3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe banana
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 egg yolks
3 bananas, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup unsweetened flaked or shredded dried coconut, toasted
FOR CAKE: Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. To make the cake, in a large bowl and using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Continue beating until very light and fluffy, about 10 minutes longer. Mix in the buttermilk and mashed banana.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed just until moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute. Then, using a wooden spoon, fold in the pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25-35 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then invert the cakes onto the racks to cool completely.
FOR CUSTARD: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or plastic wrap and set aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine the coconut milk and whole milk and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside. In a bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Add the eggs yolks and stir briskly until blended. Whisk half of the hot milk into the sugar-yolk mixture to temper it, then whisk the sugar-yolk mixture into the remaining hot milk in the saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and thick, 3-4 minutes. Spread the custard on the prepared baking sheet; cover with a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
TO ASSEMBLE: In a bowl, toss the banana slices with the lemon juice and sugar. Trim the top of a cake layer so that it is level and place on a serving plate. Spread with a thin layer of the custard, arrange the banana slices on top, and then spread a thin layer of custard over the bananas. Place the second cake layer on top, bottom down, and spread the top with the remaining custard. Garnish with the coconut, mounding it on top. Serve at once or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Active Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time: 55 Minutes
Yield: 8 Servings