Friday, July 15, 2011

hummingbird cake

If I had to name my favorite cake, hummingbird might be it. While I love Texas sheet cake, and coconut cake, and caramel cake...okay, most cakes...hummingbird really, well...takes the cake (forgive me).

For those of you who aren't familiar with this dessert, it's sort of a combination of ambrosia and carrot cake...the tropical but often packaged components of ambrosia combined with the hint of spice and cream cheese frosting of carrot cake. That description doesn't do it justice at all, though. While the ingredients by themselves are humble, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The origin of the cake's name is debatable; some say it's called hummingbird cake because it is so good it makes you hum with pleasure. In my opinion, the more convincing explanation is that it is sweet enough for hummingbirds, who are apparently very picky eaters; they only drink nectar that is at least 10% sugar.

I can guarantee this recipe is more than 10% sugar.

But take heart! One thing I like about this cake is that even though it's chock full of fat, sugar, and refined carbs, I can half-convince myself it's healthy because of the large quantity of fruit and nuts it also contains. Also, cake is good for your soul, so this has that going for it. I say eat up.

hummingbird cake
adapted from Southern Living
makes one three-layer cake (about 16 servings)
per serving:  536.3 cal, 23.4g fat, 78.8g carb, 3.5g fiber, 6.0g protein, 15+ weight watchers (hey, it's cake)

  1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  1 tsp baking soda
  1 tsp salt
  1 3/4 c sugar
  1 tsp cinnamon
  3 large eggs
  1/2 c vegetable oil
  1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
  1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1 (8-oz) can crushed pineapple
    in juice
  1 c chopped toasted pecans
  3 large bananas, mashed
  1 (8-oz) package light cream
    cheese, softened
  1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
  16 oz powdered sugar
  1/2 c toasted coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans and coat with flour.

Whisk together first six ingredients (flour through cinnamon) in large bowl, then mix together all other cake ingredients (eggs through bananas) in medium bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir together until combined.

Pour into prepared pans and bake approximately 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes then flip onto wire rack. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting: beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer medium speed until combined. Gradually add powdered sugar and continue beating until smooth and creamy.

Spread frosting between cake layers and on top and sides of cake. Top with toasted coconut.

Forgive the background...this was for an office birthday!

1 comment:

  1. Oo thanks for sharing the history behind the name- I was always curious about that. I remember you bringing these cakes to Davidson after your visits back to Bamberg.... so delicious.