Banana-Coconut Layer Cake
Don’t mistake this impressive layer cake for a modest banana bread. It’s a billowing, head-turning dessert covered in white swirls of coconut frosting. Roasting the bananas before mashing them into the batter for intensifies their flavor, while the toasted coconut adds sweetness and crunch. It’s best served the day it is made, but will keep, lightly covered and refrigerated, for up to two days.
- Serves: 12 persons
- Nonstick cooking spray, for pans
- 6ripe bananas, unpeeled
- 2 ½cups/213 grams shredded sweetened coconut
- 4cups/512 grams all-purpose flour
- 2teaspoons baking soda
- 1teaspoon kosher salt
- 1cup/201 grams granulated sugar
- ¾cup/150 grams light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1cup/227 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), melted
- 1cup sour cream or crème fraîche
- 1tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2teaspoons fresh lime juice
- ½cup unsweetened coconut cream (see Note)
- ½cup/114 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 1-inch cubes, softened
- 8ounces/1 cup/225 grams cream cheese, cut into 8 chunks and softened
- 1 ½cups/185 grams confectioners’ sugar
- 1teaspoon coconut extract, dark rum or vanilla
- Pinch of fine sea salt
Step 1Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray, and line bottoms with parchment paper.
Step 2Place unpeeled bananas on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until blackened and juices have begun to seep out, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool, then peel and set aside in a bowl. Discard peels, but add any pan juices to the bowl.
Step 3While bananas are roasting, spread coconut out on another rimmed baking sheet and toast in the same oven until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes, stirring once. Set aside and let cool.
Step 4In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Step 5In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix bananas (with juices) until mashed.
Step 6At low speed, add sugars and mix to combine. Mix in eggs, one at a time, then add butter, sour cream, vanilla extract, and lime juice. Mix in flour and 1 cup toasted coconut, mixing only until just combined. (Save remaining coconut for topping cake.)
Step 7Divide batter between prepared pans and bake, rotating halfway through, until top is golden and springs back, 40 to 55 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then unmold and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely.
Step 8To prepare frosting, open can of coconut cream and scoop 1/2 cup of the solid cream off the top into a measuring cup. Remaining cream can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Step 9In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter until soft and fluffy. Beat in softened cream cheese, one chunk at a time, until mixture is very smooth. Beat in coconut cream and sugar until smooth. Beat in extract and salt. If frosting seems too soft, refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes to help it set (not longer, or it may become too firm to spread).
Step 10Spread a little less than half the frosting over one cake layer and sprinkle with half the reserved toasted coconut. Top with second layer, spread remaining frosting on top, and sprinkle with remaining toasted coconut, leaving sides of cake bare.