered tightly, this cake will last a few days.

Serves 10

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