Tag Archives: Banana Cake

Banana Coconut Cream Cake

When I was growing up, our family’s favourite dessert was Sara Lee Banana Cake. We never even bothered defrosting it. Just ate it straight from the freezer. Someone, not mentioning any names here, would even pick off the frozen cream cheese frosting and leave the cake bare naked and shivering in the freezer. I have since graduated to homemade banana bread and cake, but I never could quite get the texture to be the same as Sara Lee.

My favourite dessert as an adult is Coconut Cream Pie. Not just any coconut cream pie. The very best is in Toronto, at Sacaramouche Restaurant. I got this idea in my head of doing a mashup of these two desserts. I’d fill three layers of banana cake with coconut cream pie filling and then smother the whole thing in cream cheese frosting.

The first time I attempted this concoction, the cake batter curdled in the oven. I’m not quite sure what happened. It ended up in the garbage. The second attempt resulted in cake layers that were too soft and fell apart when I tried to stack them. It tasted good but looked like crap. And then I remembered this banana cake and tried again.

This is now my new favourite dessert. The banana cake is moist, but dense enough to handle the weight of the silky coconut cream pie filling. The tangy cream cheese frosting balances all the sweetness from the cake and filling. It’s perfection.

Start with the coconut cream pie filling, as it needs to chill in the fridge for several hours. You could even make this a day or two in advance. Basically you are making a coconut custard.
As long as you remember to temper the egg yolks, all will turn out perfectly. This involves pouring a little bit of the hot milk-coconut milk mixture into the egg yolk-sugar mixture, before putting it back on the stove to thicken.
Make sure your bananas are very ripe before mashing.
I baked the cake in three 6-inch pans for a tall majestic cake. You could also bake it in three 8-inch pans for a shorter but equally delicious cake.
Assembly of the cake is where you need to take some care. This cake is very much like a teenager. You need to set boundaries or she will run amuck! Before spreading the coconut cream pie filling on the layer, pipe a border of cream cheese frosting. This will contain the filling and prevent it from oozing out of the side of your cake.


Click here to print recipe for Banana Coconut Cream Cake.



Banana Fudge Chocolate Cake

Cake with unlit candlesWe’re not into big, full-on birthday celebrations in our house. We’re just not the partying kind of family. 4/5 of us fall squarely into introvert territory. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as I have recently learned from a wonderful book called The Introvert Advantage.

So while we do celebrate our birthdays without much fanfare, the one thing I do insist on is a homemade birthday cake. Even if I do have to bake my own cake. Everyone in our family has their favourites. My oldest son and husband always request Almond Berry Shortbread Cake, my youngest son will accept anything with chocolate, see here, here, here, and here.

My daughter usually requests Carrot Cake with Lemon Curd Filling. However, this year when I asked her what kind of cake she wanted for her August birthday, she told me I could surprise her and make anything I wanted. She knows I love to bake new things so I’ll have fresh material for the blog. What a great daughter.

Anything I want? I was a little overwhelmed with such wide parameters. Sometimes less choice is a good thing. I turned to one of my favourite baking books for inspiration. Bobbette and Belle is filled with classic baked goods with a unique twist.

I decided on baking the Banana Chocolate Fudge Cake since my daughter loves chocolate very much. I seem to recall that her first word was chocolate. If you plan to bake this cake, and you really should, plan on baking it over 2 days to allow yourself time to enjoy the process. There are 4 component parts to the recipe.Cake and presentThere are 3 layers of dense super-moist banana cake. Note that you will require 7 ripe bananas to make this! Most banana cake recipes call for 3 ripe bananas, so we are veering into deep banana territory here.Cake with slice removed 2The 3 layers are sandwiched with a deep dark chocolate fudge frosting. Then, the whole thing is covered in a silky light chocolate buttercream. Finally, the cake is topped with a chocolate glaze that drips ever so artfully down the sides of the cake.

I made the fudge frosting and buttercream on day one and the cake layers and glaze on day two. Here’s a video showing how the whole thing was assembled.

This cake was met with rave review from everyone who got to try it.Cake with slice removed

A very happy birthday indeed!!

slice with lit candle

Click here to print recipe for Banana Chocolate Fudge Cake.

slice laying on its side

Hummingbird Cake

One SliceI made this cake to celebrate my father’s 90th birthday. Sadly, he will have to enjoy this cake vicariously, from his perch in heaven, as he died in 1999. Some may find this a bit macabre, but those who knew my dad understand that enjoying life vicariously, through others, was ingrained in his being. He got great pleasure and joy from other people’s good fortune.one slice 2Hummingbird cake is a classic Southern dessert, with Jamaican roots. The glorious trifecta of banana, pineapple and pecans meld into a moist dense cake that, once filled and frosted with a cream cheese frosting, could drive a sane person just a tad crazy. I added some unsweetened coconut to the batter because, well, coconut! All you coconut haters can leave it out. You won’t hurt my feelings. I used coconut flakes, but for a less chunky texture, you could use shredded coconut.

This cake recipe is adapted from Bobbette and Belle’s recipe for Hummingbird cupcakes.  ready to bakeNo one is quite sure how this cake got it’s moniker. Some theorize that because the cake is so sweet, loaded with sugar and fruit, that it would naturally attract hummingbirds. Others posit that the cake is so delicious, it makes people hum with happiness, like a bird.cakes coolingassembling cake 1assembling cake 2To decorate the cake I used a #8 Wilton tip to pipe a string of “pearls” around the top and bottom of the cake. I tied some gold ribbon around wooden skewers to create little flags and staggered the heights in the cake.cake and milk

Click here to print recipe for Hummingbird Cake.

Two slices

Brown Butter Banana Cake with Coconut Meringue

serving cake 2Ok, let’s all breathe a big sigh of relief. We made it through January. We’ve heaped the recommended daily servings of veggies onto our plates all month long. I’ve posted about carrots, green beans, cauliflower and chick peas. It’s officially February. Can we please talk about (and eat) cake?

Specifically, this cake. Brown Butter Banana Cake with Coconut Meringue. This is indeed a magical cake. A layer of airy coconut meringue is spread over a base of banana cake batter. The whole thing goes into the oven and comes out perfectly baked, 30 minutes later. As I placed it into the oven, I  had my doubts that the cake layer would be completely baked by the time the meringue was golden brown.

But, given the source of this recipe, I should have known not to worry. This cake was crafted by the genius mind of pastry chef Joanne Yolles. I have been a fan since I first tasted her coconut cream pie at Scaramouche restaurant many years ago. It’s kind of brilliant to layer meringue over cake batter. Culinary alchemy at it’s finest.

We need to brown the butter because “brown food tastes better“. This recipe is a perfect way to use up those brown bananas buried deep in your freezer.what you'll needbeating brown butterI used a 10 x 10 inch cake pan. A 9 x 13 pan would also work well. Don’t use anything smaller. You want a shallow layer of cake, so that the cake batter and meringue are done at the same time.tipping batter into pansmoothing out banana battertopping with coconut meringueThe brown butter banana cake is feather light and very fragrant. The coconut meringue is soft and all marshmallowy underneath that crispy browned top.cake for 1Top with a light dusting of icing sugar.a dusting of icing sugarAnd, a scoop of vanilla ice cream too, because you deserve it.with ice cream 625 sq

Click here to print recipe for Brown Butter Banana Cake with Coconut Meringue.

cake for 3

When lightning strikes, make Banana Coconut Cake

cake no candle 1This is a tale about celebrating gratitude and narrow escapes. Last week we had a little girl-time at my cottage. My friends Lynnie and Paula came for a visit. Monday and Tuesday were stinking hot and sunny. We all found our happy place, me on the hammock under a shady tree and they on the dock in the sun. With occasional dips in the lake to cool off we managed to pass two days without doing much of anything, just reading, talking and laughing.

I had checked the weather network before they came and saw rain in the forecast for Wednesday, so I suggested they bring their passports and we take a road trip to Syracuse. The last time I was in Syracuse was over 8 years ago when my daughter, her friend and I shopped at the Carousel Mall. Well times have changed and the Carousel Mall is no more. It has been renovated, expanded and rebranded as “Destiny USA.” Apparently it is now the 6th largest mall in the USA! Wikipedia tracks data this type of data, (of course they do!)

There is something about a road trip with your girlfriends that just makes you giddy and excited. I sort of envisioned us as Thelma and Louise (plus 1), but just a few years older and needing a few more bathroom stops along the way. We woke up early and were on the road by 8:00 am. With a  stop in Watertown for fuel for both the car and us (caffeine!), we made it to Destiny USA by 11:15 a.m.

At over 2.4 million square feet, this is a behemoth of a mall. We covered it from one end to the other, leaving no stones unturned, no shoes untried, and no dressing rooms curtains unpulled. Our best bargains were found at Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th (outlet store), where everything was 40% off the already reduced prices and we were able to get an additional 10% off by becoming a “Friend of Saks.”  Which basically means that Saks e-mails me everyday now! The BCBG Max Azria store was another favourite where everything on sale was an additional 50% off! I mean it was plain stupid not to buy. And so buy we did.

At Loft we all bought the same dress, which we have dubbed our “be-bop” dress, after a woman in the change room told us that the dress she was trying on was just perfect for “be-boping” around. We assumed that meant going to the grocery store and running errands, but maybe she meant something else!

Lord and Taylor had an amazing shoe department and we all found something on sale! We had lunch at Panera Bread and finally stopped at 7:00 pm for a great Mexican Dinner at Cantina Laredo. After a stop at the border to fill the coffers of the Canadian Government, we made it back to the cottage by 10:15, tired but happy.

When we got out of the car, it looked like a tree had thrown up all it’s bark over the entire driveway and lawn. Upon further investigation, we discovered that lightning had struck a huge oak tree, just beside the cottage. When we went inside we discovered that the phone lines were out, the internet was down, the satellite for the T.V. was not functioning, the fridge was not cooling, the fans were not turning and my computer would not turn on. Perhaps Thor, the God of Thunder, was sending me  a message: “You’re at the cottage, unplug for goodness sake!”

I have since learned that lightning (an electrical current) passes from the trunk of the tree through the roots and dissipates in the ground. In the ground, buried right next to the tree were wires for all our communication services! Slowly the cleanup and repairs began and finally this week things are getting back to normal. Sadly we will have to have tree taken down. I think it is over 150 years old.

Despite the damage and minor inconveniences, we were really very lucky. The tree could have fallen on the cottage, the lightening could have started a fire and we could have been here during all of that destruction, so I am quite grateful that we were spared any catastrophe. 

So to celebrate our good fortune, I decided to bake a Banana Coconut Cake. I had seen this cake in the LCBO magazine “Food and Drink”, and was enamoured with it’s petite size. They said it would serve 2, but it could easily serve 4.

The cake is mixed up and spread into an 8 inch square cake pan. The batter just barely covers the bottom of the cake pan and you may have some doubts at this point. Just proceed, it will all work out.batter into panMake the icing while the cake is cooling. In addition to butter and icing sugar, coconut milk gets added to this buttercream. You just skim the thick part off the top of the can, and leave the liquid behind. A third of the frosting gets some toasted coconut folded into it and the remaining icing gets tinted. I made mine green, in honour of our beloved oak tree.coconut milk

adding paste food colouring

adding coconutThe cake gets cut into 4 equal squares and then the toasted coconut icing is sandwiched between the layers. I made a little cardboard square, wrapped in foil to set the layers on so that it would be easy to move it to a cake plate later.top layerI used a star tip and just piped straight lines to cover the cake.piping icingA sweet little cake to celebrate your good fortune. Moist banana cake, layered with toasted coconut buttercream and covered with a luscious coconut milk frosting. All is right with the world.   Sadly the candle kept blowing out because we are on tornado watch today!cake with candle 1 625 sq

Click here to print recipe for Banana Coconut Cake.

cake and slice