Escape to the Tropics

Escape to the Tropics
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I am in love.

...with a cake. A tropical, creamy confection. 

First and foremost, I'd like to dedicate this post to my mama. I don't think our mamas/grandmamas/mama-figures hear often enough how wonderful they are. Make sure you tell yours. Not only is my mom a stunner (for real though), she's incredibly smart, warm, welcoming, loving, supportive, creative, hilarious, weird, fun, honest, comforting, and kind. I think she gets a lot of it from her own amazing mother, my grandma Doris.

Growing up, my mom and I didn't always get along but at the end of the day I knew she loved me unconditionally. There's no better kind of love. My mom always knew when to give me a hug and when I needed her to make me cheese toast after a rough week. I love how fearless she is, even when dared to dance to the Chicago soundtrack in her PJS in front of my cousins and aunts. You are a wonder woman. This cake is for you mom.

Now if only I could ship it to California...

Since I can't, I went ahead and ate a little myself.
Okay, more than a little. I need to escape today. 

It's not surprising that I fell in love with a cake but it is true love. Sweet, fruity, salty, ...crunchy? Yeah, there's a little crunch in there. Do not under estimate texture in cake, friends! I don't care if it sounds weird, crispness is underrated.

So what is Escape to the Tropics? Banana White Chocolate Cake with Milk Crumbs and Coconut Frosting. The banana cake is heavier than your average boxed variety, more similar to a banana bread with (white) chocolate chips, but it's buttery and moist and will leave you wanting more. What are milk crumbs? Well, only the best thing to come out of the Momofuku Milk Bar. You have to trust me hear because the recipe is going to sound weird but I assure you, you'll be addicted soon. Good luck getting to the crumbs into your cake filing because if you're like me you'll eat half of them before the white chocolate cools. As for the coconut buttercream, it's the perfectly sweet and fluffy compliment to the banana.  This cake will briefly let you escape to the tropics... In your mouth.  It's a good thing. I promise. 

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Honestly, I probably shouldn't eat this cake before heading off to the tropics myself next week... but screw it. I miss my mom. I am going in for another slice!

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Happy Mother's Day mamas!

Banana Cake

  • 1 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 large, very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted until browned
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted with butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour three 9' cake rounds to prevent batter from sticking to pans. Set aside. 

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat together eggs and sugar until combined. Add in vanilla. Mix until smooth. Add in sour cream and melted butter and coconut oil. 

Gradually add in dry ingredients until combined, scraping down sides as needed. Next, add in bananas and milk. Beat until smooth. 

Stir in white chocolate chips with a spoon. Evenly distribute into three cake rounds to form thin layers. Bake in oven at 350° for about 25 minutes each. Keep an eye on the cakes as they will cook quickly being so shallow. Edges will be lightly browned and just start to lift from the sides when ready to remove. Let cakes cool on cooling rack for thirty minutes to an hour before assembling cake. 

Milk Crumbs [modified from recipe via Bon Appetit]

  • 1/2 milk powder, whole
  • 1/4 flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk powder (round 2)
  • 3 oz white chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Preheat oven to 200°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a medium mixing bowl combine first 5 dry ingredients and mix together. Stir in melted butter until crumbs form. Spread crumbs out on baking sheet and break up any crumbs that are too large. Bake for 20 min. 

Let crumbs cool completely.

Melt white chocolate in a double broiler and mix in coconut extract. Pour over crumbs with 1/4 cup of milk powder and toss until evenly coated. Let dry and harden for ten minutes. 

Coconut Frosting

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (16 tablespoons)
  • 1 lb. confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 3/4 cup sweetened, flaked coconut

In a stand mixer beat butter for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Slowly add in confectioners sugar on a low speed until combined. Add in vanilla and coconut extracts and mix until uniform and smooth. Use immediately or wrap in airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week. 

Sweetened Coconut will be added in the assembly of the cake. 


When all three components are ready place one cake round on cake stand. Add a heaping dollop of coconut buttercream to the center of round and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle crumbs around the layer until coated. 

Continue this step for next layer of cake. When third round is placed on top scoop majority of the remaining frosting on the top and spread with a frosting spatula until coming off the sides. Rotate and spread frosting around edges of the cake until completes white. Don't worry about smoothness or "pretty-ness" because next you coat the whole thing in sweetened flaked coconut. Cover entire outside of cake until satisfied with the look. 

Now dig in and fantasize of vacation on the beach. Only you don't have to worry about wearing a bathing suit because this is a fantasy (phew!). 

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