My very last afternoon in London, some of my friends and I planned to meet up to get coffee and say our goodbyes. I was the second of our group to arrive at Lantana, an Australian cafe in Fitzrovia, only to find that it was closing. My friend Jeannie and I had just enough time to make last minute orders – mine was an Americano and a Lantana “crack cake.” With a name like that? I had to.
I can’t be sure what exactly was in them; my memory’s hazy and I can’t find a description online (most of what people write about crack cake online are warnings: the Lantana website calls it “infamous”). I know there was banana and coconut going on... maybe some pineapple? Cream cheese frosting, definitely. I remember it being extremely good.
My other memories of that afternoon are equal parts happy, sad, and exhausting. It was nice to spend my last sunny afternoon in London with Marielle and Jeannie, but I was already feeling nostalgic for England and was sad to be leaving. I also had a really, really bad cold. If ever there was a need for crack cake, it was then.
Adapted from Paula Deen’s (I know, I know) hummingbird cake recipe
Makes three 8-inch cakes [I made 24 mini muffins, 6 muffins, and a 9-inch cake]
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
2 ripe bananas, mashed
¾ cup flaked coconut
1 pound (approx. 4 cups) icing sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk, or more if needed
In a large bowl, stir to combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, oil, bananas, pineapple, vanilla, eggs and coconut.
Divide the batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Allow cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
With an electric mixer, whip cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk on medium-high speed until frosting is smooth. Add the sugar in two batches, mixing thoroughly. If needed, add more milk or sugar to get the right consistency.
After icing the cake, I topped it with toasted flaked coconut (spread the coconut on a baking sheet in a 350° F oven; stir occasionally, and toast for 5-10 minutes).
Store this beast in the fridge (y’know... cream cheese).