Friday, May 14, 2010

Hummingbird Cake

When planning brunch for Mother's Day, I was flipping through my Savannah Desserts cookbook, looking for something that would catch my eye. I wanted something decadent but not heavy and something that I could imagine Paula Deen serving me. Sure enough, this Hummingbird Cake caught my eye. You know, women sometimes are given a hard time for having a sweet tooth, but in my experience, that applies more to chocolate. It is the men I have known who really like their sugar, and this cake has plenty of it.

This is a different style of cake, very dense and moist, almost more like the texture of banana bread. The pineapple, banana, and oil make it so tender, and the pecans vary the texture of the cake. Next time, I might roast the pecans to deepen the flavor even more. The whole thing is topped off with a sugary cream cheese frosting. This sure was a big hit, and it went so well with the overall theme of the brunch.

Hummingbird Cake
source: Savannah Rum Runners Bakery in Savannah Classic Desserts by Janice Shay

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 (11 oz) can crushed pineapple, with juice (I used an 8 oz can.)
2 cups diced bananas
2 cups pecans (I had 1 1/2 cups, which was plenty)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (I ended up only using 3 1/2 cups.)


Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Butter two 9-inch cake pans.

To make the cake, combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder in a large bowl. Mix until well-blended with a wire whisk. Add the eggs and oil and stir with a wooden spoon until moist. Add the pineapple, bananas, pecans, and vanilla. Stir until well-blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
Bake for 25 minutes (Mine took closer to 35), or until a tester inserted near the center of one of the cakes comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto racks and remove the pans. Finish cooling before frosting.

To make the icing, beat the cream cheese and vanilla until very soft. Add the confectioners' sugar gradually, beating until fully blended and a soft spreading consistency has been reached. Add a little milk if necessary to achieve a spreading consistency. Spread over the top of one layer. Set the second layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake.