Hummingbird Cake Recipe:
1 cup (100 grams) pecans
3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour
2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon (3 grams) ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup (180 ml) safflower, vegetable, corn, or canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 - 8 ounce (227 grams) can crushed pineapple, do not drain
2 cups (400 grams) mashed ripe bananas (about 4 medium sized bananas)
Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup (55 grams) butter, room temperature
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound box (450 grams) (about 4 cups) confectioners sugar (powdered or icing), sifted
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (50 grams) finely chopped pecans
Hummingbird Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Butter, or spray with a non stick spray, two - 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop finely.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Then stir in the chopped pecans.
In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, and mashed bananas. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, flip the cakes right side up, and then cool completely before frosting.
Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and cream cheese, on medium-low speed, until very smooth. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on medium-low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and then beat (or stir) in the finely chopped pecans.
To assemble: Place one cake on your serving platter. Spread with about a third of the frosting. Gently place the other cake layer on top and spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Can garnish with pecan halves. If not serving immediately, refrigerate the cake. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Serves 14-16 people.
Hummingbird Cake is such a lovely name. Although no one seems to know why or how this name came about, it does seem plausible that it may have something to do with how sugary rich this cake is - just like the nectar that Hummingbirds love to feed on. What we do know is that the recipe gained widespread popularity after it appeared in the February 1978 issue of Southern Living Magazine. We also know that the recipe was submitted by a Mrs. L. H. Wiggins of Greensboro North Carolina and consists of two layers of cake full of chopped pecans, crushed pineapple, and mashed bananas that are filled and frosted with a delicious cream cheese icing.
This Hummingbird Cake is moist and tender aided by the use of oil, instead of butter. My motto these days is "the easier, the better" and this cake fits the bill. No mixer is needed, just two bowls; one for the wet ingredients and one for the dry. Stir the two together and you are done. This cake is similar to a carrot cake, especially when filled and frosted with the ever popular cream cheese icing. The icing is slightly different in that it has a nice caramel flavor, thanks to the addition of finely chopped pecans. Because this cake is so rich it needs to be served in small slices, which makes it the perfect cake for large gatherings.
A Southern cake needs a Southern ingredient, and we definitely find it in pecans. Pecans are a native American nut and are a member of the hickory family. It is the third ranking crop in the United States, cultivated in the States of Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida. They are at their peak when harvested in the fall, but are available year round. A smooth, reddish-brown, one-inch (2.5 cm) long oval shell encloses two golden-brown crinkled lobes with ivory-colored meat. Pecans have a buttery, soft-textured, slightly bittersweet taste that is enhanced when toasted. Their high fat content (over 70%) causes them to go rancid quickly so store in the refrigerator (3 months) or freezer (6 months) in airtight containers or plastic bags. If you can't find pecans, you can use walnuts.