Sail away with this Salty Sailor Cake. A browned butter banana cake is flavored with of rum, more butter, and cinnamon. A non grainy “mock” salted brown sugar frosting adorns this layered masterpiece!
The Salty Sailor Cake is the ultimate ode to the maritime sailor who docks into a Caribbean port. It highlights two very important Caribbean staples—rum and sugar.
This banana cake is a far cry from plain old banana bread. When it comes down to it, most banana cake is banana bread in a round cake pan. Yet this Salty Sailor Cake is actually a tender cake and not a dense wad of bread.
Most banana cakes call for mashing bananas until lumpy. What makes this cake distinct from other recipes, is the technique that preserves a tender and smooth texture. The Salty Sailor Cake calls for beating bananas in a stand mixer until it reaches a soupy, liquid consistency. Though that may sound gross, beating bananas makes for an even, more uniform cake crumb. Though I mix the wet ingredients in a stand mixer, I combine the wet and dry by hand. Hand incorporation ensures a lightly handled batter. Cake batters with bananas in them already have a dense texture. By hand mixing, you’re eliminating the possibility of a tough crumb.
The additions of cinnamon, browned butter, butter extract, and rum extract make for a cake with multilayered flavors that compliment one another.
This Salty Sailor Cake gets it’s namesake primarily from the frosting. Though I love brown sugar, it never translates into the palatable frosting. Those rich caramel notes and deep dextrinized flavors never come to fruition. Brown sugar caramel frosting, more often than not, turns out painfully sweet, gritty, and hardens with a thick crust. Here I got the flavors indicative of a salted caramel brown sugar with the velvety consistency of a rich buttercream. The secret is the odd additions of dark corn syrup and brown butter. Though there’s no caramelized sugar in sight, these two ingredients deliver the flavors of caramel. The dark corn syrup provides the color and floral sweetness while the brown butter provides the deep warm caramelized taste.
A sailing ship cake topper, Maldon sea salt, and chocolate sea shells give the cake a nautical sea-worthy appearance. This Salty Sailor Cake with make you cuss like a sailor and launch your journey into warm salty waters!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 4 medium bananas, very ripe
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, browned and cooled
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon butter extract
- ½ teaspoon rum extract
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 24 ounces (3 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (3 sticks, 12 ounces) unsalted butter, browned and cooled
- ¼ cup dark brown corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 ½ pounds powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup blue frosting
- Maldon sea salt
- Chocolate Sea Shells
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans with baking spray, set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, set aside. Put bananas the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and beat the bananas until they are completely smooth and liquid-like, about 30 seconds. Beat in eggs, browned butter, oil, extracts, and milk, mixing until combined, about 1 minute.
- Pour wet into dry and whisk by hand until combined and mostly lump free. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is combined.
- Divide batter evenly among pans, tap against counter, and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, rotating halfway. A toothpick inserted should come out mostly clean with a few moist, not wet, crumbs. Invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours, this will retain moisture.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and browned butter on medium-high speed until smooth and lump free, about 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add dark corn syrup, vanilla, powdered sugar, and salt. Raise speed to high and beat for 2 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Level off the cake layers with a serrated knife. Dollop a bit of frosting onto a cake board and secure the first layer. Apply an even layer of Salt Caramel Frosting, Repeat with the second layer and top with the third layer. Do a thin crumb coat, refrigerate for 15 minutes. Apply a thicker, final layer of frosting, smoothing with a bench scraper and refrigerating for another 15 minutes. Pipe small waves with the blue frosting. Garnish the Maldon sea salt and chocolate sea shells.