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I just can’t help it, I’ve got the Big Easy on my brain.  And if the past few weeks’ baking is any sign (which, um, is totally is), y’all have a lot of purple, green, and yellow sprinkles headed your way.

Mardi Gras reminds me of our honeymoon in New Orleans, and although it’s been one year, I’m still thinking about the food we ate while there.  I was so desperate to fit in all the food I wanted to eat, that I even ate Bananas Foster for breakfast one day.  I’m not proud of my decision, except I am.  I refer to eating copious amounts of regional cuisine as ‘research in my field’.  Or, ‘necessary fine tuning of my palate’.  But really, it’s an extended farewell to my skinny jeans {insert slow wave and rear-view mirror shot here}.

The New Orleans restaurant Brennans invented Bananas Foster in the 1950s.  The dessert consists of bananas cooked in a brown sugar, cinnamon butter sauce that is then flambéed table-side with banana liquor and rum just before serving.  It’s heavenly, even if you don’t like bananas.  Seriously.  I’m not the biggest fan of bananas, but when they’re cooked this way, they take on a slightly acidic flavor; it tastes like they were sprinkled with lemon juice.  They taste fresh, not mushy, though they definitely appear to be mushy.  To me, banana bread severely misses the mark on the flavor of baked bananas.  The flavor gets lost in the bread mix somewhere.  The pinnacle for a banana is to be cooked in brown sugar butter sauce.

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Bananas Foster is typically served over vanilla ice cream.  However, I spun the flavors into mini upside down cakes.  The cakes are submerged and crowned with a brown sugar rum butter sauce.  The cake is cinnamon and rum flavored.  The pecans are crunchy, and the banana, well, you know, the banana is at its apex of flavor potential.

In the bottom of a mini muffin pan, a teaspoon of the sauce is topped by a slice of banana and a sprinkling of toasted pecans.

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Then, two teaspoons of cake batter is dolloped on top.

The rest of the brown sugar butter sauce is warmed and poured on the  cakes after they come out of the oven.

Hubba hubba:

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Yield: 2

Bananas Foster Baby Cakes

Bananas Foster Baby Cakes
Yields: 10 mini cakes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 small banana, sliced into 1/2" slices
  • 1 tablespoon toasted, chopped pecans

For the cakes:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (or buttermilk)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark rum
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350, and spray 10 cups in a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. First, make the sauce: combine the butter and brown sugar in a small bowl. Microwave the mixture until the butter melts. Stir, and add the rum. Mix well. Add 1 teaspoon of the mixture to the bottom of the 10 mini muffin cups. Add a slice of banana on top of each, and sprinkle each cup with a bit of the pecans. Reserve the extra sauce for serving later.
  3. Make the cakes: in a medium bowl, add the melted butter, sugar and yogurt. Stir until combined. Whisk in the egg yolk, vanilla extract, and rum. Mix well.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add to the wet ingredients, and stir to combine. Dollop two-teaspoons of cake batter over each banana.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn the pan upside down on a plate. Gently tap until all the cakes fall out. Serve with extra sauce.