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« Vanilla Bean Cardamom Peach Pie | Main | Cucumber & Zucchini Cream Cheese Slices »

Banana Rum Bread

Banana Rum Bread

Like the ebb and flow of the ocean tides, inspiration seems to come and go with a steady rhythm. Some days it rides in on a large wave, electric and exciting as it washes over me. Eventually the inspiration is called back into the sea and I desperately grasp at the departing water, trying futilely to hold onto the last remains as it slides easily between my fingertips.

With the last burst of warmth before fall surrounding me, I've been feeling inspired by everything from the color of ripe peaches to the golden light before the sun sets.

Banana Rum Bread

This time the inspiration for this recipe unexpectedly stood out between a set of paragraphs—"Today I learned how to bake mean banana bread. The secret apparently is half a cup of dark rum." The baker in me, interest piqued, wondered if it could be true. Was this the secret to baking up a remarkable banana bread? With such a bold claim written in front of me, a secret ingredient exposed, the impulse to discover the truth propelled me forward.

The bananas were purchased. They rested on the counter until speckled and brown. The batter was mixed, the rum was added, and when the loaf emerged from the oven, hot and steamy, I didn't wait until it cooled to take a bite.

Puzzled, I took another taste. The rum, it seemed, was nowhere to be found.

Banana Rum Bread

In my sheer desire to taste the barest hint of rum, a third of the loaf disappeared in front of my searching eyes. Defeated, I divided up the rest to share with friends, hoping they could taste something I couldn't. Even so, the consensus was clear—though it was a good loaf of bread, it just didn't live up to my rum-infused expectations. I allowed myself to drift into other projects, forgetting about the loaf of bread. The banana bread, however, wasn't finished with me.

Out of the blue, my friend informed me that a couple of days later the banana bread had mysteriously changed in the night. It seemed the rum flavor missing on that crucial first day had finally come out to play. In disbelief, I rushed to the store to buy another set of bananas and the cycle repeated once more. With my patience tested, I waited the right amount of time for the rum to emerge before I took a bite. As promised, it was there, subtle and sneaky.

Inspiration, ever mysterious, likes to keep me on my toes, reminding me I can't always find it when I'm looking for it. Unpredictable, it can be found equally in a few words in a novel full of sentences or in the virtues of a friend who can hold out on a loaf of banana bread longer than myself.

Banana Rum Bread

Banana Rum Bread is a boozy twist on the traditional loaf of banana bread. Like a fine wine, the longer the banana bread rests on the counter top (or sits in the refrigerator), the stronger the rum flavor will develop. The first day the rum flavor is completely absent, but the subtle flavor slowly creeps in the following days, resulting in tingling tongues and happy taste buds. The banana bread batter is a very basic recipe so you could certainly throw in a pinch of cinnamon or a handful of chocolate chips if you desire, but the real star is the half a cup of dark rum.

Note: All of the rum does not bake out of the bread, so this is not an appropriate recipe to share with children.

One Year Ago: Rocky Road Cookies with Almonds & White Chocolate Chips
Two Years Ago: Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

Banana Rum Bread

Yield 9 x 5-inch loaf

1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) butter
3/4 cup (150 grams) brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (118 ml) dark rum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions. Beat in the vanilla extract and mashed bananas until fully incorporated. Mix in the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the rum.

Transfer batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool loaf in pan for 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Reader Comments (23)

I'm Loving (yes, capital L) your first picture.
The color of the bread and the wooden background compliment each other perfectly!
Funny how the taste only appears after a few days. Good thing you shared some of the loaf otherwise you would've never known :)
08.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
I love when things happen like this! How flavors can marry and meld just by being patient, amazing. I'm going to need to try this one out! Thank you so much!
The alcohol is gone. It evaporates at 120 F. The FLAVOR remains! Children can have this with no adverse affects.
Good Food Not Much Time-- The alcohol does not all bake out of the bread. In fact, when cooking with alcohol (such as wine), up to 50% of the alcohol remains because the conditions are not ideal for the alcohol to evaporate or boil off. With baking the conditions are even less ideal (the alcohol has a lot of batter to go through in order to evaporate out of the bread), meaning that more than 50% of the alcohol is left in the bread.
08.29.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Gorgeous photography and I am loving the sound of this bread recipe. If only the husband would like the fruit - banana !
08.29.2012 | Unregistered Commenterkankana
You have a new follower... I love Pastry Affair!
08.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEileen
Thank goodness for your friend or this valuable discovery would have been lost! What a wonderful story. And...I just love the beautiful.
08.30.2012 | Unregistered Commenterthyme (sarah)
I love the idea of something that develops the longer you leave it - fascinating to try it as flavours become richer but also a good reason not to eat the whole thing at once! Bananas and rum is such a classic combination, I can imagine this is utterly delicious.
08.30.2012 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf
Because the flavor of the rum comes back, did you have a recommendation for a particular brand and/or type of rum? I'm a novice when it comes to baking, and most my knowledge with rum involves the spiced stuff. Anyways, this seems like good grad school bread and looks hard to screw up so I may give this a fair shot.
08.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris
Love the idea of adding rum! This is lovely :)
This sounds yummy! Maybe I will make some soon - it seems so appropriate with fall coming. Thanks for the story and cozy photos.
08.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterErica
Chris-- I don't have any specific recommendations for it. I used Bacardi Gold, but any dark rum will really suffice. Use the brand you most enjoy and it'll turn out just right.
08.31.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I love how flavors magically appear in foods after the initial baking. That's how it was with these orange chocolate chip cookies I made once. I baked a batch the first day and froze the rest of the dough. The first batch didn't have as much orange flavor as I would have liked, but then just after a day in the freezer the cookie magically became an /orange/ chocolate chip cookie. The flavor grew more and more each day. It was incredible.

I love the look of this banana loaf. :)
Fair enough - I mostly asked because dark rum isn't really my bag. More of a spiced rum kind of guy. May even try that instead - Sailor Jerry hasn't let me down yet.
09.1.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris
Is it ok to use 2 cups of all purpose flour if I don't have whole wheat flour on hand?
09.6.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJynette
Jynette-- It's perfectly okay to use 2 cups of all purpose flour.
09.6.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Bacardi Gold is not actually dark rum it is the same as Bacardi Superior (white) with caramel color added. Dark rum has a deeper more pronounced flavor profile from barrel aging and is a little thicker in consistency. I recommend trying this recipe with Meyer's Jamaican Dark Rum and then you don't even need the vanilla extract.
10.1.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeann
Kristin, i did it!! i just baked the rum-banana-bread. IT IS _SO_ DRAMATICALLY DELICIOUS!! thank you for sharing this. two weeks ago i got infected with deep sympathy for banana bread, as i first tasted it in a small café in Berlin (they served it contact-grilled, with a thin slice of butter and freshly grinded sea-salt.) back home, i bought a bunch of bananas, highly motivated to bake my own. but then i spent days and days searching for a recipie. i could not descide.. there were so many, but nothing special, nothing i considered to be the right for my first try. the bananas got browner and browner in my kitchen... and then, finally, i found yours!
instead of three bananas, i used six and streched the recipie. i surely will have enough to discover the full taste of rum in the following days.
my kitchen smells phantastic and my heart and brain and stomache is filled with happy banana feelings.
greetings from Vienna!
10.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJay Ipunkt
baking this one today :)
i really love the fact that you put the grams measures in your recipe! <3
(from italy)
10.25.2012 | Unregistered Commenterirene
Hey, how long should I bake it for If I plan on doing muffins? Same Temperature? Would you suggest chocolate(dark or milk?)
Looks Fantastic though!
08.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterClover
Clover-- Same temp, around 18-22 minutes to bake. I'd suggest using the chocolate you love the best!
08.10.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Hummm, what can be used to replace the rum, what other liquid should be used instead of alcohol? Can it be done not using anything or can the rum be replaced with water or soy milk instead?
11.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaty
While searching for an alternative to the usual uses for overripe bananas, I came across your rum variation. My husband loves rum raisin everything, so I knew this bread would be a nice change. He loved it! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. :)
04.7.2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

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