Monday, February 23, 2009
Looking for an easy three-layer cake to make for your next teatime? After experimenting with a new recipe in honor of my daddy's 70th (!) birthday yesterday, I am happy to be able to recommend this easy Hummingbird Cake. I've had this particular recipe sitting around in my recipe clip file for years, but I don't have occasion to make that many "fancy" cakes. Since my sister was cooking supper for everyone yesterday, I volunteered to bake the cake and was pleasantly surprised at how easy this one was to make.
Now some of you are no doubt saying "Hummingbird cake? Humph. That's no big deal." And you would be right. It's apparently been around for a few decades now, but hey, it's new to me! I love the combination of pineapple, bananas and pecans, and of course that fabulous cream cheese frosting.
But why on earth do they call this thing "Hummingbird Cake" when there are (happily for the hummingbirds) no hummingbirds in it? A little research reveals two schools of thought on the matter. 1) Foodtimeline.org says that "recent evidence suggests this confection descended from Jamaican roots. The hummingbird (aka Dr. Bird) is one of the national symbols." So that theory postulates that the cake is named in honor of a particular Jamaican hummingbird. 2) The second theory, and the one I like best, is southern and sweeter. This theory says that just as a hummingbird is attracted to sweet nectar, so is the southerner attracted to this super sweet cake which first appeared in Southern Living magazine in 1978.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups chopped bananas (about 4)
2 cups chopped pecans, divided
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter or margarine, softened
2 (16-ounce) boxes of confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three (9-inch) round cake pans and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and stir until combined. Add eggs and oil, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add vanilla, pineapple and juice, bananas and 1 cup of the pecans and mix. Divide among the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of the cakes comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn onto racks to cool completely.
Frosting: With electric mixer, blend cream cheese and butter or margarine until well combined. Slowly add confectioners sugar and beat until light and fluffy, then add vanilla and salt. Generously spread the frosting between the layers. Ice top and sides of cake, and sprinkle remaining pecans over the top. Makes 10 to 12 servings.