We went off on a brief romantic tangent to celebrate my anniversary with Mike (thanks for all your congratulations!), but now we need to get back to some serious business. SERIOUS business. I told you after making my Coconut Cream Tart that I had some of that heavenly coconut pastry cream leftover. The dessert I came up with to use that leftover pastry cream is now (drumroll, please . . . are you drumrolling?) MY FAVORITE DESSERT OF ALL TIME.
Wow. I eat a lot of desserts, so you know this must be big.
Well, actually it's small and cute. But BIG in taste!
These sweet little cakes are Banana Mini-Bundt Cakes filled with Coconut Cream and topped with a sweet pineapple glaze. My sister describes the coconut pastry cream as "tylenol PM that tastes good" because it's so soporifically sweet and creamy. Imagine that deliciousness stuffed into the center of a bright, dense, moist banana cake. Now add the slight tang of pineapple. NOW MAKE THAT AMAZING DESSERT SO SMALL AS TO ALMOST BE BITE-SIZED. That, my friends, is a winner.
Some of you are getting all whiny right about now. Hey, there's no shame in that; I get whiny sometimes, too. You're thinking, "Oh well, I don't like bananas," or "Ew, coconut," and it's even POSSIBLE that there's someone out there thinking, "Gross, pineapple." Weirdo.
Kidding, kidding -- I don't think any less of you pineapple haters! BUT before you write off this dessert for any of the reasons above, let me give you a run-down of why you should try it anyway.
1. I dislike bananas. They're odd. Nevertheless, I still love these cakes more than I can really explain.
2. My roommate hates coconut with a passion. She would barely consent to try one of these. Nevertheless, she loves these cakes more than almost anything I've ever made.
3. Mike loves both banana and coconut, and also adored every bite of these cakes. (Just so you know there's not some strange phenomenon goin' on with the flavors!)
4. You will love these cakes. YOU WILL.
Some of you, instead of whining, are mourning right now: "I don't have a mini-bundt cake pan!" I didn't either until my roommate bought me one (thanks, Barb!), so one option is to be really sweet to the folks you live with and keep your fingers crossed. The other (more realistic) option is to simply make these as cupcakes. I think they'd work out just fine -- maybe not quite as adorable, but still just as tasty.
To reiterate how amazing these cakes are, let me tell you about my little mixup while making them. I was hoping to get 12 mini-bundt cakes out of this recipe but, because I failed to check the size of the pan in the original recipe, I ended up with 32. At first I was annoyed -- who on earth was going to eat the extra 20 CAKES?!
Yeah, that did not turn out to be a problem. They were DEVOURED. In fact, as Mike and I polished off the last few cakes, we wept a little. Okay, maybe we didn't actually cry, but we were crying on the inside. I can't wait to make these again. Please, if you make one thing from this willowy, birdbrain blog of mine, make these! I'm anxious to hear what you think.
Banana Coconut Cream Cakes
Recipe by: Compiled by Willow Bird Baking from Piggly-Wiggly (banana cake), Zoë Bakes (coconut pastry cream), and The Neely's (pineapple glaze)
Yields: About 32 mini-bundt cakes using the pan size pictured below
Mini-Bundt Cake Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter at room temp
2 cups sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, preferably at room temp
~4 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1.5-1.75 cups)
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
Coconut Pastry Cream Ingredients: *
1 can (14 fluid ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
pinch kosher salt
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup whipping cream
Pineapple Glaze Ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons pineapple juice
Preheat the oven to 350. Generously butter a mini-bundt cake pan or cupcake pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. In a separate, large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the bananas.
Mix in half the dry ingredients (the mixture may look curdled -- just keep mixing), followed by all the sour cream and finally, the rest of the flour mixture. Fill each well of your prepared pan about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full and rap the pan on the counter to remove bubbles from the batter and smooth the top.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted deep into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding on the rack. Let cool to room temperature before adding cream filling and glaze.
While cakes are baking and cooling, make coconut pastry cream. Heat the coconut milk, sugar, salt and vanilla bean or extract in a medium saucepan over medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and corn starch. Once the cream is hot, remove the vanilla bean (if used), scraping out any remaining seeds and returning them to the cream. Add 1/2 cup of the hot cream slowly to the yolks, whisking as you add, to temper the eggs so they won't cook into an omelette in the middle of your pastry cream. That would be a bummer. Then pour the yolk mixture into the pot of hot cream and whisk. Continue to whisk with heat on medium-high for 3 more minutes. The mixture will turn thick and bubble. You need to continue to whisk for the full 3 minutes or the pastry cream will separate once it is cool. After the 3 minutes, whisk in the butter. Add the coconut flakes. Pour into a shallow dish to cool.
Cover with plastic wrap pressed right against the pastry cream. This will prevent a thick skin from forming on the surface. Refrigerate for at least an hour or freeze for 30 minutes. Once it is cold, stir the pastry cream to loosen. Whip the 1/2 cup cream to medium peaks. Stir in 1/3 to the pastry cream to lighten. Fold in the remaining cream until the pastry cream is nice and light.
When cakes are cool, hollow out the center of each mini-bundt cake (or, for cupcakes, you can use the cone method). Pipe in as much of the coconut pastry cream as will fit.
Whisk confectioners' sugar and pineapple juice together to form glaze. Drizzle over filled mini-bundt or cupcakes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
NOTE: These things are aaaaamazing served cold straight from the refrigerator! They're dense, creamy, cool hunks o' bright flavor.
*NOTE 2: This recipe actually makes twice as much coconut pastry cream as you need to fill the cakes. I split my pastry cream and made these with half, and a Coconut Cream Tart with the other half. If you're not keen on a tart, you can also just double the number of banana cakes you make to fill, or find some other creative use for the excess cream. I suppose you could also try halving the coconut pastry cream recipe, but I didn't want to fiddle with halving three yolks and a can o' coconut milk.