banana, coconut and rum cake

yumI have come to the realization that I’m a chronic over-purchaser of bananas. Every week, I bring home a bunch of golden, blemish-free beauties from the farmer’s market. I sample one before placing the rest into the fruit bowl; the flesh is creamy, white and gently sweet… perfectly ripe. I then forget that I purchased bananas, perhaps eating one during the course of the week before realizing that the rest have developed more freckles than my own face. They then move into the fridge, to the decelerate the ripening process, until I figure out what to bake with them.

bananamontDuring the course of writing this blog post, I came to a second realization. My husband never eats the bananas from the fruit bowl. I asked him why, curiously, as he definitely likes eating bananas. He answered, “Well, if I don’t eat them I know that they’ll turn into banana bread”. Ah, right. Yep, I am a creature of habit. Both in terms of over-purchasing bananas and then turning the eventual blackened bananas into a sweet quick bread. You can see some of my versions here and here; others not-yet-posted include a cinnamon banana bread with a thick, glossy Nutella ribbon and another with dried sour cherries and dark chocolate chips.

Yes, they’re all delicious and go from mixing bowl to oven in under 20 minutes. But… well, with my latest lot of overripe bananas, I wanted to do something more challenging. Enter the banana, coconut and rum cake with a thick, crunchy coconut and walnut crust.


The inspiration for this cake came from an archived blog post by Tracey at SugarPunk Desserts (a small one-woman baking business in North Carolina that sadly no longer exists). She in turn found the recipe she used in a book called Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor. As per usual, I couldn’t leave the recipe alone… and no, I didn’t quite keep to quantities.

I swapped a portion of the flour for protein-rich, dense and fragrant coconut flour just because I thought the flavour would match beautifully with the bananas, rum and nuts. I also swapped sour cream for organic coconut milk yoghurt from Co Yo (this stuff is amazing… Australian-made, creamy, rich and completely plant-based for you vegans out there!), butter for Nuttelex, reduced the sugar and egg content, and added shredded coconut to the crunchy nut topping. The result? Amazing.

yoghurtjug2I took this cake along to a boozy party at a friend’s house, where it was critiqued as an “…awesomely amped up banana cake. Yeah, it’s a banana cake on steroids!” (the booze might explain the colloquialisms. Possibly. Or not). Version two travelled to my office where slightly more subdued responses were gained, including “Holey moley Laura! So delicious” and  “…this is almost better than your chocolate truffle cake! But, uh… not quite. When are you bringing the truffle cake in again…?”.

cake crumbsSo, I guess we could say the slightly confused consensus is that this cake is good. Not as knock-out spectacular as the praline-topped chocolate truffle cake but amazingly good. Its dense crumb is moist and fragrant from the coconut flour, with sweet banana undertones and the warmth of rum. It’s christened with a rich, buttery rum-spiked glaze that soaks through into the soft cake, contrasting against the crunchy coconut and walnut crust (the original recipe called for pecans. I’ll forgive you if you revert back to Pecanland).

So, next time you have overripe bananas in your fruit bowl or fridge, I’d recommend that you take a little extra time to make this recipe. No, it’s not as simple as banana bread, but it’s a spectacular way to help those poor, neglected fruits die a worthy death. Trust me. You will win friends and conquer kingdoms. Or possibly not, but either way… you won’t care after your first slice.


Banana Coconut and Rum Cake

Adapted from Banana Rum Cake by SugarPunk

Makes one 22cm cake


  • 1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and crushed
  • 1/2 cup shredded or flaked coconut, toasted


  • 325g Nuttelex (substitute Earth Balance or unsalted butter)
  • 2 cups raw caster sugar
  • 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp dark rum (I used Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva, but I’d recommend Clasico)
  • 2 cups (250g) plain flour
  • 1 cup (125g) organic coconut flour (I used Eco organic coconut flour)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup organic coconut milk yoghurt (substitute natural yoghurt or sour cream)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees f). Position a rack to sit as a middle shelf. Grease and line a 22cm springform pan, ensuring that the base is firmly in place. Sprinkle your walnuts and toasted coconut evenly over the base of the pan, then set aside.

tinnutsmontIn a large bowl, beat together the Nuttelex (or butter) and sugars until pale and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in your mashed bananas, yoghurt, coconut flour, vanilla and rum, then mix well. Let the batter sit for 15 minutes so that the coconut flour can soak in the liquid ingredients (read notes, below). My batter was entirely fine, but if your mixture appears too dense or dry, add in an extra mashed banana or a couple of tablespoons of almond milk (or dairy milk).

vanillapourmontSift in your wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Fold together using a rubber spatula until no streaks of flour remain.

Carefully spoon your batter over the walnut and coconut layer in the pan, ensuring that the mixture doesn’t displace the nuts. Tap the pan lightly on the benchtop to even out the mixture and to ensure that the batter adheres to the coconut and walnuts.

sift bowlmontBake your cake for around 60-80 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. During this time, you can make your rum glaze (as follows; keep reading for directions on how to finish your cake).

rumcakemontRum Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup Nuttelex (substitute Earth Balance or unsalted butter)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum

Combine the Nuttelex, water and sugars (not the rum) in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low. Allow the mixture to simmer for around 1o minutes, or until reduced and syrupy. Add in the rum, then keep the mixture warm until you’re ready to use it.

sidecakeTo finish your cake:

Whilst still in the tin, use a wooden skewer to gently poke holes all over your cake. Pour over 1/4 cup of the warm rum glaze, and allow to soak into the holes. Leave the cake for 5 minutes before releasing the tin and inverting it onto a serving platter. The base of your cake (with its walnut and coconut crust) should now be the top. Carefully poke a few more holes in the surface of the cake and then slowly spoon over the rest of the glaze, allowing each spoonful to absorb (if the glaze starts to pool on the plate, scoop it up with a spoon or spatula and spread it over the sides of the cake). As the glaze hardens, the walnuts and coconut will form a crunchy, sugary, nutty crust.


Let the cake cool completely before serving, to prevent the interior collapsing (it’s a very moist, dense cake and it firms up upon cooling). It’s delicious served warm (blitz each piece in the microwave for a few seconds) with extra coconut milk yoghurt or ice-cream… or just on its own, for a mid-afternoon kick with a hot cup of tea.

It will stay moist, covered, for about 3 days in the fridge (though the crust will soften slightly). Freeze in an airtight container for up to two months.


  • Coconut flour is made from the dried, ground coconut meat that’s leftover after virgin coconut oil is extracted. It’s packed with fibre, protein and good fats whilst being gluten-free and wheat-free (perfect for coeliacs or those who are wheat intolerant).
  • I wouldn’t recommend swapping all of the grain-flour content in a recipe with coconut flour, as its baking properties are entirely different. A general rule is to swap 20-30% of the stated flour in a recipe for coconut flour and it’ll work out fine with the existing ingredients.
  • However, several articles on the internet also state that you can successfully substitute the entire flour content of a recipe for coconut flour. Bakers such as Sarah Rae Trover (at The Kitchn) have had success with a ratio of 1 egg for every ounce (30g) of coconut flour. The egg acts as a raising agent for the flour (which, in itself, contains no gluten) whilst the coconut flour will absorb the entire liquid contents of the egg. I’ve never tried this method so I can’t vouch for it, but the science makes sense. Other bloggers with egg sensitivities have had success substituting the eggs for ground chia or flax + water (‘chia eggs’ or ‘flax eggs’).
  • Don’t attempt to use coconut flour for an airy, light cake or cupcake recipe. It works best in recipes that are dense, moist and deliciously indulgent. You can also add a tablespoon or so to smoothies for a thick, subtly sweet protein and fibre boost.
  • After doing a bit of supplementary research for this recipe post, I’ve discovered that a lot of bloggers out there are actually making their own coconut milk yoghurt. As stated above, mine was shop-bought from Co Yo (lucky for me it’s an Australian company which keeps local prices down slightly… it’s delicious) but if you’re interested in making your own, check out these posts from The Mindful Foodie, London Paleo Kitchen and Cultures for Health. Big yay for making our own ‘cultured’ products at home… my next batch will definitely be home-made!

97 responses

    • Aw, wish I could send you a piece Fi! It’s definitely delicious. Probably one of the yummiest cakes I’ve made (plus, I just love booze. I admit it. Any cake with booze in it goes up in the approval ratings by 30%!). P.S what happened to the worm?!!! Wah, he’s gone!

      • I agree! And so do the French, that’s why so much French food seems to contain wine or cognac or even vodka. I once had an idea to open a restaurant that only made dishes containing booze, I think it could work!

      • Haha, I think I need to make more French food!! And YES. If you opened that restaurant I would be there in a second. Even if it’s in London or France. In fact, can I be your kitchenhand? I have a European passport!! ;)

    • Haha, thanks for the lovely comment Paula! I definitely agree… compulsive banana buying isn’t so bad when you can make beautiful treats with the overripe ones! I was quite happy with this cake. I actually have a few more overripe bananas in the fridge now (they were staring at me, freckled and fragrant, whilst I wrote this post) so I might just bake another one! xx

    • Haha, yay… compulsive banana buyers unite!! It’s definitely a beautiful cake. Next time you have too many overripe bananas, definitely give it a go! Thanks for finding my blog… it was a pleasure to visit yours. Happy to have another blogging friend! xx

    • Oh definitely e! It’s a worthy contender for my favourite banana baked treat. Though, in saying that, your hummingbird cake is absolutely divine. I wanted to eat the whole thing on the Bad Santa night (and it was sitting on the table right in front of me! Yay for self control, I need a pat on the back!) xxx

  1. I don’t think you can ever have too many banana cake recipes. Coconut and rum sound like a great combination for bananas, and I particularly like the idea of cherry and dark chocolate (two of my favourite things!).

    • Oh, the cherry and chocolate version was so delicious! It’s actually just as good as this cake (well, almost) because the ingredients work so beautifully together (I’ll post it up here one day). I think that bananas are such a wonderful gift to bakers. They’re so versatile. I want to try banana and ricotta hotcakes with maple syrup next! :) xx

  2. You have to stop doing this to me. I will need a new keyboard soon enough as I keep drooling when reading your amazing recipes! And I love that you “mess” with recipes just as much as me and measuring quantities is overrated! :)

    • Haha, Andrea you make me laugh! Yep, I’m a messy baking sister just like you… I like to think of us as creative souls who can’t be restrained by mere recipes! Measuring is definitely overrated :) I do love this cake though. It’s so delicious. I had two slices and needed to stop myself eating more (it’s healthy, right? Bananas and coconut… yoghurt… yep. It should qualify as a breakfast food!) xx

  3. This sounds fantastic, I have everything but bananas …. looks like I am going to have to go buy a new crate or two ;)

    • Ah, wish that you lived closer! My compulsive over-buying has left another four speckled friends sitting on the top shelf of my fridge! it’s definitely a delicious cake, and easily transformed into a vegan version. It’s probably one of the most vege friendly cakes I’ve made actually (I have several vegan friends who are gradually converting me. Except the bacon. Always need bacon). Thanks for the comment! x

  4. What a fab post. Love the fact I’m learning about baking, and there’s a lot to learn. I’m hoping to bake my version of banana bread during the week. It’s going to be very plain compared to this scrumptious sounding cake!

    • Thanks Johnny… haha, well you can definitely teach me tons about the art of bread baking (something that I haven’t mastered as yet. It’s the yeast that never seems to cooperate!). I metaphorically drool every time I see your photos of homemade bread slathered with butter! Can’t wait to see your version of banana bread. I’m sure it’ll be delicious and not at all plain!

  5. Bananas, walnuts, rum… this cake sounds amazing! I only really ever think to use bananas in a boring ol’ banana bread. Now I definitely need to give this cake a try. It’s anything but boring!

    • Hi Kate! haha… yep I was pretty much the same, as banana bread is so easy and delicious. I’ll still make banana bread at a pinch, but this cake is an infinitely more special way to use up the spotted friends in the fruit bowl ;) Hope you’ll give it a go. It’s delicious. And yep, no boring bits! x

  6. Ok Laura, I have ten out of the fifteen ingredients I need to make this. I do possess the most important ingredient…3 very ripe bananas. Tomorrow I am going to pick up the remaining 5 ingredients and make this cake. Lately I keep thinking I need to “treat” my guys to something baked… and here it is. Thank you.

    • I do hope it works out well for you! It’s definitely a delicious cake… reasonably easy to bake and a worthy end for overripe bananas! It’s also a guy-friendly treat… my husband and male friends were raving about it, particularly due to the crunchy topping and the rum. Hopefully the men in your household will feel the same!! (oh, and no bother if you don’t have coconut flour, just add in all purpose flour, around 3/4 cup?). Good luck… and thanks so much for being a blogging friend! xx

      • Haha, I just picked up some coconut flour in the store last week and I wanted to use it! It added a beautiful element of moisture and a mild coconutty flavour to the cake batter but I don’t think the cake would miss it at all. It’s got plenty enough flavour and moisture from the bananas and syrup :) See what you think when you get to the store!

  7. This cake is a must make, but I don’t have coconut flour. I will try to look for it first, otherwise I have all the other ingredients. I shall let you know how it turned out, If I do get coconut flour. How different is this from desiccated coconut?

    • Coconut flour is similar to dessicated coconut, but it’s a lot drier and very finely ground (consistency of grain flour but lighter and more ‘clumpy’). You could try and replace the coconut flour with dessicated coconut, but I haven’t done it myself so I’m not sure how it would affect the cake from a texture/consistency point of view. I imagine that it would add extra moisture so you wouldn’t need to soak it with the liquid ingredients. It would most likely be extra dense). If you can’t find coconut flour, just use an additional 3/4 cup all purpose flour along with the other ingredients. It’ll turn out just as lovely, and the coconut flavour will still shine through from the topping and the coconut yoghurt, if you decide to use it. Would love to hear how you go! x

      • Thanks will let you know how it turns out. I want to try it with coconut flour. Thanks and have a wonderful week!

    • Thanks for the comment Miss K! If your boyfriend loves bananas, he’ll definitely adore this cake! Make sure you don’t skimp on the rum as it adds a beautiful extra ‘kick’ to the cake (if you like boozy desserts, that is!). Would love to hear how you go! x

    • Aw yay, it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one Rosie :) Haha… you know what? I have two overripe bananas in the fridge and I bought about five new shiny ones at the market garden last night. I never learn! Good thing the weather is cooling down (hopefully they’ll ripen nice and slowly!). The cake is really good, such a delicious combination of flavours. With the crunchy textural element it’s well worth the little bit of extra time to make. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! xx

    • Whit my dear! Haha, when I read this comment earlier today I was thinking, ‘uh, the one with 3?’. But now I am about two hours older and wiser, I’ve read your post and I am very grateful for the lovely Bouquet of Three (not sure that I’m deserving but I appreciate it hugely!). Sending you hugs my friend! Congrats on your awards also!! xx

  8. Oh my does that cake look good. So moist I would like a piece right now. Good that you gave the options to use earth balance or butter I have to look up nuttelex, I never heard of it before but am guessing it may be a nut butter. This cake would be good anytime of day, breakfast or dessert. Love it!

    • Thanks lovely. Yep, I reckon with the nuts, protein packed coconut and bananas it qualifies as breakfast food :)

      I’ve included the link for Nuttelex in the text; it’s very similar to Earth Balance original spread as it’s a butter/margarine alternative that’s made from 100% seed oils. It’s dairy, milk, nut, lactose and egg-free so it’s pretty popular with vegans or those with allergies over here in Australia (we can’t buy Earth Balance in Australia). It tastes good, it’s cholesterol free and has only good fats. Here’s a nutritional info link. Hope that you give the recipe a go. It’s pretty foolproof and delicious! xx

    • Aww, thanks Lizzy dear! Haha, you can tell I like cake. Partly due to the superfluity of delicious cake-making ingredients in my kitchen (accidental, of course!). Thanks so much for the lovely comment! xx

  9. Yum! I had recently banished my giant bag of coconut flour to the back of the pantry after an unfortunate pancake incident but this has inspired me to resurrect it! Looks incredible xx

    • Sam, definitely resurrect the coconut flour for this cake… it’ll prove its worth and then some!! Sorry to hear about the pancake incident. Sad face. This flour can be temperamental to deal with so I can understand how it could have gone wrong. Let me know if you need any other tips… though I’m sure with your baking experience you’ll end up with a perfectly beautiful cake!! Thanks so much for commenting lovely xx

  10. How amazing does this sound? I fear, though, that we won’t be able to get CoYo here in the states, but I am not sure. I will have to check. For lactose intolerant or vegan folks, this is brilliant! I might have to make this with sour cream, though, because I don’t think I can wait to find the CoYo! My partner detests banana bread (another of his personality defects) but he loves coconut and rum, and would probably love the banana, too.

    • I’ve tried this recipe with pure butter & sour cream now, and it’s… hm… even better (yikes, I admit it! I’m a butter addict!). I do love the Co Yo but I’m not really intolerant to anything, so sour cream and regular Greek yoghurt feature more highly on my purchase list. The non-dairy modifications worked well in this cake but you definitely won’t sacrifice flavour or texture if you use the dairy ingredients. And… Mark! I can’t believe that he detests both chocolate AND banana bread!! That boy is lucky you accommodate him ;) But, in saying that, if any banana cake can win over a non-banana-bread fan, it’s this one! I’d suggest amping up the rum element in the cake batter itself to balance the banana flavour, possibly by 1 tbsp. As my bananas were really ripe, they were definitely still a dominant flavour in the cake once it was baked. My husband loves rum too. He loved this cake!

      • He is lucky, isn’t he? :) Still, he eats almost anything else I put in front of him, no matter what part of the animal it comes from, or how weird it sounds. He will be getting this cake, though, and I am pretty sure he will like it!

      • Haha… well that’s good. I’m glad he’s adventurous enough to try ‘strange’ things… as if it’s been cooked by you, I’m sure it’d be delicious! Good luck with the cake when you try it. Hopefully it’ll win him over! :)

  11. Laura, this is such a great creation. I love the use of coconut flour in this recipe. It must have add so much flavour to the taste. Lovely post my friend.

    • Thanks so much Danny. I’m starting to love coconut flour! It’s not the easiest of flours to work with (from all of the blogger experiences I’ve read) but it’s deliciously moist, tender and fragrant in baked goods. I’m hoping to make banana coconut pancakes with it next! :)

      • The pancake idea sounds really great! I can already imagine how the different flavours can compliment each other to create magic. How about a chocolate sauce to go with it? Just another of my wild idea. :-)

      • Aw yum… that sounds amazing Danny! Definitely stealing that inspiration (you can’t go wrong with chocolate!) and will let you know once I’ve tried it!! :)

    • Haha… yup! I seriously wish I could get some of that Fireside Chat here though. I’ve been quietly desperate to try your version of banana bread since you posted it. Beer frosting = genius. Plus, they put cocoa nibs in their beer! But… sadly they don’t export to convict country aka Australia (it’s getting freaking cold here so spiced ale sounds perfect for a night wrapped in blankets on the couch. Sad face)

  12. I don’t know why I still haven’t played with coconut flour, I’ve certainly talked about it often enough just not actually put anything into action. I have played with these flavours in a banana cake before though and they went down very smoothly (perhaps a little too smoothly!) so I should give it a go again, this time using the coconut flour.

    • Haha… yep the flavours are definitely a natural match. The coconut flour isn’t really ‘necessary’ in this cake but it adds an extra element of moisture and a beautiful, smooth, subtly sweet coconut flavour that’s distinct from additions of dessicated or shredded coconut. I’d definitely encourage you to give coconut flour a go though, in this cake or otherwise. I’ve started to love it… even added into smoothies in the morning (for added protein and fibre… it blends to beautiful thickness with a mild coconut flavour). After doing a bit of reading around the blogosphere I can see that various people have had problems with its absorbent quality and ‘powdery-ness’ in baked goods but so far, I’ve found that soaking it in the liquid ingredients (and knowing the correct consistency of the batter you want) works perfectly. With your baking experience I am certain you’ll have no problems! xx

  13. This cake sounds/looks fabulous! Love the addition of rum ;) I very much enjoyed reading about your realizations…I always think about buying bananas but don’t buy them as often as you! Kind of wish I did though so I could have an excuse to make yummy bread…when I buy them I use them up in my morning smoothies. Maybe next trip to the store I will buy more than I need!! he he :D

      • Lily Sue!!! Hello lovely! Haha, I’d happily ‘gift’ some of my superfluous overripe bananas to you if you lived closer. They’re always present in my house! Thankfully, with winter weather on the way they’re not ripening quite as quickly now (though as you say, an excuse to make banana bread definitely isn’t bad!).
        Oh, and coconut? Yum. I agree, it’s delicious in every form! And this was only the second time I tried coconut yoghurt… so delicious! xx

    • Thanks Pamela! Yep, I definitely agree that you can’t go wrong with banana and coconut :) It ended up being a really lovely cake… I adore textural variances and the crunchy, nutty topping contrasted beautifully with the soft, moist cake. Mmmm, I want to make another one! Definitely give it a go if you have time xx

    • Hi Nicole!! Thanks so much for the comment and for helping me to find your lovely blog also! You’re gorgeous, inside and out. And yep, this cake is delicious! Pretty fun to make, too, if you like baking :)

    • Aw, Jeannee!! You are way too kind!! I am such a novice when it comes to food styling and photography… I just use my eyes and hope that the bit of creativity I have will pay off. Thanks for your kind words of encouragement. Sending you a hug xx

    • Haha, you must be a much more restrained shopper Lisa! It’s definitely useful to have extra bananas, though I do get frustrated with myself for not eating them fresh :) I freeze some of them, peeled, for smoothies and to use in cakes (just defrost and mash, has worked fine for me so far!). And yes, coconut and rum truly accentuate moist banana cake in the very best of ways! x

    • Aw, thanks lovely! I appreciate the feedback very much! Re the Pinterest option – hm, I didn’t really think about adding a ‘pin it’ option to my blog at all. I’m not even sure how but I’ll look into it! I do have ‘pin it’ on my personal task bar in Firefox though. That’s commonly how I ‘pin’ other people’s photos etc. whether they have a ‘pin it’ option or not. I’ve neglected Pinterest so much recently, but I do have my own profile: Laura Campbell. It’s just under my name and linked to my blog URL if you want to add me! xx

  14. Wow…this looks like a seriously good cake! The flavours sound amazing and it looks great. I might just have to give it a go next time I need to use up some bananas! Happy blogiversary too :-)

    • Thanks so much Laura! It’s definitely delicious. Takes a bit more time than regular banana bread but I do think the results make it worth it! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m a big fan of your baking skills (and always nice to ‘meet’ other Lauras who love cooking as much as I do!) x

  15. OMG this cake looks incredible, Laura! It’s got everything: the crunch from the walnuts, the chew from the coconut, that amazing banana flavour and of course, booze. Thank the Lord for booze. I have everything in my kitchen except the coconut flour. My goal in life is now to buy coconut flour asap.

    • Haha, you can tell that I love the combination of rum and coconut just as much as you lovely! Boozy cakes, brownies and slices are the best :) Coconut flour is great. It works well to give a delicate coconut flavour throughout the batter whilst also retaining a lot of moisture. I’m loving it in cakes at the moment. Yum! xx

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