I made: Hummingbird cake!

Hummingbird cake is a Southern classic comprised of a banana/pineapple cake with cream cheese frosting.  Y’all, I’m now up to TWO cakes for the year, which is about as many as I made in the entirety of last year.

I got this recipe from The Kitchn, which is my favorite professional-quality resource for baking.  The recipes from The Kitchn don’t just explain how to do things, they explain WHY they work and they provide very detailed photo step-by-step instructions.  Also, they almost never include dumb personal details about people’s kids that you have to scroll through before the actual recipe.

There are three parts to this recipe: the cake itself, the frosting, and the decorative pineapple “flowers.”  (Sadly, these are not potato chips, as many have thought.)

Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350F, coat 2 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment paper rounds.
  • Mix dry ingredients in large bowl: 3 cups flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup packed dark brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt.
  • Mix wet ingredients: 3 eggs, 3/4 cup canola oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 8-oz can crushed pineapple, 2 cups ripe mashed banana.  It’s ok if lumpy.
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients then fold in 1 cup chopped pecans.  Don’t overmix.
  • Pour the mix evenly into the 2 pans and bake for 35-40 minutes.  (I checked at 40 and felt like it could use another 5 minutes which seemed fine.)
  • Cool the cakes in pans for 10 minutes then flip out to finish cooling.

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(You may recall that in my previous post, I discussed having problems with my 9-inch cake pan.  Well, that’s because I’m a moron and I thought I had a 9-inch cake pan but it was actually clearly a much smaller pan.  I realized this when I went to the store and looked at the actual 9-inch pans.  Problem now solved.)

Frosting:

  • Beat 1 cup room temperature butter for about 1 minute until smooth.
  • Add 8 oz room temperature cream cheese and beat for about 3 minutes.
  • Add 1 pound sifted powdered sugar, about 4.5 cups, gradually adding 1 cup at a time and scraping down sides.
  • Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp salt.
  • Beat again for 3-5 minutes.
  • Once the cake is cool, frost it.  It’s a pretty simple layer cake frosting.  Put one layer of the cake on the stand and anchor it down with a smudge of frosting on the very bottom.  Then put 1/3 of the frosting on top of the cake.  Then put the other layer of the cake on top and put another 1/3  of frosting on the top layer.  Finally put the last 1/3 of the frosting on the sides.  It’s definitely more than enough frosting so you won’t run out, just mush it on as well as you can.

Pineapple flowers:

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  • Set oven to 200F.  If you just baked your cake, leave the door open for a little bit to bring it down from 350.  Put a rack on the lowest part of the oven and remove the other racks.
  • Take a WHOLE PINEAPPLE, cut off the top and bottom, and peel it.  Trim off the “eyes.”
  • Thinly slice the pineapple into 1/8 inch thick rounds.  The recipe says that it should yield 24-36 thin slices.
  • Pat the slices dry with paper towels.
  • Set up the slices on wire racks on a baking sheet.  The recipe suggested using multiple wire racks stacked using foil balls as spacers so that you can fit all the pineapple on one baking sheet without overlapping them.
  • Bake for 2-3 hours.
  • Once you remove them, you can shape them around muffin tins, glasses, or your hands if you want.  Then put them on top of the cake!

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OVERALL:

  • This cake tasted really good!  It was kind of like banana bread, but sweeter and more cakey.
  • The cream cheese frosting was also amazing and went REALLY well with the pineapple flowers.  If you don’t want to make a cake I recommend just making pineapple flowers and dipping them into the frosting yum yum.

NEXT TIME:

  • I need to order some of those pre-cut parchment paper rounds if I’m gonna keep making round cakes. It’s really annoying to cut them out by hand.
  • The most difficult part of this was the pineapple flowers.  I think my problem was that some of my slices were too thick.  But even the ones that weren’t as thick definitely weren’t ready at 3 hours.  It took about 4 hours for the thinnest slices to get to a consistency I liked for decorations.  I had to get somewhere so sadly I left behind about half the slices in the oven.
  • I would want to get fancier with decorations.  You could do fun stuff with toasted pecans, or piping the frosting on top in prettier ways!

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