An American classic, the Hummingbird Cake is a beautiful mix of bananas, pineapple and pecans, with a dash of spice and a generous serving of cream cheese icing. I had the pleasure of making a second birthday cake for the husband and we went for something a little different. We had never made one of these before, in fact my husband had never even eat a slice of Hummingbird before. But safe to say, it is now one of our favourites! I started with a Women’s Weekly recipe for our first attempt but added in pecans, as this seems to be what most traditional recipes call for. I baked the cake in two smaller cake tins and made extra icing so I could fully cover the cake and have a little icing in between the layers. Sprinkled with crushed pecans, it’s a striking cake to look at but even more exciting to eat. In fact, I am eating a piece right now! I think it would also be great made into cupcakes.
Makes two 18cm/7inch cakes
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup pecans, plus extra for decorating
440g (15.5 oz) tin of crushed pineapple in juice
1 cup mashed banana (2-3 medium over ripe bananas)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Cream cheese frosting
60 grams (1/3 cup) butter, softened
200 grams (7 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence)
1 tablespoon milk
3 and 1/2 cups of icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (320 F). Grease and line the bottom of two 18cm round cake tins with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flours, bicarb soda and spices. Add the sugar and desiccated coconut and give it a good stir. Lightly chop the pecans and throw them in the bowl too. Open the tin of pineapple and separate the pineapple from the juice by pouring all of the contents into a sift over a small bowl and pressing down on the pineapple with the back of a spoon. Wait until most of the liquid has been removed and set aside 1/4 cup of the juice.
Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture, add the mashed banana, pineapple, pineapple juice, eggs and oil. Mix with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are combined. Split the batter into the two pans and bake in the oven for approximately 35 minutes or until cooked through. Leave to cool, then remove the cakes from their pans and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. To make the icing, place the butter, cream cheese and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat until combined. Add the milk if the mixture is looking a little dry, then sift in the icing sugar, one cup at a time. Beat until icing is creamy and smooth. Place a generous layer of icing between the two cakes and then cover completely with the rest of the icing. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Women’s Weekly Bake cookbook.