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This Italian hangover cake is a tender cake topped with caramelized bananas and homemade rum sauce. The end result is impressive, but the process is totally easy!
This moist and tender Italian rum cake is topped with caramelized bananas soaked in a simple rum sauce. Best a day or two after it’s made, this cake is sweet and a bit boozy — which is pretty much an invitation to add a little whipped cream. Don’t you think?
Watch How to Make Italian Hangover Cake
Want to see how to make this rum cake step-by-step? Check out my video:
Why You’ll Love This Rum Cake
- Simple. Despite the impressive banana topping, this dessert is actually pretty simple to make. There are no complicated techniques or ingredients involved.
- Moist. The combination of vegetable oil and yogurt in the batter, plus the caramel that goes into the cake helps keep things nice and moist.
- Boozy. The hint of rum in this recipe rounds out the cake’s sweetness, making it the perfect morning bite after a night out.
- Perfect for adults. While the alcohol in it may not be ideal for children, consider it an adults-only treat that’s just for you. You deserve it!
Why is it Called a Hangover Cake?
Italian hangover cake was first made in DeFazzio’s Pizzeria in New York City, with its original recipe being inspired by classic Italian cakes and treats like ciambellone and panforte.
It consists of a dense, often citrusy cake that has hints of alcohol in its sweet glaze/syrup. Grand Marnier, amaretto, vodka, or rum are the most common types of alcohol used for the glaze, with a preference for Italian liqueurs. However, it can also be alcohol-free or come in different flavors.
It became known as a “hangover cake” because of the rum. The joke was that after a wild night out a slice of boozy cake may be just the thing the following morning.
With a little rum and some bananas, your flavors are pretty much set for this Italian hangover cake. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact ingredient amounts.
For the Caramel
- Brown sugar – Light or dark brown sugar both work.
- Unsalted butter – You can also use salted butter to make a salted caramel sauce.
- Rum – Use your favorite brand!
- Bananas – Use ripe bananas, or slightly over-ripened bananas for a stronger banana flavor.
For the Cake
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Kosher Salt
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Vegetable oil – You can also use corn, olive or canola oil for this. Don’t use melted butter because it will change the texture, especially if it’s chilly in your area.
- Yogurt – Plain unsweetened yogurt.
- Vanilla extract – Feel free to use almond extract instead, but reduce the amount by half.
How to Make an Italian Hangover Cake
All you need for this Italian hangover cake is a simple caramel, batter, and sliced bananas.
- Prepare the pan. Spray a bundt pan with oil and preheat the oven to 350°F. Non-stick baking spray is also perfect for this. If possible, don’t use butter to grease the pan because it’s more likely the cake will stick.
- Make the caramel. Add brown sugar and butter to a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk the mixture until the butter is fully melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the rum, and mix well. Don’t add the rum while the mixture is still in the heat, otherwise, the alcohol will evaporate right off.
- Whisk the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, mix flour with baking powder and salt.
- Mix the wet ingredients. In a separate large bowl, beat the butter with sugar for about 5 minutes until slightly pale and fluffy. Add eggs, oil, yogurt, and vanilla. Beat until just combined.
- Combine the mixtures. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Use a rubber spatula and mix until well incorporated.
- Add the bananas. Pour the caramel into the bottom of the prepared bundt pan. Arrange sliced bananas over the caramel layer.
- Bake it. Pour the batter over the bananas. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool for a couple of minutes before taking it out of the bundt pan.
Tips for Success
These tips will help you answer any what-ifs you may have about Italian hangover cake and save the recipe from disaster. Don’t skip them!
- Grease generously. Don’t be shy with the cooking spray or non-stick baking spray. The more generously you spray the bundt pan with it, the fewer chances you have of the cake sticking to the pan.
- Use the middle rack. Never bake cakes on the lowest or highest oven rack. This is where the temperatures are highest and lowest, respectively, negatively affecting the baking time. For best results, always bake on the middle rack.
- Don’t over-mix. If you over mix the batter it will become too dense. Mix just until everything is incorporated together.
- Make it kid-friendly. Remove the rum from this recipe and it instantly becomes kid-friendly for all your gatherings.
How to Store This Italian Rum Cake
This Italian hangover cake tastes best a day or two after it’s made because it has a chance to really absorb the caramel’s flavors. However, this cake should not be stored at room temperature.
- Fridge: Once fully cooled, you can slice it and place it in an airtight container or loosely cover it with foil. Then you need to refrigerate it. It will keep for 4-5 days. Make sure to keep it away from strong-smelling foods like onions to avoid the transfer of odors. When ready to enjoy it, leave it out at room temperature for 10-15 minutes so that the crumb has some time to relax and loosen up again.
- Freezer: To store it for longer, you can also freeze it. Slice the cake and then wrap each slice in plastic wrap twice. Then wrap them in aluminum foil. Transfer the wrapped slices to a freezer-friendly bag or container. Freeze them for up to 3 months. To thaw, place a wrapped slice on the counter for 20-30 minutes or until fully defrosted.
More Fun Cake Recipes
Italian Hangover Cake
For the caramel:
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons rum
- 2 bananas
For the cake:
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup yogurt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Prepare the oven. Spray a bundt pan with oil and preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Make the caramel. Add brown sugar and butter in a saucepan, and over medium-low heat, let it melt, constantly stirring with a whisk. Remove from the heat, add the rum, and mix well.
- Combine dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, mix flour with baking powder and salt.
- Mix wet ingredients. In a separate large bowl, beat the butter with sugar for about 5 minutes until fluffy. Add eggs, oil, yogurt, and vanilla. Beat for just until combined.
- Combine the wet and dry mixtures. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and using a rubber spatula, mix until well incorporated.
- Assemble the cake. Pour the caramel into the bottom of the prepared bundt pan. Arrange sliced bananas over the caramel layer.
- Bake it. Pour the batter over bananas and bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool for a couple of minutes before taking it out of the bundt pan.