Tropical Banana Cake with Fluffy Maple Coconut Frosting

Tropical Banana Cake with Fluffy Maple Coconut Frosting“Tropical Banana Cake with Maple Coconut Frosting”–say that five times fast.  I figured it was high time (hardyharhar) to make a real, honest-to-goodness cake–not cupcakes or muffins, but an actual cake, with layers and crap.

If you have little more than half a brain, you’ve probably deduced by now that cakes aren’t my favorite.  And not just because I personally prefer to eat ice cream and fruity things, but because they’re wholly inferior on so many levels.  Picture this:  you’re at a party and there’s cake.  It looks great on the table, beautiful in theory.  Then someone stabs candles into it.  Then some other yahoo decides to blow (read: spit) all over it.  And of course they’re those trick candles that don’t blow out–so we can be sure there’s a good spray on each piece.Now this is just getting better and better.  Finally, someone goes to cut it.  Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, this is where things really get messy.  It’s virtually impossible to serve cake without sticking your finger in it.  Try as you might, it just doesn’t really happen that way.  So yeah–gross.  I mean, who knows if that guy from Accounting even washed his hands before cutting into that bad boy?  Uh…ew!

All that being said, cakes behave much differently than cupcakes at altitude.  They’re much more prone to sinking in the middle, or drying out, or a variety of other not-so-fun stuff.  So here’s a cake recipe for ya…but consider yourself warned.  Try not to cringe too much when someone stabs your beautiful work of art with miniature flaming torches, then asks someone to spit on it before it’s manhandled…er, served.   

Ingredients (Cake):
2 c Flour
1 c Sugar
1/2 c, less 2 Tbs Brown Sugar
1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 tsp Salt
1 c Mashed Ripe Bananas
1/2 c + 1 Tbs Milk, combined with 1 Tbs Vinegar (or 1/2 c + 2 Tbs Buttermilk)
1/2 c Shortening
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Sliced Bananas

Ingredients (Frosting/Topping):
1 c Sugar
1/4 c Maple Syrup + enough Water to total 1/3 c Liquid
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
2 Egg Whites
Sweetened Coconut Flakes

Directions (Cake):
Preheat oven to 375.  Oil and flour two 8″ or 9″ round cake pans.  Whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, stir together the bananas, milk/vinegar mixture (or buttermilk), shortening, eggs, and vanilla.  Add these combined ingredients to the flour mixture and mix well.

Distribute the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes (until a toothpick inserted near the center emerges without a trace of where it’s been).  Cool completely.

Yield: To 8″ or 9″ Cakes–duh.

Directions (Frosting):
Combine the sugar, maple syrup, water, and cream of tartar in a small saucepan.  Cook and stir over medium heat until it’s a nice hot, smooth and shiny pan of yum.  While that’s cooking, use the whisk attachment on your pretty little Kitchen Aid stand mixer to whip the egg whites into fluffy, dreamy, glossy meringue-y looking stuff (stiff-ish peaks).  Slowly drizzle in the sugary syrup, continuing to whisk, until it’s all well-incorporated and happy.

Directions (Assembly):
Turn out the cooled cakes and put one layer on the serving plate.  Top with a layer of frosting and sliced bananas (you may want to toss the slices in a little lemon juice to help keep them from turning brown).  Place second cake on top, then frost both layers completely.  Press coconut all around the sides and top of the cake (this is great–hides all the flaws…not that my cake had any of those, but hey, you amateurs may foul it up.).

Yield:  Lots of puffy white frosting clouds.

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