Banana Coconut Rum Cake

16-20 servings

1 cup butter
2 cups sifted sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons banana extract
3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
6 egg whites

2 cups butter
1  1/2 pounds (about 5.5 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons banana extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons orange juice concentrate
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup Myers's rum
1 banana, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted

To make the cake, in an electric mixer whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and extracts and blend well. In another bowl sift together the cake flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir 1/3 of this into the butter and sugar mixture. While stirring, add half of the milk. Continue stirring and add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the rest of the milk, then the last of the flour mixture. Mix well.
Whip the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold them into the cake mixture. Divide the mixture equally into three 9-inch cake pans that have been buttered and lightly floured. Bake at 350° until the cakes are firm, about 25-30 minutes. The cakes are done when a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.
Place the pans on cake racks and let stand for 10 minutes. Invert the pans onto the racks and tap the bottom to loosen the cakes. You may have to run a knife around the edges. Cool the layers completely, but don't let them dry out.
To make the banana cream icing, whip the butter in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar, extracts, orange juice concentrate, and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Keep in a cool place, but don't refrigerate.
When the cake is cool, place 1 layer on a cake plate. Prick the layer all over with a fork, sprinkle with 1/3 of the rum, then ice the layer. Cover the icing with thinly sliced bananas and sprinkle with shredded coconut that has been toasted to a nice golden brown. Repeat the operation for the second layer, and then the third, leaving the bananas off the top of the cake. Cover the entire cake with more toasted coconut.

Source: Secrets of a New Orleans Chef: Recipes from Tom Cowman's Cookbook
Copyright: Greg Cowman (University Press of Mississippi)

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