Friday, May 22, 2009

Hummingbird Cake

Let me introduce you to my new favorite, albeit strangely named, cake: Hummingbird Cake. Though the name "hummingbird cake" may conjure cringe-worthy images of scattered feathers, beaks, and blood, I assure you that no birds are harmed during the making of this cake. I'm not positive about how it got its name, but the most common explanation I've heard is that it's as sweet as the nectar that hummingbirds love. Charming, isn't it? Its Caribbean and Deep South roots are evident in the ingredient list, which includes pineapple, banana, a healthy dose of cinnamon, and a lusciously smooth cream cheese icing. It's such a welcome break from the usual chocolate or yellow cakes that, while delicious, can get old. Please, do yourself and your loved ones a favor- bake this cake for someone's birthday, or for a family picnic, or just because it's Wednesday. You'll be surprised at how good this really is, and anyone who tastes it will think you're a genius.

I made this cake as a late Mother's Day treat, but I'm positive that I'll be making this several more times throughout the summer. My favorite part about it (other than the deliciousness factor) is how unfussy it is to prepare. Honestly, it's the closest thing to idiot-proof as cakes get. Just dump everything into a bowl, mix, bake, and *VOILA*... instant popularity at the next family picnic.

Hummingbird Cake
3 cups self-rising flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
1 8oz. can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans for baking.
2. In a large bowl, stir to combine self-rising flour, sugar, oil, pecans, bananas, pineapple, vanilla, cinnamon, and eggs.
3. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing with a spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertips, 25-30 minutes.
4. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire rack. Re-invert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.

Cream Cheese Icing
2 8oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
2 lbs. powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp. vanilla extract

In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine cream cheese and butter; cream until smooth. Add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.


  1. Shockingly gorgeous! I might bake the cake but I'd never be able to decorate like that. Wonderful crumb shot. It is a fun name for a cake.

  2. Can I use cake flour and baking soda and/or baking powder to make up for it not being self-rising? Is that possible or am I just making stuff up and revealing my ignorance? If it IS possible -thereby saving my face- do you know how much of each?

    And what is the meaning of life? How many feathers would weigh a pound? Is my stepmom the only one who wishes my mom had not encouraged my question asking so heartily? Did my biology professor mind all the questions? Will JESUS mind???

    Wait, what were we talking about?

  3. Haha! Ah, Kirsten, that's why we love ya :). Yes, you can make your own self-rising flour. I'll email you instructions.

  4. What a gorgeous cake! You are quite a talented decorator.

  5. Ooooh, I love Hummingbird Cake, and this one is particularly pretty! :)