Spray or use solid coconut oil to coat the sides and bottom of two 6” pans. Line bottom of both pans with parchment paper. Spray or spread coconut oil over the top of the parchment paper. Set oven to 350F, with rack in center.
While your oven is heating up, toast your pecans and large flake coconut in the warming oven for about 10 minutes. The pecans should be slightly darker and smell fragrant. The coconut should have a nice golden color and smell fragrant. When you remove them from the oven, remove them immediately from the pan to cool by dumping the ingredients out of the pan on separate pieces of parchment or wax paper. You’ll need to chop the pecans.
Have all your ingredients measured out and ready to go (Mise en place) before you start mixing.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon and baking soda. Use a whisk to mix in the sugar.
In a separate bowl beat eggs, then add the cooled, melted coconut oil, and vanilla bean paste. Mix just to incorporate (there will be separation). Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add your oil mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix ingredients together just until incorporated, until you no longer see dry flour.
Add the pineapple, mashed bananas, and toasted, chopped pecans. Mix gently until ingredients are evenly distributed.
Pour into prepared pans. The batter should only fill the pans to ¾ full, otherwise you’ll have overflow!
Bake cake for 55-60 minutes in a conventional oven. You can use the tooth pick method for testing if the cake is done as the toothpick should come out clean. You can also check for doneness by gently pressing the cake in the center with your finger, it should spring back ever so slightly.
After you remove the cakes from the oven, place the cakes still in the pans on a cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Then, flip the cake pans over a cooling rack and they should fall out pretty easily. If not, give the pans a few taps. Allow to cool completely before splitting and filling. If you are holding the cakes over night, wrap well in plastic wrap. If you need to hold them longer, this cake freezes well. Just make sure you double wrap them as to avoid freezer burn.
For the Icing
Be sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. You can make your icing in a food processor or in a stand mixer. I’ve used both with good results.
Place butter and cream cheese in mixer and beat on medium – medium high with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Scrape down your bowl. Mix in your sifted powder sugar on low, until just incorporated. Add your vanilla and lemon zest, and mix on low until incorporated.
After your cakes are completely cooled, split them in ½, horizontally. I use a serrated knife and a rotating cake stand to do this as it makes the job much easier. Set them aside. For this recipe, you’ll get 4 layers, but I used only three, because I like three layer cakes, and I like to pile on the icing. If you want a 4 layer cake, be sure to make a 1 ½ batch of icing if you want enough to adequately ice the cake.
After splitting the layers, spread icing on top of the first layer, then stack the second layer. Ice the top of the second layer and then stack on the third layer.
Crumb coat all three layers and let rest in fridge for 30 minutes.
For the final coat of icing, spread the icing evenly over the entire cake with a thick layer on top, then ice and smooth the sides. Smooth the top last.
Pile on the large flake coconut on the top of the cake.
For storage, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the cut crumb as to preserve moisture. Store covered at room temperature for up to three days.
*All purpose flour can be used for a more tender crumb or 1/2 AP and 1/2 Whole Wheat White Flour.
This cake will keep well, covered for up to three days at room temperature.Adapted from Southern Living Magazine