Packed with bananas and a boozy caramel, this Italian hangover cake is full of warm, caramelized flavors to help you wake up after a night out. Hungover or not, you’ll love its moist, dense crumb with hints of rum in every bite.
Easy Italian Hangover Cake Recipe
With an easy rum-infused caramel, your future self will definitely thank you as you slice into this Italian hangover cake after a night out. Best a day or two after it’s made, the hint of booze in it is perfect to get you out of bed and keep the party going on a sweeter note.
Even if you’re not hungover, this Italian dessert is so good that you’ll always want to keep some in the fridge for when you’re craving something sweet. Fortunately, this recipe is practically fail-proof as long as you don’t over-mix the batter. On your table in less than an hour, this moist and tender cake will add some Italian flair to your day the moment you bite into it.
Topped with caramelized bananas, each slice is naturally sweet, boozy, and dense— which is pretty much an invitation to add a little whipped cream. Don’t you think? If you know you’re heading out this week and will need a pick-me-up treat once you return home, there’s no excuse not to make this Italian hangover cake.
Why You’ll Love Rum Cake
Here are some reasons why this Italian hangover cake will earn a place in your recipe tin:
- 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. Think of this cake as a type of self-care. 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.
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 – Feel free to use salted butter.
- 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 – Don’t use cake flour for this.
- Baking powder – Don’t substitute this for baking soda. They’re not the same thing.
- Salt – Only use kosher salt. If you use table salt your cake will be too salty.
- Unsalted butter – If you use salted butter, reduce the rest of the salt in the recipe.
- Granulated sugar – Light brown sugar is a good substitute. Don’t use powdered sugar.
- Eggs – Large eggs at room temperature are best.
- Vegetable oil – You can also use corn 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 is best for this.
- 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. Although you might want to reduce clean-up by mixing the wet and dry ingredients in the same bowl at the same time, don’t. You’ll over-mix the batter, resulting in a very rubbery and dense cake.
- Make it kid-friendly. Remove the rum from this recipe and it instantly becomes kid-friendly for all your gatherings.
- Add a spread. Make every bite extra yummy by spreading each slice with apricot jam, almond butter, or even adding a little whipped cream.
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 Italian Desserts to Try
- Vegan Tiramisu
- Italian Lemon Cake Recipe
- Cuccidati (Italian Fig Christmas Cookies)
- Italian Cream Cake
- Italian Pizzelle
Italian Hangover Cake
For the caramel:
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp rum
- +2 bananas
For the cake:
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ cup yogurt
- 1 tbsp 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.