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The occasion was my grandfather’s 95th birthday and I wanted to make him a cake. I envisioned sweet vanilla layers sandwiching a rich, eggy pastry cream and rum soaked bananas and topped in pillows of whipped cream. Because I’m a “plan ahead” kind of gal, I made the cake and pastry cream the day before so I could assemble the cake a few hours before going to his house the next day… It’s when you’ve made your plan (that’s meant to make everything go smoother) that life throws a curve ball and you just have to go with it…. Banana Cream Rum Parfaits…
The next day, as I was assembling the cake, I ran into a few issues. First, I tried to split the cake layer in half, but my hand wasn’t steady enough to make a good clean cut and I ended up with wavy and uneven layers. Undaunted, because there’s a lot you can fix with pudding and frosting, I pressed forward.
I made a rum syrup to soak the layers of cake with… But the syrup was too thick and wouldn’t soak into the cake — it just kind of rested on top like a lazy cat that has no intention of doing what you tell it to do.
Then when I tried to move one of the layers, it literally cracked into three pieces — obliterated. I had less than an hour before I had to leave and I was in charge of the cake…
At this point I could have tossed it all in the trash, stopped at a bakery and picked up a professionally made confection, but among my many faults, is a dogged determination to MacGiver “a fix” for whatever needs fixing.
So I looked at the components for the cake and thought, trifle. I didn’t have enough ingredients for a single large trifle, but I knew I could make some fun individual ones.
So that’s what I did — layering pastry cream with cake, rum soaked banana and stabilized whipped cream – so it would hold up for more than the afternoon.
One star tip and pastry bag later — it was ready! Not quite what I was going for when I started, but more than satisfactory to my grandfather, who kept dipping his spoon into his dish for another taste.
Note: I’ve adjusted the amount of ingredients for the rum syrup, so you should have no problem with it soaking into the cake. LOL!
Though this started out as a very different recipe, the end result was really delicious! You can substitute other fruit for bananas if you prefer...
- 1 1/2 c cake flour or 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 c milk
- 1/3 c shortening
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 5 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons salted butter
- 1 tablespoon rum , golden
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup rum , golden
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2-3 bananas , cut into 1/2" pieces - OR -
- 2-3 cups fresh berries (if using strawberries, cut them into bite sized pieces) - OR -
- 2-3 cups fresh pineapple , cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1/2 cup golden rum
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9" round cake pan with vegetable spray. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the cake pan and press it into the pan. Spray the parchment paper again and set aside.
Measure all ingredients into large mixer bowl. Blend 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes high speed scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake 30-40 minutes or until top is golden and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on cooling rack.
In a small saucepan combine the milk & 1/2 cup sugar. Use a sharp knife to split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the milk mixture and heat over medium high heat until the milk is steaming, but not simmering or boiling. Remove the pan from the burner.
In a small bowl combine the egg yolks and remaining two tablespoons of the sugar, whisk for 1-2 minutes until well combined and slightly thick. Add the cornstarch and whisk until completely incorporated.
Whisking quickly and constantly (so the the eggs don't scramble) stream about 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture. When it's combined, whisk in the rest of the milk and pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to prevent scorching, until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and stir until well blended, then add the rum and stir to blend. Transfer the custard to a container and cover with plastic wrap -- pressing the wrap onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.
In a small saucepan, combine the rum and sugar and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Place the gelatin and water in a microwave safe bowl. Let stand for two minutes so the gelatin will bloom and become soft.
Microwave in 10 second intervals until all the gelatin granules are dissolved. Set aside to cool but not set. This is important.
Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, add the whipped cream to the mixer bowl and whisk at medium speed. After a minute, – slowly begin adding in the sugar. Once the cream has reached between soft and stiff peaks, add a tablespoon or two of whipped cream to the gelatin to equalize the temperature. Pour the gelatin mixture into the mixing bowl and continue to whip until the cream holds stiff peaks. Do not over beat.
Combine the fruit, sugar and rum in a medium bowl. Toss to coat and set aside.
Brush the cake with the rum syrup and let it soak in. Break apart the cake into small pieces.
Fill a pastry bag with a star tip with about half of the whipped cream and set aside.
In pretty individual 8-ounce glasses, layer a tablespoon or so of pastry cream followed by pieces of cake, a spoonful or two of fruit and dollop of whipped cream. Continue layering, until the glass is filled. To finish the parfait, pipe a little whipped cream on top and garnish with a piece of fruit.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Note: With stabilized whipped cream, the cream will stay set for 2-3 days, so you can make this dessert ahead of time without fear of the whipped cream breaking down.