Margaret Button | Kitchen Comfort: Hummingbird Cake — a delicious slice of tropical flavors

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When I was looking through my Aunt Marion's cookbook just before Christmas in search of her bourbon ball recipe, I ran across a clipping from Southern Living magazine for Hummingbird Cake. I have no idea why it's called that, maybe because of all the fruit ... I remember it's a very dense, moist cake with an almost tropical island taste. It's definitely worth trying for your next gala event.

On another note, thank you to Martha Fahey of Dalton and childhood friend, Marcia Whittle Price, now of the state of Florida, for giving me their mothers' cookie presses. Martha's was exactly like the one I was looking for. And the good news is, Marcia's mother' makes smaller cookies and had quite a few different plates. Thank you, ladies!

Hummingbird Cake

INGREDIENTS:


1 cup chopped pecans

Vegetable cooking spray

Parchment paper

3 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour (such as White Lily)

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups chopped bananas (about 4 medium bananas)

1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice

Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)

Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 . Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

Coat 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottom of each pan with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add eggs, oil, and vanilla, and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in bananas, pineapple, and pecans. (Batter will be very thick, more like banana bread batter than cake batter.) Spoon batter into prepared pans.

Bake at 350 for 28 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire rack, and cool completely (about 30 minutes). Peel off and discard parchment paper.

Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with one-fourth of frosting. Repeat procedure once. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Garnish, if desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting

INGREDIENTS:


2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

DIRECTIONS:

Place first 3 ingredients in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer, and beat at medium speed using the paddle attachment until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Beat at medium-high speed 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.


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