Banana Rum Coconut Layer Cake

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Preparation info

  • Makes one 9 inch 23 cm ) 2-layer cake, about


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker

By Nick Malgieri

Published 2008

  • About

Bananas make great cakes (and muffins, quick breads, tarts, and pie fillings). One thing about bananas, though, is they have to be ripe. Never use a banana for baking if it is not at least dotted with brown spots—or even darker—or your cake won’t have any banana flavor. And always mash bananas with a fork or potato masher—don’t throw them in the food processor—hand-mashed bananas impart a more vivid flavor to any batter or filling. I like whipped cream with this cake, but chocolate is also a natural with it, as well as fluffy egg-white icing. See the variations at the top of the recipe. If you like, sprinkle the layers with another tablespoon of rum when assembling the cake.


Banana Cake

  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons ( sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • cup granulated sugar
  • cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large or 3 smaller bananas)
  • cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum

Whipped Cream

  • cups heavy (whipping) cream
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 2⅔ cups (one 7-ounce/200-gram package) sweetened shredded coconut
  • Two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans, 2 inches (5 cm) deep, buttered and the bottoms lined with disks of parchment or buttered wax paper cut to fit


  1. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C).
  2. For the cake, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix well.
  3. Combine the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat with the paddle on medium speed until lightened in color and texture, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. In another bowl, stir the bananas, milk, and rum together until blended.
  6. Decrease the mixer speed to lowest and add ⅓ of the Hour mixture. Stop and scrape down the bowl and beater. Beat in half of the banana mixture.
  7. Repeat step 6, adding half the flour and the remaining banana mixture, then stop and scrape again. Beat in the remaining flour mixture.
  8. Stop and scrape the bowl and paddle. Increase the speed to medium and beat the batter continuously for 3 minutes.
  9. Divide the batter equally between the 2 prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake the layers until they are well risen and deep golden, and feel firm when pressed in the center with a fingertip, 25 to 30 minutes.
  10. Cool the layers in the pans on racks for 5 minutes, then unmold, turn right side up again, and cool completely on the racks.
  11. When you are ready to assemble the cake, whip the cream with the sugar and rum. Place one of the cake layers on a platter or cardboard and spread it with a little less than half the whipped cream. Invert the second layer onto the cream so that the smooth bottom of the layer is on top.
  12. Spread the remaining cream all over the outside of the cake and press the coconut against the side of the cake to adhere. Scatter more coconut over the top of the cake and use a spatula to gently sweep across the coconut to make it even.


Slide the cake to a platter and cut wedges at the table, using a sharp, thin-bladed knife.


Keep the cake refrigerated or the whipped cream might melt. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate leftovers.


Use the chocolate ganache from the Perfect Birthday Cake, the caramel whipped cream from the Whipped Cream Layer Cake, or the fluffy white icing from the Devil’s Food Cake, to fill and cover the cake. I would only use the coconut with the last of these—the chocolate and caramel fillings are best alone on the banana cake.