Banana and Coconut Birthday Cake

Alex and I have just come back from a well-deserved break in Paris, where, very predictably, we gorged ourselves on baked delights. It was so nice to be able to eat shop-bought cakes and pastries after a few weeks of playing with the oven in the name of Alex's birthday cake! I'd spent the end of June anxiously perusing all the cake recipes I could get my hands on in a bid to find one simple enough to make on the morning of his birthday without stress, yet still a little bit more special than a plain cake. In the end I settled on banana and coconut cake with cream cheese frosting, inspired by Sugary and Buttery's amazing looking cake. I used a steadfast banana cake recipe that my mum's been using for 20+ years, with added desiccated coconut and a little Malaysian twist of gula melaka (coconut palm sugar) substituting in for some of the caster sugar. 

Ingredients for the cake:
• 6 oz butter
• 3 oz caster sugar, 3 oz gula melaka (or dark muscovado sugar)
• 2 eggs
• 6 oz self raising flour, sifted
• 2 small mashed bananas
• Handful of desiccated coconut

Ingredients for the frosting:
• 2 tubs Philadelphia cream cheese
• Honey to sweeten

Grease a baking tin and line bottom with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). 

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour with the second egg. Fold in the remaining flour with the bananas. Add the desiccated coconut and a splash of vegetable oil - I didn't do this but desiccated coconut tends to suck the moisture out of everything (!) so this might help keep things moist. 

Pour mixture into baking tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake looks golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Turn on to a wire rack to cool.

Use an electric hand whisk to whip the cream cheese and honey together, tasting as you go, until creamy. You can put it into a frosting bag and pipe it on to the cake when cool, but I chose to use a spatula to spread it!

Give it a go - it takes so little time and is perfect for a baking beginner who's attempted a banana cake before. The frosting is also extremely addictive. You could slice the cake in two horizontally when it comes out of the oven and have another layer of honey cream cheese in the middle if you're feeling decadent...

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