Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
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Cook time: 
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Yield: 8 to 12 servings
This cake is 'stick to your fork' moist, and the frosting is to die for!
Adapted from Epicurious
Carrot Cake
  • 2⅓ cups sifted all purpose flour (sifted, then measured)
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup dry-roasted macadamia nuts, toasted
  • ½ cup chopped crystallized ginger * (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon*
  • ½ teaspoon fresh, grated or ground nutmeg
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled, or vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely grated. peeled carrots
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
Cream of Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting **
  • 4½ 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 L√≥pez or Goya)
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon (scant) pure coconut extract
Optional Decoration
  • Toasted coconut shreds of flakes
  • Macadamia marzipan carrots (recipe below) or tinted orange and green frosting piped carrots
Macadamia Marzipan
  • 1½ cups whole, roasted macadamia nuts, chopped
  • ⅔ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white (if you're concerned about raw egg white, you can leave it out and just grind a few extra nuts and use a little less powdered sugar.)
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F Butter or oil spray three 9-inch-diameter cake pans, at least 1½-inches in height. Line bottom of pans with rounds of parchment paper, and grease and flour the parchment rounds.
  2. Combine ⅓ cup flour, coconut, toasted macadamia nuts, and crystallized ginger (if using) in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts and ginger are finely chopped. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the remaining 2 cups flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl, to blend.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using an electric mixer in a bowl, beat sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in mashed bananas and vanilla. Stir in flour-spice mixture, then beat on high speed until uniform, about 30 seconds. Stir in coconut-macadamia-ginger mixture from the step 2, then the grated carrots.
  5. 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 for 15 minutes, then run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely.
For the 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.
Assemble Cake
  1. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a platter or cake board. Spread a heaping cup frosting over the top of the cake layer. Top with second cake layer, flat side up. Spread another heaping cup of frosting over the top. Top with third cake layer, flat side up, 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 macadamia nuts and candied 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.)
Make Macadamia Marzipan
  1. Place the macadamias in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and process until combined. Beat the egg white in a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon to mixture in food processor. Process to form a ball. If the mixture does not come together, add more egg white, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the marzipan comes together. When it comes together, add in a few drops of orange gel food color. You may need to add a little more powdered sugar after adding the gel color. Wrap up the marzipan in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until slightly firm. Shape into carrots, using a small paring knife to make the ridges in the 'skin' of the carrot. Stick a small carrot frond in the tip.
* For a less spicy cake, reduce crystallized ginger to ¼ cup or just use 2 teaspoons fresh, grated ginger instead of crystallized ginger, and reduce the cinnamon to 2 teaspoons. OR, just omit the ginger altogether. It's just as good without it.
**This recipe makes a lot of frosting. I originally developed it to do a basket weave piping around the cake, but changed my mind, 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.
Recipe by parsley sage sweet at