A light and summery cake with a cream cheese topping. Just put the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another, then stir them all together and bake. You could say it tastes a bit like a carrot cake with a tropical twist!
Something I’ve noticed here in the UK this spring, after many springs spent in a warmer climate, is that it doesn’t take much for us Brits to get our summer gear on. The temperature might still be barely reaching double digits (in celsius, that is), but it’s late April, darn it! Out come the tank tops, shorts and sandals whether it’s warm enough or not.
Personally, I’m not putting my winter wardrobe away just yet, but I must admit that the few not-a-cloud-in-the-sky days we’ve had this week have had Mr. Scrummy and I swapping our winter comfort food for more summery alternatives.
And this cake! Doesn’t it seem like a rather summery cake to you?
I took most of it into work to get temptation out of our way, and a colleague said that she thought it was a great cake for the summer. I actually hadn’t thought of this myself, but I do think she’s right. Pineapple’s a summery flavor, right? Coconut’s a summery flavor, too. In fact, couldn’t you say the whole ‘tropical’ theme we’ve got going on here shouts sunshine, sunbeds and cocktails?
What I personally love about this cake is that it’s light without being dry (you can thank the oil and pineapple juice in it for that), and the flavours are all distinctly there but without being overpowering. And then of course there’s that thick (it’s got to be thick!) layer of cream cheese frosting on the top which tricks your mind into thinking you’re eating a carrot cake – which everyone loves, don’t they?
And if all this deliciousness isn’t enough for you, this pineapple, coconut and banana cake really isn’t too naughty. While I wouldn’t exactly go as far as to say it’s ‘healthy’, there’s only three quarters of a cup of sugar in the whole cake, I used half olive oil and half rape seed oil instead of butter, and I also used half wholemeal flour instead of all white. And in fact I think the wholemeal flour works really well, giving the cake a mild nutty flavour.
Not too bad at all!
One thing I didn’t do though is skip that lovely frosting – or even reduce the amount. Oh no no, let’s not go there.
But for me the real icing on the cake is the little hint of spice in the cake batter – a bit of cinnamon, and a bit of ground ginger. Such a lovely compliment to all those tropical flavours.
This is a pretty good cake for feeding a crowd. I cut it into 9 big squares, but really those pieces were too big (well, I could eat one that size, but let’s talk about normal people). You could easily halve those pieces, or make the squares smaller by cutting into 16. Totally up to you and how greedy you think your fellow cake-eaters are!
* A reader pointed out that this is in fact rather like a Hummingbird cake (what a great name!). And yes, it is, with a few tweaks. So go ahead and call it Hummingbird cake if you like, albeit a simplified version! (but hey, that’s what we’re all about around here).
Serves: 9 - 16
- 2 cups plain flour (I used 1 cup wholemeal, 1 cup white)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ a cup of dessicated or flaked coconut
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 small to medium ripe bananas, mashed
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 150 grams / ¾ cup dark or light brown sugar
- ½ cup oil (I used half light olive oil and half rape seed oil, but any is fine)
- 1 small can (225 grams / 8 ounces) pineapple with juice, pineapple chopped into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 130 grams / 4.5 ounces cream cheese
- about 2 cups icing / powdered sugar
- about ½ cup crushed walnuts to decorate (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 355F and line a 8 – 9 inch square (or equivalent) baking pan with baking paper.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, coconut, and salt in a large bowl.
- Mash the banana in another large bowl, then whisk in the eggs, sugar, oil, pineapple and juice, cinnamon and ginger.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined (take care not to overmix).
- Pour into the baking pan, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out more or less clean.
- Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Beat the cream cheese with a hand-held whisk, then slowly whisk in the icing / powdered sugar until you have a thick frosting. Pile on top of the cake (nice and thick!) when the cake is completely cool.
Haven’t got a suitable pan? This one is perfect:
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