Thursday, June 30, 2011

Let's Eat Hummingbird Cake

Today I'm sharing a favorite recipe clipped from the newspaper years ago.  It won the blue ribbon at the state fair and could easily be the South's answer to a European torte cake.  It consists of two layers of heavenly cake.  The batter is full of chopped pecans, crushed pineapple and mashed bananas.  The layers are then frosted with a cream cheese and toasted pecan icing.  What a way to end a meal!

For all of the cake's moist richness, it's super easy to make.  No mixer is required, just two mixing bowls, one for wet ingredients and the other for dry.  You then stir the dry ingredients into the wet.

A hummingbird cake is perfect to serve at a 4th of July cookout.  Delish.  Guests always love it.  Best served in small slices; one cake feeds a large gathering.  Here's how to make it:

Ingredients for the batter:
1 cup pecans, finely chopped and toasted in the oven for 15 minutes
3 cups all purpose flour  [I use whole wheat flour]
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
¾  cup canola oil  [Use a light oil, not butter.]
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces crushed pineapple, do not drain  [I use almost all of a 20 ounce can pineapple, than only mash 1 banana]
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium sized bananas)

Directions for the batter:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Butter two 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) round cake pans and set aside.
3. Combine the dry ingredients in one large mixing bowl: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and chopped pecans. Whisk together.
4. Combine the wet ingredients in a second mixing bowl: eggs, vanilla, crushed pineapple, bananas and oil.
5. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat well.
6. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
7. When done, take out of the oven.  Allow the cakes to cool, but remove them from the pans before they get stone cold, or they will stick.  After they are removed from the pans, let them cool completely on racks, or two plates.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Pecan Frosting:
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
16 ounces confectionary sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup, finely chopped pecans, toasted in oven 15 minutes

Directions for frosting:
1) In a bowl beat the butter and cream cheese, on low speed with an electric mixer, until smooth with no lumps.
2) Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully blended and smooth.
3) Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and then stir in the finely chopped pecans.
4) To frost:  I very carefully slice the two cakes in the center so I end up with 4 frosted layers – i.e. the top layer, plus 3 middle layers like a torte.  But you don't need to do this; 2 frosted layers are fine.
5) Spread the icing on the inside layer(s), then frost the top and sides.  

Chill the cake in the refrigerator for about one hour.  Garish with chopped pecans and/or shredded coconut, if you wish.


  1. Wow, this sounds phenomenal. I'm definitely going to have to try it. My hubby loves cake. ;-) Thanks for posting it!

  2. Kathryn, you are a good wife. ; ) What's so wrong with making him a cake that he can't possibly finish all by himself?

  3. Thanks for NOT putting the calorie count on this recipe! That would take all the fun out of it! It does sound delicious, I like anything with pineapple.

  4. There is a way to cut the calories. Reduce the oil by 1/2 cup, and replace it with 1/2 cup of applesauce. Also, only use 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Of course, it doesn't taste as good. I say, make it the fattening way the first time around so you know how it should taste.