I was disappointed this week to learn that the new owners of one of our favorite neighborhood bistros has changed the menu and done away with one of my favorite traditional Southern desserts. I first came across a recipe for Hummingbird Cake as a newlywed. Wanting to master a spectacular dessert, I gave it a try and found that it isn’t hard at all. Like Red Velvet Cake, it’s a showy cake that makes a statement and has become popular with Southern brides as a wedding cake.
Because it contains bananas, pineapple, and cinnamon, legend has it that the recipe migrated here from Jamaica. Some say the cake may have been named for the small hummingbird that is so fond of a sweet taste. Whatever its history, it’s a delicious way to end a meal. Just don’t think about the calories! Here’s the recipe:
Grease and flour three 9 inch round cake pans. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350.
For the cake:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs beaten
1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 and 1/2 cups vegetable oil
8 ounce can crushed pineapple, juice and all
2 cups chopped pecans ( divided use)
2 cups chopped ripe bananas
Combine first five ingredients and stir till well blended. Add the eggs and oil and continue stirring till dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat! Stir in the remaining ingredients, reserving one cup of the chopped pecans for garnish. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.
Combine An 8 ounce package softened cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter. Cream till smooth. Add 1 pound confectioners sugar and beat till light and fluffy. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla. Frost the cake and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of chopped pecans on top.