hummingbird cake

May 9, 2014 § 129 Comments

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I love the look of this cake.  Just the titling alone is enough to make you stop and pay attention.  It is earthy and rustic, but charming at the same time. Hummingbird cake is a vintage blue ribbon cake.  The first known publication of this recipe was in the February 1978 edition of Southern Living Magazine. It was elected the magazine’s favorite recipe at one point, and won the Favorite Cake Award at the 1978 Kentucky State Fair, as well as several blue ribbons at other county fairs.  If you enjoy banana bread you will love this cake.  Similar to carrot cake, however, if you don’t care for carrots in your cake, try this as an alternative. Three layers with pecans, mashed bananas, crushed pineapple and a cream cheese frosting.  A county fair type of cake.

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And talk about a sense of urgency…I’m taking my cake and I am on my way to Fiesta Friday #15.  I took one look at Selma’s Asparagus and Feta Cigars and I couldn’t get this cake frosted fast enough.

Recipe adapted from Kinfolk.

I n g r e d i e n t s 

For the cake:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3-1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 bananas, finely chopped
  • 1 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, beaten and at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups pecans, chopped

For the frosting:

  • Two 8 ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • confectioners’ sugar, approximately 3 cups
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Position two racks in the upper third and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease three 9-inch round cake pans with the butter.  Dust the pans with 1/4 cup flour and knock out any excess; set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the remaining 3 cups flour, the sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Add the eggs and oil and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in the pineapple, vanilla, and half of the pecans.

Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans.  Set two pans on the top rack and one on the bottom.  Bake, rotating and alternating the cakes halfway through the baking time, for 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.  Transfer the cakes to racks and cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert them directly onto the racks and cool completely, about 1 hour.

While the cake cools prepare the frosting.  Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Decrease the speed to low and add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla.  I usually do a taste test to see how much sugar is needed to my desired sweetness.  It is usually less than the recipe calls for.  Beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

To assemble, spread the frosting between the layers, scattering some of the remaining pecans in between.  Continue spreading the frosting on the top and sides of the cake and sprinkle the remaining pecans on top.

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And speaking of vintage, this little guy has been watching over me in the kitchen since Christmas.  One day I mentioned to my teenage son how I wanted a Pillsbury Doughboy when I was a little girl, but my wish never came true. He searched and found one on Etsy and this was his gift to me.  It’s vintage…1971.  A vintage cake and a vintage doughboy.  His real name is Poppin’ Fresh.

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