Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Hummingbird Cake

hummingbird 2
I promised you a super yummy cake and here it is! Does anyone else find that choosing a birthday cake is beyond difficult?? Probably due to my love of all things cake! Jon’s was sooooooo amazing this year that I had a whole lot to live up to. Bearing in mind this competition is just with myself, I should probably go ahead and get a life right about now…

Ahem, anyway, so I finally decided that I wanted something rich, moist and above all, layered. I do like cupcakes, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something just so majestic about a layer cake. And nothing says birthday like slicing into a mile high pile of sweet, soft cake. Not the same impact with cupcakes (although they’re a lot more portable; something I should’ve considered when making Jon’s cake as that was not easy to carry around London from pub to pub whilst becoming increasingly tipsy!).

Having spent a solid 4 days searching through my vast array of cookbooks, I happened upon a Hummingbird cake. Whilst I did find it in the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, it’s not named after the store - it’s origins come from the Southern states of the US. Beyond that, I’m not sure but at a guess, I’d say the name stems from a hummingbird’s love of sweet things. This cake is along the lines of a banana cake but has the added bonus of pineapple thrown in! The one thing I did find was that the pineapple added greatly to the texture (like carrots in a carrot cake) but I couldn’t really taste it. I’d be tempted to up the quantity slightly when I make this again – and oh my, will I be making this again!!
hummingbird 1
I actually had to be physically restrained from polishing off this whole cake by myself. You know when you just take a sliver to straighten up the side of a cake? But it’s still wonky so you take off another little sliver?? Yeah, I did that. About 10 times a night for a week… So addictive! It also stores beautifully – I’d probably say it improves after a day or two as the flavours really develop (if you can resist not scoffing the lot instantly).

You know what, I’ll bet this would make a great loaf cake too – halve the recipe though as this makes one big cake!

Rosy xx

Hummingbird Cake
Adapted, barely, from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook

300g caster sugar
3 eggs
300ml sunflower oil
270g peeled bananas, mashed (this was about 3 I think – the riper the better)
1 tsp cinnamon, plus a little extra for decoration
300 plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
100g tinned pineapple, chopped into small pieces (I’d imagine crushed would work well too)
100g pecans, chopped, plus extra for decorating

Cream Cheese Icing
600g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g full fat cream cheese, cold

Grease and line 3 20cm round tins. I only have 2 but they’re nice and deep and it worked fine, they just need longer to bake.

Preheat oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment (or a hand held mixer), beat the caster sugar, eggs, sunflower oil, bananas and cinnamon until incorporated.- don’t worry if it looks a little split, it’ll be fine.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add this slowly to the wet mixture, followed by the vanilla, and mix until incorporated.

Stir in the pineapple and pecans by hand. Split this between the tins, smooth down the tops and bake for 20-25 mins until springy to the touch and a skewer comes out clean.

To make the icing:

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the icing sugar and butter until well mixed. It’s not going to come together yet and you do need to mix for quite a while to make sure the butter is fully incorporated.

Add the cream cheese all in one go and beat on high for 5 mins until light and fluffy. Be careful not to overbeat though.

To ice the cake:

If the cakes have domes (mine did, probably because I only used 2 rather than 3 tins) it’s best to level the tops off with a sharp knife. I didn’t and you can tell by the amount of icing used to patch up the gap!

Place little squares of parchment all around your serving plate and place one layer on top. Spread with icing, place the second layer on, spread with icing and top with the third layer. Cover the whole cake with a thin layer of icing – this doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s to catch the crumbs so that the top layer won’t have stray crumbs floating in it. Pop the cake in the fridge for 15 mins to set.

Once cool, ice the whole thing neatly with a final layer and decorate with pecans and a dusting of cinnamon. Carefully remove the parchment paper and serve!

1 comment:

  1. I've always wanted to try a Humminbird Cake - may need to try now. Your photo's have made my mouth water!