Spiced with cinnamon and studded with pecans, this cake is a true Southern classic. Bananas and pineapple give it a luscious texture, and its flavors mingle and grow more intense the day after baking.
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 5 large bananas)
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
5 to 6 cups confectioners' sugar
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment and butter it as well. Lightly dust the pans with flour, tapping the pans on the counter to shake out the excess.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, mace, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), beat both sugars with the oil for 2 to 3 minutes, until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then mix for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, bananas, and pineapple, mixing until just combined. On low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, beating until combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Fold in 1/2 cup of the pecans.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Tap the pans firmly on the countertop to remove any air bubbles from the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes, then remove the layers from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
To assemble the cake: Level the top of one of the layers with a serrated knife so it is flat. Place the cut side down on a serving plate. Using an offset spatula or a butter knife, spread the top of the layer with a dollop of frosting. Place the second cake later on top, right side up, and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Decorate the sides of the cake with the remaining 1 cup of pecans. The cake can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature.
To make frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer) beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, beating until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. The frosting can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Make Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting by adding 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
when you add the confectioners' sugar.