Hummingbird cake

Hummingbird cakeAs you already know, I like to make sweets. And I’m pretty unbiased: I make cookies, cupcakes, brownies, ice cream, pies, tarts, candy. You name it, I pretty much make it. But there is one type of dessert I have yet to attempt. And that dessert is a layered cake.

I mean, I’ve made cake before, but it’s been a simple one-layer. I wanted to try something that involved a little more work and skill—and I wanted to make sure that my first multi-layer cake was a doozy.

And that is how I found this hummingbird cake. When I brought it into work, everyone wanted to know, “What is hummingbird cake?” So for those of you who are asking the same thing, here it is: A hummingbird cake is a traditional southern spice cake that is typically made with banana and pineapples. The cake is a similar consistency to a carrot cake, but this cake incorporates bananas, pineapples, and toasted pecans.

Cooking spray
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup pecan pieces
3 ripe bananas, chopped
½ cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1¾ cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil

For the frosting:
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (at room temperature)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Hummingbird cakeDirections:

  1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with vegetable cooking spray (or butter and flour). Set aside.
  2. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake until fragrant and toasted, about 8 minutes. Let them cool slightly, then roughly chop. Toss the pecans with the bananas, pineapple and ½ cup flour in a small bowl.
  3. Whisk the remaining 2¼ cups flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat the eggs and granulated sugar in a separate bowl with a mixer on high speed until thick and light (about 5 minutes). Gradually beat in the vegetable oil.
  4. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg mixture, then gently fold to make a thick batter with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
  5. Fold in the pecan-fruit mixture, then transfer the batter to the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are firm and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes.
  6. Cool in the pans on a rack for 25 minutes, then invert the cakes onto the rack to cool completely.
  7. Make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with a mixer until fluffy, then gradually beat in the butter until combined. Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.
  8. Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread about half of the frosting on top, then cover with the other cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.
  9. Feel free to garnish with additional pecans if you wish!

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