Banana Rum Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

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Banana Rum Cake with Brown Butter Frosting ~ this simple banana snack cake with a sophisticated flavor is perfect for banana loving adults!

I’ve loved exploring The Joy the Baker Cookbook.  The lush photos, which are all done by Joy herself, get equal billing with the printed recipes, so the whole experience of perusing the book is a sensual delight.  So much so that it is really hard to decide what you want to make first.  You’ll need plenty of post-it flags handy for this one.

There are a bunch of things I particularly like about this book.  For one, it has a limited scope; Joy subtitles it “100 Simple and Comforting Recipes” and the book lives up to that.  The recipes she’s chosen to include all fall into that familiar, comforting realm, and none of them are uber-fancy or complicated.  You’ll find lots of chocolate, peanut butter, bacon and bananas…all the comfort food stand-bys.  But Joy earns her place on your kitchen shelf by infusing them with new life.  This is Betty Crocker meets Joan Jett.  There’s Apple Crisp, Brownies, Cream Pies and Bread Puddings, alongside Avocado Fries, Coffee Bacon and Seaweed Popcorn.

Although it’s a paperback, the book is thick, glossy and gorgeously tactile.  After a few uses it actually stays open on the counter.  It’s a small point, but I like the way the ingredients are laid out horizontally across the page—it makes it easier to take them all in at a glance and refer back as you cook.

But the only thing that really counts when it comes to a cookbook is the quality of the recipes.  I think our group has thoroughly vetted this book, between us we’ve made a good proportion of the recipes and the result has been a resounding thumbs up.  This would be a nice gift to give a young person who likes to bake and is just starting out; it’s got the hip factor, and yet it’s a solid reference tool as well.

Who else loves bananas??

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5 from 2 votes

Banana Rum Cake

Banana Rum Cake with Brown Butter Frosting ~ a simple banana snack cake with sophisticated flavor!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Yield 9 servings


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 21/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 cup mashed bananas, about 4 medium
  • 3 Tbsp rum
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

browned butter frosting

  • 3/4 cup salted butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp rum
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.  Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and brown sugar.  Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add mashed bananas and rum and blend for another minute, until thoroughly combined.  Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture.  Add the buttermilk and beat on low until the mixture just begins to come together.  Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until the mixture is almost entirely incorporated.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish blending the ingredients with a spatula.  Fold in the pecans.
  • Divide the batter between the cake pans.  Bake for 25-30 minutes on alternating racks, switching the cakes halfway through baking.  The baking time will vary depending on your pan size. When a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven.  Let cakes rest in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the Brown Butter Frosting: in a medium saucepan over medium heat melt butter until browned in color and nutty in fragrance.  Pour browned butter into a small bowl to cool.  The browned bits will add color and character to the frosting.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add powdered sugar, turn mixer on low, and add brown butter in a stream.  Increase speed to medium and add vanilla and rum.  Beat for 2 minutes.  Reduce speed to low, and slowly add cream.  Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth and creamy.  If the mixture is too thick, add a touch more cream.  If the mixture is too thin, add a touch more powdered sugar.  Spread between the layers and on top and sides of cake.


Recipe from The Joy the Baker Cookbook
Joy’s recipe is for a a two layer cake, but I halved it and baked it in a 9" square pan for my husband and me. 

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  • Reply
    September 10, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Hello. Sorry if you are receiving this question twice. Not sure if it went through the first time. To half the recipe you also used half the amount of baking soda and baking powder? Thanks!

    • Reply
      September 10, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      Hi Audrey – I halved everything, including the soda and baking powder!

      • Reply
        September 18, 2015 at 6:01 am

        Thank you!! One last question. Promise. Saw your recipe for banana cake with caramel frosting. Between the two is there one you prefer?

        • Reply
          March 4, 2020 at 11:07 am

          I’m partial to the caramel frosting 🙂

  • Reply
    September 10, 2015 at 2:34 am

    Hello. Did you cut all the ingredients in half including the baking soda and baking powder? I only ask bec I’ve heard it is sometimes difficult to cut baking recipes in half as some ingredients would remain same amount (or at least not vary in equal proportions ) regardless of changing amounts of other ingredients, so just wanted to confirm. Thank you!

    • Reply
      March 4, 2020 at 11:07 am

      Yes, I halved everything.

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    August 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Ive had my eye on this cake from the moment I got her cookbook – good to know it’s a keeper. I mean with rum two ways, how could it not be 🙂

  • Reply
    April 3, 2012 at 2:13 am

    nice idea.. thanks for sharing...

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    bananas and rum do a surprisingly tasty dance, and this looks like a winning cake!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    The cake looks and sounds delicious!!! I love all her recipe…It was nice to be part of this event with you!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    The cake looks and sounds delicious!!! I love all her recipe…It was nice to be part of this event with you!

  • Reply
    Rolling Pin Claire
    March 13, 2012 at 9:44 am

    5 stars
    Sue, I made this cake yesterday having read your review and salivated over the photos. Beautiful cake and so, so simple – thanks a mill!

  • Reply
    March 12, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I am thoroughly enjoying the Joy the Baker reviews. Everything I see and this luscious cook is included looks so tender and welcoming.

  • Reply
    Purabi Naha
    March 12, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Loved the recipe and the photograph!! You are so talented!

  • Reply
    March 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Betty Crocker meets Joan Jett – I totally get it! Yes, this book has a huge hip factor and I’m so happy to hear you loved it as much as I did.

    Also, I love that you halved this cake recipe. Hello! Why didn’t I think of that? It’s perfect way to sample all the cakes in Joy’s book;-)

    Your banana cake looks so wonderful.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    This looks so good…anything with brown butter in the title has to be good. YUM!

  • Reply
    Lea Ann (Highlands Ranch Foodie)
    March 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    What a great review! Much more insightful than I was able to write. I love the “Betty Crocker -Joan Jett” reference. Perfect analogy. I also agree about the gift for someone starting out with the hip factor. Spot on. I’m really glad that I got to know your blog through this event. Look forward all things that come out of your kitchen. I love banana cakes and breads, I will be trying this one.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Wow, it looks really good! I will have to make a cake today.

  • Reply
    A Plum By Any Other Name
    March 11, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I stood smiling in a book store the other day, thumbing through her recipes. This is another one that sounds too good (and fun!) to pass up …

  • Reply
    March 11, 2012 at 1:32 am

    Betty Crocker meets Joan Jett
    Absolutely great observation!

    Once again, another of Joy’s recipes that has an amazing texture. while I didn’t make this recipe, I can totally tell by your beautiful pictures.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2012 at 12:06 am

    betty crocker meets joan jett. not a nicer compliment has ever been uttered. great review and that cake looks jane jestson (out of this world)–too corny? 🙂
    it has been fun baking with you and i owe this little project a debt of thanks for steering me towards your blog..which i love!

  • Reply
    Inside a British Mum's Kitchen
    March 10, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Love this book! and love the look of your cake – so delicious – especially with those pecans!! YUM
    Mary x

  • Reply
    March 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    This cake and frosting look so fluffy and delicious. Great photos!

  • Reply
    March 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Betty Crocker meets Joan Jett – tee hee. Delicious review and thanks so much for being a part of this Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off, Sue 😀

  • Reply
    March 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    YUM! I did not need to see this first thing on a Saturday morning. I could happily spend the next hour baking now.