Banana Coconut Cream Cakes

by Julie Ruble on April 27, 2010 · 40 comments

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

Directions:
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.


Enjoy!


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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Monica H April 28, 2010 at 1:29 am

Okay, okay! You twisted my arm! These do look delicious.

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Julie April 28, 2010 at 1:42 am

HA did I cover all the bases as to why you should make these?! Thanks, Monica :D

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Dimitri May 30, 2010 at 6:48 pm

i love cakes. but they are not very healthy :(

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Julie May 30, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Despite the posting schedule, which I spread out, we do eat sweets in moderation, I assure you :)

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Ashley April 28, 2010 at 9:49 am

Good enough for people who don’t like coconut? That’s a tall order, but I’m tempted to try making these.

Worse case scenario, even if I don’t like them with coconut cream, I love the mini banana cake idea so much that I could always tweak it a bit…like making strawberry cream instead.

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Julie April 28, 2010 at 10:14 am

Ashley, my roommate seriously HATES coconut and loved these! I can’t promise anything, but do let me know how you like them :)

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Kaitlin April 28, 2010 at 10:15 am

These sounds awesome! I think I might give it a try as a full size cake.

I love it when people are surprised by what they think they don’t like ;)

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Julie April 28, 2010 at 10:39 am

A full-size cake would be great! You could even slice the bundt in half and do a bundt “layer” cake with a thick layer of the coconut pastry cream! Maybe also wells of pastry cream around the cake — this stuff is so, so good :D

Thanks, Kaitlin! Let me know what you come up with.

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Julie April 28, 2010 at 11:18 am

By the way, a big CONGRATULATIONS on your appearance on the Martha Stewart Show! *Food blogger high five* You rock :)

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roxan April 28, 2010 at 11:05 am

Those are so cute and delicious looking!

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Julie April 28, 2010 at 11:17 am

Thanks, Roxan!

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candiquik April 28, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Wow – awesome and dangerous! I could eat all of them. Would be soo good w/ coffee too! Thanks for sharing, great presentation on all of your creations!

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Julie April 28, 2010 at 12:43 pm

How fun, a CandiQuik blog! I’m such a CandiQuik fan! I’m planning on using it to create some truffles from leftover ganache shortly. Thanks :)

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Sarah at Candiquik June 1, 2010 at 11:07 am

Thanks Julie!!! Let me know if you and any friend’s are interested in forming a little “creative group” – maybe I could send you product and let you play around… :)
email is (in safe mode): misscandiquik at yahoo dot com

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RGM April 28, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I stumbled on your post via Tastespotting…and boy, am I glad that I did! I can feel your passion for these cakes a thousand miles away! It’s bake day for me this Saturday, so brb, buying stuff for bake day! Thanks for the recipe!

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Julie April 28, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Hurrah! I hope you love them! Let me know what you think!

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Joanne April 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm

If you’ve given these such rave reviews then I know that they must be one of the best desserts on this earth. I am a love of coconut, banana, and pineapple. So does this mean I will love these three times as much?

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Julie April 28, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Yes, Joanne, I think it does!! :D

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Maria April 28, 2010 at 4:01 pm

What cute cakes!

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Julie April 28, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Thanks, Maria!

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Z's Cup of Tea April 28, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Yes to all of the above! I like banana, pineapple, and coconut; I cook and bake with coconut, particularly coconut milk, a lot. I run a blog with gluten-free and dairy-free recipes and the coconut pastry cream looks worth trying out! Thanks so much for posting! I’ve added your blog to my blogroll page.

http://ambrosiateaparty.wordpress.com/links/more-food-blogs/

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Julie April 28, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Thanks Z! Hope you love it! It’d seriously be delicious stuffed in just about any confection!

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bake in paris April 29, 2010 at 5:48 am

Excellent choice for a tea break! Nice pictures and just love the coconut and banana combination :-)

Sawadee from Bangkok,
Kris

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Cristina @ TeenieCakes April 29, 2010 at 6:41 pm

These Banana Coconut Cream Cakes look wonderful and that coconut pastry cream can be put to many uses. Absolutely lovely presentation!

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Julie April 29, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Thanks, Cristina!

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Megan April 29, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Amazing! Every bit of that small bite sounds amazing to me. No whining here. I love how you were able to use up leftovers from another baking project. I need to work on that! And I love that you love baking mini things like I do.

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Julie April 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Thank you, Megan! I’m actually trying to work on not wasting my leftovers as well . . . necessary for my budget lately!! Eek.

I love that we both love mini desserts too :)

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Tia @ ButtercreamBarbie April 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

great persuasive skills! and ingenuity… 3 recipes combined into one delicious dish.

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Julie April 29, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Thanks, Tia! I was trying to really lay it on thick in this one!

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Julie April 29, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Thanks, Tia! I was trying to really lay it on thick in this one! So good :D

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Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries April 30, 2010 at 12:33 am

You had me at coconut pastry cream and every single ingredient sounded so yummy! I will definitely be trying this recipe!! :)

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 4, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Oh my you’ve totally sold me on this Julie! And how could I have lived my life without trying coconut pastry cream ever?

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Saveur May 12, 2010 at 11:20 am

These look incredible and will satisfy my new love for coconut! I can’t wait to try them out. :)

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Lanell March 29, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Julie,
I have everything to make these tomorrow. I even bought a 12 mini bundt pan. I’m all ready. I will post tomorrow how they turned out. I’m so excited to try them. I love your blog.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking March 29, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Thank you, Lanell! I can’t wait to hear what you think — these are my absolute favorites!!!

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Cristy March 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Hi Julie! Le Yum. I am borrowing mini bundt cake pans to make them for a school open house of sorts and can’t WAIT to see the looks of ecstasy once people take a bite.
Question: do you think it would be ok to bake the little cakes, freeze them (without the pastry cream and glaze, of course), then bring them back out and finish them when I need them? I may not have time to bake them then, but I will next week. Just discovered your blog via Jessica at How Sweet It Is. Love her blog. And now, love yours.
Cheers! :-D

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking March 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Hi Cristy! I do think freezing them would be just fine — just thaw overnight in the fridge before you fill and glaze. I hope everyone loves them!

P.S. I love How Sweet It Is (and Jessica!) too! So glad you found me :)

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