This is one of the best cakes I have ever eaten. If you don't want to go to the trouble of making the pineapple flowers, just make a cream cheese frosting and enjoy! A great Easter cake too!
Although no one knows for certain, some believe this confection is so named because it’s as sweet as the sugar that water-bird enthusiasts use to attract hummingbirds. Of course, others contend that the name simply came about because it’s easy to envision the hummingbird being unable to resist one of the cake’s most distinctive features: flowers made from dried pineapple. In either case, when cutting the pineapple, remember that the thinner you slice the rings, the faster and more colorful they’ll dry. I finally figued out that they must be paper thin to be pretty.
Makes 2 nine-inch layer cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of pans with parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust pans with flour, tapping out any excess; set pans aside.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Place butter, vanilla, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is fluffy and pale yellow.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together, banana, pineapple, walnuts, and coconut. Add flour mixture and combine.
4. Divide mixture between prepared pans. Bake until golden brown, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking.
5. Transfer pans to a baking rack to cool. Let pans cool 15 minutes before unmolding. Loosen sides with a small metal spatula or a paring knife, and invert onto greased wire racks. To prevent layers form splitting, invert again, so tops are up. Cool completely before assembling cake or wrapping airtight to freeze cake for later.
6. Using a serrated knife, trim the top of one layer (It is ok if the second layer is a bit rounded, for it becomes the top of the cake).
7. To assemble, place trimmed layer on serving platter. Spread the top with 1/4-inch layer of frosting. Top with the untrimmed top layer. Lightly coat the assembled cake with a thin layer of frosting to protect against crumbs in the frosting. Finish with remaining frosting. Decorate with dried pineapple flowers, if desired. Serve immediately, or keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Dried Pineapple Flowers
Makes about 2 dozen 2 large pineapples or 4 small pineapples
1. Preheat oven to 225°. Line baking sheets with Silpats (French nonstick baking mats) or parchment paper. 2. Peel pineapples and remove “eyes” using a very tiny melonballer. Cut crosswise into very thin slices (paper thin) and place in a single layer on prepared baking sheets.
Bake until tops look dry, about 4 hours. Using tongs, flip slices over and continue to cook until completely dried out, 25 to 30 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat 8 oz. cold cream cheese (not rock solid, but it means you can use it straight out of the refrigerator) with 5 Tbsp. softened butter and 2 tsp. vanilla until combined. Gradually add 2 c. powdered sugar that has been sifted after measuring. Continue to add more sifted powdered sugar until you reach a consistency and sweetness that fits your taste.