Monday, August 31, 2009

Hummingbird Cake

Some things that you'll quickly learn about me through this blog:
(1) I love to bake layer cakes -- the higher, the better!
(2) I am a *very* improvisational baker -- I know baking is a science, but I still like to play around
(3) I usually screw up something in a recipe...but it usually works out for the best

My roommate of 3 years, Amanda, moved back home this weekend (sad!) so we had a big good-bye brunch to send her off. And any big celebration calls for a big big layer cake! Linda found this amazing-looking recipe and we knew that we had to make it ASAP. It was perfect for this brunch - cream cheese frosting, fruity and nutty...mmm SO GOOD.

True to my form, I made some adjustments to the recipe:
-I used plantains instead of bananas. I saw them at the store and just HAD to get them. I never see ripe plantains at my local grocery, and I happened to go to a different store for this trip, so I went with it.
-I used walnuts instead of pecans... why? Because the pecans I bought disappeared!! And I am impatient, so I reached for the walnuts that I had on hand.
-I added coconut extract to make the cake a little more tropical.
-I used way less sugar in the frosting. The two pounds in the original recipe was excessive. I like frosting to be less sweet, to balance the cake.
-I used half cream cheese, half Neufchâtel. I messed up at the store and didn't look at what I was grabbing off the shelf. Yep, I told you that I usually screw up something in a recipe...

But even with all of these adjustments, intentional and not, the cake was DELICIOUS! It disappeared so quickly! This cake definitely turned out to be as yummy as it looks, and it was very very easy! Especially without any complicated filling, the cream cheese was so good between each layer, keeping the cake moist.

Hummingbird Cake
As adapted from CakeSpy

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 4 oz crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (or walnuts!)
  • 2 cups very ripe bananas (or plantains!)

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened (or half Neufchâtel)
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 8-10 oz powdered sugar, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon together into mixing bowl. Add eggs and oil to the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple and the nuts. Stir in the bananas/plantains. Spoon the batter into 3 well-greased 9-inch round cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (mine took a lot longer, more like 40 minutes), or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting: Combine cream cheese and butter; cream until smooth. Add powdered sugar a little at a time until desired sweetness, beating with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.

Frost the tops of all 3 layers, stack and then frost sides. Garnish with nuts, strawberries, whipped cream...whatever you like!

1 comment:

  1. OMG I'm so glad that you didn't actually use bananas - b/c I am afraid of bananas - and I ate the cake.
    It was SO delicious!


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