Wednesday 28 March 2018

Hummingbird Cake.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

It's the perfect cake to grace your next afternoon tea table.
Even though I shot this recipe when the snow was still on the ground, this cake is perfect for Spring.
Named after the hummingbird, the cake is very tropical in flavour. I had always heard about it but never baked it myself.
Until last year when I came across the recipe in this book, and decided to finally try it once and for all. As soon as I tasted it, I was hooked. The flavour combinations in the cake and icing went so well together and I knew that I had to share the recipe with you guys as soon as possible.
Let's discuss the cake in detail. It starts with a batter which has banana, pineapple, pecans and cinnamon running through it. The cakes are baked up in sandwich tins but I think that the batter would make a really good banana bread too.
I had extra cake batter leftover (which I talk about more in the full recipe below) and made mini hummingbird cake cupcakes. How cute, right? You could use this same cake recipe for a full batch of cupcakes too.
To sandwich the cakes, I made a lime cream cheese icing. This icing is traditional for the hummingbird cake and goes so well with the banana sponge. I love the addition of zingy lime too as it cuts through any richness.
Finally, for a little crunch, I made a simple pecan brittle to go over the top of the cake. I bashed the brittle up so that it became almost like a sugary nutty sprinkle over the icing. So good! And, up there we have a slice of this hummingbird cake in all its glory. You guys have got to make this during the upcoming Easter holiday. It will be a real hit with anyone you serve it to.

Sandwich Cakes, previously: mocha marble cake with coffee buttercream // strawberries and cream cake // heavenly chocolate cake

A Simple List of Ingredients:

For the Cake:
1. Self-Raising Flour
2. Ground Cinnamon
3. Caster Sugar
4. Salt
5. Bananas
6. Pineapple Chunks
7. Vegetable Oil
8. Eggs
9. Vanilla Extract
10. Pecans

For the Icing:
1. Icing Sugar
2. Butter
3. Cream Cheese
4. Lime

For the Pecan Brittle:
1. Caster Sugar
2. Water
3. Pecans

Bismillah, let's begin!

First, we're going to bake our cakes so that they have enough time to cool completely before we ice them. So, pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4 or 180C or 350F.

Grease and line 2 loose-bottom sandwich cake tins measuring 23cm (9 inches). I actually used 20cm normal cake tins which worked well too but meant that I had leftover cake batter. Not one to waste anything so I used it to bake up little hummingbird cake cupcakes which I'll show you later.

I mixed my cake batter up by hand in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. First, the dry ingredients. Into the large bowl, sieve in 350g Self-Raising Flour.

Along with 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon.

Once those two have been sieved in ...

... pour in 350g Caster Sugar.

It's a lot of sugar but this cake will feed a lot of people - around 14 or so.

Add 1/4 teaspoon Salt and whisk everything well.

Set the dry bowl aside until needed.

Time to work on the wet ingredients which start with 4 ripe medium Bananas.

Peel them!

And, mash them with a fork!

Until you have a chunky puree in your bowl.

Next, let's prep the pineapple. I used a 425g tin of Pineapple Chunks.

Crack open the tin and give it a drain. You can use the chunks as they are but I decided to chop them up a bit more.

Once chopped, they join the mashed bananas.

Next, the oil. The first time I baked this cake, I used light olive oil. However, this time I could not find in the supermarket at all and so made do with vegetable. Pour in 250ml Vegetable Oil or Light Olive Oil.

The oil helps to keep the cake really soft. Also, please note that extra virgin olive oil will be too strong in this recipe so don't use it.

Next, crack in 2 large Eggs.

Finally, add in 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract.

Give everything a good mix to combine. The oil may be a little tricky to mix in but keep working it and you'll get there.

Let's finish off this batter by pouring the wet mixture into the dry.

Grab a wooden spoon and get mixing.

When you can no longer see the flour, you're done.

But wait! We have to add the pecans. If you're not a fan of nuts in your cake, feel free to leave them out. The cake will be just as good without them.

I love them in this cake. They go so well with the soft cake. Measure out 50g Pecans.

Give them a fine chop.

Throw them into the batter.

A last stir and we are done for real now.

Divide the batter equally between the two tins.

Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes at Gas Mark 4 or 180C or 350F.

The cakes are done when they're golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean with no wet batter on it.

Run a knife around the edges of the cakes and let them cool in their tins for 10 minutes.

Then, carefully flip them out onto wire racks.

Peel off the baking paper which I found very satisfying.

Let the cakes cool completely.

With the cold weather outside, this took no time at all for me.

And, because I used smaller cake tins, I had leftover cake batter. I used it to make cupcakes.

Baked them at the same temperature but only for around 20 minutes. They were also left to cool completely.

While the cakes cool, we can make the lime cream cheese icing. I made mine in my stand mixer with a paddle attachment but you can also make it with an electric hand whisk.

First, into the bowl, sieve in 400g Icing Sugar.

Lump-free sugar helps with a smoother and fluffier icing.

To it, add in 150g Butter, at room temperature.

Beat it well until the two are well combined and pale. Even with a machine, this will take a while - around 5-7 minutes. So, keep the machine going until you have a thick mixture in the bowl.

Next, measure out 200g Cream Cheese. I like to give mine a quick stir by hand to loosen it a bit.

Add the cream cheese to the bowl.

Using a fine grater, grate in the Zest of 1 Lime.

And, squeeze in about 1 tablespoon Lime Juice.

Beat until the icing is well combined and thick.

Set the icing aside until needed.

To recap, the cakes are cooling and our icing is done. Now, we can make the pecan brittle. It's not completely necessary but adds a wonderful crunch to the otherwise soft cake. Before starting, brush a piece of baking paper with oil and set aside. In a light-coloured saucepan, place 100g Caster Sugar and a Splash of Water.

Put the pan over a medium heat and don't stir. Just swirl the pan from time to time.

Keep swirling until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is lightly golden. This is why we use a light-coloured pan so that we can see the colour of the caramel easier.

Add in 50g Pecans.

Stir in the pecans along with a Pinch of Salt.

Cook until the mixture is golden brown.

Carefully pour the mixture onto the oiled paper.

Let the caramel cool completely and set.

Once set, we can bash it up to decorate the cake.

 I bashed mine by breaking it up and putting into a plastic food bag. Then, I used a rolling pin to bash it up. Any extra brittle that isn't used is great with vanilla ice cream.

Once the cakes are cool, we can decorate.

Place one cake onto a cake stand.

Scoop on half the icing.

Spread it evenly to the edges.

As best as you can!

Carefully place the second cake on top.

Place on the second half of the icing.

Smooth it out. I saved some icing and spread it onto the cupcakes.

Nearly there!

Grate over a little more Lime Zest.

Sprinkle over as much of the bashed up Pecan Brittle as you like.

The final touch, a few flowers. Not necessary but very pretty.

Now, we can slice.

You guys, this cake tasted incredible. The sponge was so soft with pineapple and banana running through it along with bursts of pecan here and there. The cream cheese icing with its hit of zingy lime complimented the sponge so well. This cake is a real showstopper and I hope it graces your afternoon tea table this Spring season.

Hummingbird Cake.

banana, pineapple and pecan cake with lime cream cheese icing and a pecan brittle.

Prep Time: About 30 minutes.
Bake Time: About 35-40 minutes.
Serves: About 14 people.


For the Cake
350g Self-Raising Flour
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
350g Caster Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
4 ripe medium Bananas
1 x 425g tin Pineapple Chunks, drained and chopped
250ml Vegetable Oil or Light Olive Oil
2 large Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
50g Pecans, finely chopped

For the Icing
400g Icing Sugar, sifted
150g Butter, at room temperature
200g Cream Cheese
Zest of 1 Lime
1 tablespoon Lime Juice

For the Pecan Brittle
100g Caster Sugar
Water, as needed
50g Pecans

Prep the oven and cake tins:
Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4 or 180C or 350F. Grease and line two 23cm (9 inch) loose-bottomed sandwich cake tins.

Mix up the cake batter:
In a large bowl, sift in the self-raising flour and cinnamon. Whisk in the salt and sugar and set aside.
In another bowl, mash the bananas. Add the pineapple, oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir to combine.
Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture. Add the pecans and stir. Divide between the tins and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and risen. A toothpick inserted into the centre should come out clean.
Run a knife around the edges of the tin and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Then, turn out onto wire racks, remove the paper and let the cakes cool completely.

Make the icing:
Beat the icing sugar and butter really well with an electric whisk until well combined and pale. This will take a good few minutes but should eventually come together. Give the cream a cheese a stir then add to the bowl along with the lime zest and juice. Beat until everything is well combined and thick.

Make the pecan brittle:
Before starting, brush a piece of baking paper with oil and set aside.
Place the sugar and a splash of water in a light coloured pan. Heat over a medium heat and don't stir - just swirl the pan. Cook until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is lightly golden. Stir in the pecans and a pinch of salt and cook until the mixture is golden brown.
Carefully pour out onto a piece of greased baking paper. Leave to set and cool before bashing up until you have crumbs. Any extra brittle is great with ice cream.

Assemble the cake:
Place one cake onto a cake stand. Spread with half the icing and place the second cake on top to sandwich. Put the rest of the icing on top and spread. Grate over a little lime zest, sprinkle over the bashed pecan brittle and decorate with edible flowers, if you have them. Slice and serve with tea.

Recipe Notes

  • I actually used 20cm (8 inch) normal cake tins which worked well but meant that I has extra batter leftover. Not one to waste anything, I used the batter to make little hummingbird cake cupcakes!
{adapted from jamie oliver}

Keep me in your duas please, and enjoy your hummingbird cake!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Spice Enthusiast
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