Banana-Ginger Carrot Cake w/Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
2 1/3 cups sifted all purpose flour (sifted, then measured)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup dry-roasted macadamia nuts, toasted
3/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger*
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon*
1/2 teaspoon fresh, grated or ground nutmeg
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 cup melted Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil, or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated peeled carrots
3 very ripe bananas, mashed, with some chunks remaining
* For a less spicy cake, reduce crystallized ginger to 1/2 cup or just add 1 tablespoon fresh, grated ginger, and reduce cinnamon to 2 teaspoons.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
4 1/2 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 López or Goya)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon (scant) pure coconut extract
14 whole dry-roasted macadamia nuts, candied
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger ,cut into strips
Toasted coconut shreds of flakes
Marzipan or Frosting piped carrots
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Combine 1/3 cup flour and next 3 ingredients in processor. Process until nuts are finely chopped. Whisk remaining 2 cups flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl to blend.
2. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Beat in flour-spice mixture. Stir in coconut-macadamia mixture, then carrots and mashed bananas.
3. 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 1 hour. Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely.
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.
2. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread heaping cup frosting over top of cake. Top with second cake layer, flat side up. Spread another heaping cup frosting over the top. Top with third cake layer, 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 nuts and 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.)