Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting | Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut – Cream Cheese Frosting

July 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Posted in Cakes, Dessert, Fruit, Giveaway, Vegetables | 65 Comments
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I preface a lot of my blog entries, don’t I?  Well, here’s another one before I get to this post.  I couldn’t take part in this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge because of time constraints due to another obligation – a sort of last-minute obligation, but a good one, which you will all see soon.

However, I’m kind of bummed because the challenge was the classic french cake ‘Fraisier’, hosted by Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes, and I was reeeeaaaally looking forward to making it.  I will make one and post it eventually, but until then, please take a few moments to check out the beautiful Fraisier’s created by all the talented Daring Bakers, via clicking on the links to their blogs, HERE.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

Since I don’t have a Fraisier to show off *sniff*, I present to you a carrot cake I made a few weeks ago – after I preface once again…

It’s funny how the weirdest things from early childhood stick to your brain eternally.  I can still remember the lyrics to every chorus class song between the ages of 8 and 13 yrs old.  When I try to impress people by reciting all 50 states in alphabetical order, super fast, it’s because ‘Fifty, Nifty United States’ permeated my fresh, young brain, permanently, not because I was born with this amazing ability to recite the states in alphabetical order on a whim.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese FrostingThese are not real carrots, they are macadamia marzipan carrots and yes, I made them.  The carrot fronds are real.  I did not make those, just an unfortunate, inedible decoration decision that didn’t turn out as I’d hoped.

When I was maybe 4 or 5, there was a TV interview with Shaun Cassidy (I think it was Shaun Cassidy (???).  Apparently it was his birthday, and the host asked what his favorite cake was.  He said carrot cake.  Ewwww..a cake with carrots in it??  Yuck!  I couldn’t believe anyone would eat a cake with vegetables in it!

Several years later, I tasted some for the first time.  Oh my Gahh, moist, spicy, sweet, delicious..and the cream cheese frosting..I was in love.  I spit bullets when I order a slice of carrot cake and the frosting is buttercream or anything other than cream cheese frosting.  I feel the same about red velvet cake, but I’ll get to that another time.  My point is, I still think of that interview every time I bite into a slice of carrot cake.  No idea what to make of it – especially since I was never a Shaun Cassidy fan.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

SO, I had an urge to make carrot cake a few weeks ago. and not just any carrot cake – a carrot cake I’ve been coveting for some time at Epicurious.com (I shall covet thy carrot cake!).  I think it’s been in my saved recipe box for at least 5 years.  It’s a tropical carrot cake and it contains macadamia nuts instead of the usual walnuts or pecans, and pineapple and coconut.  Normally, I don’t flip over cooked pineapple unless it’s doused with sugar and grilled.  I have similar feelings about strawberries, but again, I’ll get to that another time.

As always, I digress – this was supposed to be a tropical carrot cake, but the only two things, outside of your basic carrot cake that made it tropical, were, the macadamia nuts, and this luscious sounding coconut – cream cheese frosting, containing cream of coconut.  Cream of coconut, not to be confused with coconut cream, is this amazing, thick, glossy sweetened, condensed milk like can of coconut something or other concoction.  I really don’t know exactly how it’s made, but I do know I’ve actually eaten it with a spoon right out of the can.  It’s sosososo bleepin’ good.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

That said, I didn’t want pineapple in this cake and wasn’t feeling most other tropical fruits like mango or papaya.  I had an urge for banana, and three, ripe mashed bananas did the trick.  I’ve always liked (yes, liked, kind of have to be in the mood for it. so that does not qualify as ‘loved’ to me) banana bread and banana cake, and I was in the mood for it.

The cake and frosting turned out terrific..the cake is superdupercalifragilistic moist with a hint of warm, gingery heat surprising you with each bite, and the frosting, PHENOMENAL, although the heat wave wouldn’t let me get decorative with it (my rosettes keeled  – then morphed into lumps).  It was hard not to ditch the layer cake deal and tear off hunks of cake to dip in the frosting, but somehow, I managed.  However, I broke one of my cardinal rules when it came to decorating it.

I don’t believe in ever putting inedible* things on anything edible, whether it be a plate of food, sweet or savory, a cake..whatever.  Not only did I do it, but I OVERDID it.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot fronds jammed into homemade macadamia marzipan (omit coffee) carrots.  I got the frond idea from Martha Stewart (I only used orange gel paste).  Martha Stewart only puts one small frond in each carrot.  I thought a bunch would look cool, especially hanging over the sides of the cake.  Once I looked at the photos, after it had already been cut into and attacked with savage, voracious ferocity, I hated it.

Regardless, I wasn’t going to make another one any time soon – we had our fill, so here it is in all it’s greenery glory and 70′s psychedelic orange background.  Ignore that and make this cake.  It’s worth it.

Carrot fronds are not inedible, but they don’t taste good (unless they’re from baby carrots), especially with cake.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Epicurious.com, with my revisions

Cake
Dry Ingredients
2 1/3 cups sifted all purpose flour (sifted, then measured)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup dry-roasted macadamia nuts, toasted
3/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger*
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon*
1/2 teaspoon fresh, grated or ground nutmeg
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Wet Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1 cup melted Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil, or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated peeled carrots
3 very ripe bananas, mashed, with some chunks remaining

* For a less spicy cake, reduce crystallized ginger to 1/2 cup or just add 1 tablespoon fresh, grated ginger, and reduce cinnamon to 2 teaspoons.

Coconut Cream – Cream Cheese Frosting*
4 1/2 8-ounce packages (36 ounce total) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks), plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco López or Goya)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon (scant) pure coconut extract

*This recipe makes a lot of frosting.  I originally developed it to do a basket weave piping around the cake, but changed my mind because I was tired, so I was left with a lot of frosting, which I used for cupcakes the next day.  You can cut the recipe in half and still get a decent amount to fill and frost the cake.

Decorating Ideas
14 whole dry-roasted macadamia nuts, candied
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger ,cut into strips
Toasted coconut shreds of flakes
Marzipan or Frosting piped carrots

DIRECTIONS:
FOR CAKE:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Combine 1/3 cup flour and next 3 ingredients in processor. Process until nuts are finely chopped. Whisk remaining 2 cups flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl to blend.

2. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Beat in flour-spice mixture. Stir in coconut-macadamia mixture, then carrots and mashed bananas.

3. Divide batter among pans ( I weighed out close to even layers..about 1 lb 6 oz batter per pan). Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 1 hour. Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely.

FOR FROSTING:
1. Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar, then cream of coconut and both extracts. Chill until firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

2. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread heaping cup frosting over top of cake. Top with second cake layer, flat side up. Spread another heaping cup frosting over the top. Top with third cake layer, pressing slightly to adhere. Spread thin layer of frosting on top and sides of cake. Chill cake and remaining frosting 30 minutes. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Arrange whole nuts and ginger (or whatever decor you decide on) around top edge of cake. Chill 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

Finally, the winner of the hunka hunk of Grana Padano Riserva cheese, and $40.00 worth of custom goodies from buildasign.com (I thought today was the 27th! So sorry for being a day late! LOL)….

#93 is Barbara of Barbara Bakes, one of my favorite blogs!  Congrats, Barbara!  Sending you an email to get your info so the cheese can be mailed out asap, and will send your email to buildasign.com so they can send you your coupon code for $40.00 worth of custom goodies!


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  1. Congrats to Barbara!

    That cake looks terrific! So moist and divine looking. A dream on a cakestand.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Those fronds are too funny, and yet perfectly fitting! Completely agree on the cream cheese frosting…anything different is sacrilege!

  3. Sweet! I’m a winner, winner, winner! Thanks!! It’ll be my first time tasting Grana Padano. Your cake looks fabulous and the frosting sounds amazing. I’ve never tried cream of coconut. I’ve been missing out.

  4. “I spit bullets when I order a slice of carrot cake and the frosting is buttercream, or anything other than cream cheese frosting.”

    YES.

    This is best carrot cake I’ve ever seen in my life. I love banana bread/cake (my favourite of all the cakes), so bananafying a carrot cake sounds excellent to me. It’s so beautiful.

    p.s. Congrats on your cheese, Barbara Bakes!

  5. Looks really good, Lisa. At first glance I thought they were marzipan carrots until I saw the fronds, thinking “wow what perfect orange carrots”. Then read they were both! It’s actually a good idea (leave it up to that Martha…).
    Best, Sandie

  6. Oh my god, beauriful and moist looking carrott cake! Can’t wait to try the recipe!

  7. Oohhh I love carrot cake with cream cheese frosting too! But this is the first time I’ve come across sweetened cream of coconut (eventhough I am here in the most tropical of all countries), I will look for this right away so I can try your recipe :) Your cake looks so delicious, and I will eagerly be waiting for your Fraisier post :))

  8. Congrats to Barbara! I love her blog too! That carrot cake is a masterpiece!

  9. Carrot cake is one of my favorites. For some reason it makes me think of Easter, I guess it is the carrots that relate to the easter bunny. Anyhow, this looks so fantastic, wish I had a slice. Yum!

  10. What a fab cake! I’m crazy about carrot cake, though I have no odd pop star associations to go with it. I love that frosting from Epicurious and use it to make a coconut layer cake with more coconut cream in the cake. Yum, but I need to keep some aside to eat with a spoon next time…
    Love the carrots and crazy orange background!

  11. Oh, you’re killing me. I’ve literally been dying waiting for you to post this carrot cake, ever since you talked about it on twitter. I must have a piece. NOW. And I’m super intrigued about your obligation. Is it ok that I’m excited and don’t even know why? I’d probably be less crazy about it if I had a piece of cake.

  12. Yuummmmm! I love carrot cake, and I think the cream cheese frosting is at least half the reason. Cream cheese frosting with cream of coconut? This cake and the frosting look and sound AMAZING. Really beautiful.

  13. I have to confess… I have never had carrot cake !! How weird is that .. I always thought it was a joke to have a cake with carrots when I was younger. Lol. Love the look of this cake and the frosting

  14. I’m afraid I’m becoming addicted to your writing… I always have so much fun reading your posts :))
    Traditionally, carrot cakes in Brazil have chocolate frosting and it wasn’t until a year or so ago that I had a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for the first time. I fell in love…
    This carrot cake looks really special and delicious, I’m sure I’ll love it too :)

  15. Wow what a carrot cake, it sounds like it tastes totally sublime! Macadamia nuts, wow what a splurge. And I have to say I love the over the top carrot tips lol, goes with the 70s theme background very well. So cool for SCR!

  16. I second Renata, I love reading your posts..feels like chatting with a friend over a cup of tea
    The cake looks stunning..you made me crave carrot cake

  17. Lisa, this is a very delicious twist of the general carrot cake we know! You actually added banana in the cake and coconut in the cheese cream. I am sure it is super delicious, it does look so, and your layering is extremely neat! Great skill :-)

  18. Awww, I was looking forward to seeing your fraisier! I really recommend making it, even if the deadline is past: it’s a perfect summer dessert!

    I never could get over the carrots in carrot cake – even though I love carrots in anything else! But hey, I never thought I’d like chocolate-zucchini cake, and I adored it when I first tried it! Your cake looks absolutely gorgeous, like out of a magazine!

  19. Carrot Cake is my most favorite cake. I never would have came up with the idea to use bananas in it! It look delicious! Thank you for the recipe. I can’t wait to try it out.

  20. Mmm… that cake looks divine! I love all types of cakes but banana and carrot together sounds really good. I thought the carrots were marzipan, you could have fooled us all. And I actually like the orange back ground :)

    • They are marzipan, but the fronds are real..hence the confusion :)

  21. I am lusting over…well…any number of gorgeous photos of your luscious, exotic carrot/banana cake. It needs to be modeled on the mini-runway called “my-kitchen-table”…then ferociously attacked with a LARGE fork. The mac-nuts a clever substitute. Crystallized ginger – love it. On the cream cheese icing we agree 100%. The carrot orgy topping worked extremely WELL.

    Oh…Incidentally, as a kid I also recited the 50 states, but not reeled off very quickly. But I wuz only seven years old (goo-goo.)

  22. Oh my! That last pic looks too delicious! Hand me a fork please!

  23. Yes, yes, and yes.
    Love carrot cake – love cream cheese frosting – love banana bread. There’s a Cuban restaurant that I love that has a tropical banana cake that I could roll around in if they’d let me. This sounds like it may be similar and I’m looking forward to my first bite.

    P.S. Cooked strawberries should be banned.

  24. That sure is looking delicious. Thank you for sharing your yummy ingredient to us. I’ll be looking forward for your next post.

  25. Gorgeous carrot cake! I love those marzipan carrots on the top… Beautiful.. :) Thanks for sharing!

  26. This is one heck of a carrot cake! I love the mashed bananas i it! I also happen to like the fronds over the sides of the cake, looks very cool!

  27. I completely agree with gail..the fronds make it look sort of regal, in a Grecian way! Sounds delicious, looking fwd to trying it!

  28. Absolutely gorgeous and it looks so moist and full of so many flavors and goodies! Not your Mom’s carrot cake for sure!

  29. mmmmmhhh carrot cake my favorite; especially with all that cream cheese frosting. Looks very moist too. Your photos are always so good and make my mouth water. Nice job as always.

  30. This cake has me salivating!! I LOVE marzipan and carrot cake is one of my favorites. Even though I already have a recipe for carrot cake that I love, I really want to try this! Great photos!

    • Thank you, Madeline! I couldn’t find a place to leave a comment on your tumblr page, so replying here. I’m so flattered that you loved it enough to post it! Just wait until you try it..it’s so amazing – plus, the coconut cream cheese frosting ia so good that it will be hard not to want to eat with a spoon prior to frosting the cake!

  31. This sounds phenomenal. I’m loving the combination of coconut, macadamia, candied ginger, carrots and bananas. I loooooooove cream of coconut, or anything coconut for that matter. This is getting on my to make list!

  32. Tropical carrot cake is a great take on a classic and that cream cheese frosting sounds even BETTER than the standard, and I do love the standard. Outstanding Lisa! Sory about the carrot fronds…who knew they wouldn’t work.

  33. I love this carrot cake. The candied ginger in it sounds wonderful!

  34. Congratulations Barbara!
    Your carrot cake looks delicious, I love the idea of adding banana to the cake and coconut cream cheese on the frosting. Looks awesome!
    Hope you have a fantastic week ahead Lisa :-)

  35. Oh Lisa, you make me laugh! :-) I’m glad you stuck those outrageous fronds on there. They make me smile. And this cake sounds wicked good and moist. :-)

  36. Beautiful carrot cake! It sounds excellent with the addition of ginger and the coconut flavored frosting, yum!

  37. i love reading you Lisa so please keep those prefaces coming.
    The carrot cake looks stunning!! I love the cream cheese frosting. I first thought the carrots were real, wow, you did a wonderful job. I honestly believe they look great! Stop being so harsh on yourself!

  38. Looks delicious! Love the carrots!

  39. A dream of a cake. It cut so cleanly, so professionally. Easy to shoot. Love that you added some ginger to the mix for a little spunk.

  40. Leave it to you to make a very grand and beautiful cake. You have quite the knack for taking something ordinary and turning it into extraordinary.

  41. You always make me laugh. I made a nice cup of tea before I sat down to read this.

    Dare I say it, not a huge fan of cream cheese frosting, but feel the same way about cheesecake. But lashings of cream cheese on a bagel? That’s got my name on it.

    In saying that, LOVE this cake. Especially your edible/inedible decorations. ;)

  42. I need a piece of this cake now.

  43. Love carrot cake and You can tell how moist yours is by the crumb. The frosting looks creamy and luscious, perfect! Making this!

  44. This cake look amazing..woww..really really tasty! I want one piece right now:))

  45. Mmm…carrot cake sounds perfect right now. Haven’t made one in a couple of years because let’s face it. I’d have to eat it all myself. The ingredients sound yummy. Nice version. What about Cream Cheese Buttahcream? That’s what I make — but not with powdered sugar. Not a fan of that *scrapes off frosting* haha! Beauteous cake. Love the “draped” carrot fronds!

  46. Wow I’ve never thought to combine carrot and banana — sounds super moist and flavorful — not to mention your perfect layers and even slices =)

  47. Wow that I wanna have one slice of those now :)

  48. I love carrot cake! Banana instead of pineapple sounds great, and I love the idea of macadamia nuts. And now, I must try making some frosting with cream cheese with coconut cream. Sounds amazing.

  49. Lisa, hands down that is the purtiest carrot cake I’ve ever seen! :D Love the little variations on the recipe too! :)

  50. Hi Lisa, I made a carrot cake with marzipan carrots a little while back, but you definitely took it steps further with the bananas, macadamias and coconut! WOW, THIS is going to be my next carrot cake, that’s for sure!

  51. Hi

    I do not like macadamia nuts, is there any other nut I could use in this recipe. Thanks.

    • Of course! You could use pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts etc..OR, you can omit the nuts altogether!

  52. [...] Looking for a tropical carrot cake recipe? Banana – Ginger Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting have two features that make it more tropical than your traditional carrot cake recipe.  It is made with macadamia nuts and has coconut cream cheese frosting which is made with Cream of coconut.  In the words of the creator herself, “The cake and frosting turned out terrific..the cake super-moist with a hint of warm, gingery heat surprising you with each bite of tropical spice, and the frosting, PHENOMENAL.”  Grab the recipe, HERE. [...]

  53. I would like to have the recipe shown on The Chew on Thursday, May 17. It was Brasile Carrot Cake with Chocolate Frosting. The carrots were pureed after grating them. John Luzzini was the guest host.

  54. Loved this recipe, and will add it to my “Best macadamia Nut Recipes” blog over at Squidoo! I Used fresh Hawaii macadamia nuts for this recipe. I get mine from http://www.maunakeagold.com. In my opinion, Hawaii produces the best Mac Nuts!

  55. I want to make this cake for my daughter’s 4 year old B-day party. Question: do you think it would be fine if I baked whole amount of batter in one pan tin? It would bake for longer time but should be fine, wouldn’t it? Thanks!

    • Of course it would be fine – it’s just a matter of figuring out the baking time. What size pan will you be using? Since this cake uses three 8 or 9-inch pans, it’s a good amount of batter! :)

      • I have a 10,5″ (26cm) pan. Perhaps will work out :) Should I lower the temperature?

      • I don’t think you need to lower the temperature, Indre..but definitely bake it longer, checking with a skewer often toward the end. Maybe 35-40 minutes?

      • I think you’re right about the temperature. It’s only 350F. I think I’ll be fine :) Thanks for a fast response!

  56. I made this carrot cake for Easter and it was amazing! It is very moist and has a banana bread kind of consistency, and my whole family loved the macadamia nuts vs pecans. Also, the cream of coconut and coconut extract was a wonderful addition that imparts great flavor. The only issue I had was the icing consistency. BTW, this recipe does make a lot, but everyone wanted a spoonful taste, its THAT good, but mine turned out almost too soft. I live in the south, and we had a warm day, so I might try a little less cream cheese or butter, or a little more confectioners sugar next time. All in all, this was a beautiful, delicious cake and even my mother, who prides herself on her carrot cake, (which was also my late grandmothers recipe) claimed that this was the best cake and now I have to make it every Easter! I was nervous to try something new in her presence, but this cake “Takes the Cake” so Thank you! Thank you!

    • HI, Sherrye! I’m so glad you and your family loved it! It’s a favorite here for sure. That said, yes, the icing does run soft because of the cream of coconut. Because of this, you need to refrigerate it prior to filling and frosting the cake, until it’s firm enough to spread without oozing and dripping, usually 30 minutes to 1 hour. Give it a good beating after it’s refrigerated, if need be, so it’s of spreadable consistency. As for the amount, you could split the recipe in half and it will make just enough frosting to fill and frost the whole cake. I made the amount I did because I was planning on doing a basket weave around the cake, until the weather refused to cooperate! Humidity/mugginess does not bode well for cream cheese frosting!


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