About Me

My photo
My name is Lucy and I have never blogged before. Well that's a lie. I have, but it was this one, and I neglected it for a little while... I live in a commuter town outside London having moved here about a year and a half ago after making some pretty big changes in my life. I share a beautiful little cottage on the Grand Union Canal with 1 crazy beautiful little girl and an equally crazy cat called Bandit (appropriately named as he now lives in all the houses on the street and steals...). Lawyer/working mum and it would appear, terminally single (I've reserved my spinster plaque already) I was fortunate to escape the evil commute about a year ago but seem to have less time than ever.... If I entertain you, make you laugh or fume (or make you have an emotion of ANY description) then my job is done. Enjoy x

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Hummingbird Cake (without the feathers)

Yep, I made this.
I've got no idea why Hummingbird Cake is called Hummingbird Cake.  I can only speculate that its because of how sweet it is.  In fact, before a few weeks ago I'd never even heard of it.  

When I started the blog I often debated whether or not to tell colleagues (especially colleagues on my secondment.  I mean I wanted them to like me and thought that to let them see my silly little mind might not be the best idea).  When I kept bringing in baked goodies to work I got questioned on why I was always baking and having got to know 1 of my colleagues well I finally let on to my dirty little baking secret and she seemed quite enthusiastic about it (well people your face).  I told her that I was very happy to take requests so she sent me a link to Sweetapolita's sky-high version of the Hummingbird Cake.  I was less happy about my enthusiasm about letting people put in requests.

Now I put off making this on the basis that it really looks far too fancy for just normal baking so I decided to wait until the right opportunity, a birthday preferably.  April rolled around and brought 4 birthdays in my team in the space of a week.  There are only 9 people in my team.  Time to attempt the Hummingbird Cake I thought....

I had a look on the web and found a recipe on Joy Of Baking's website and when I looked at the Sweetapolita recipe I noticed that she had also used the Joy of Baking recipe as a starting point.  They both looked good so I kinda worked back and forth between the two, using the Joy of Baking recipe but the Sweetapolita method on constructing the cake.  As usual, the actual recipe is in italics and my additional commentary is in normal font.

The recipe from the Joy of Baking and Sweetapolita

For the Cake:
1 cup (110 grams) pecans, toasted and finely chopped
3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour
2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup (180 ml) sunflower oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 x 8 ounce (227 grams) can crushed pineapple, do not drain
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium sized bananas)

For the Frosting:
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1 lb (454 grams) (about 3 2/3 cups) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1 tsp (4 grams) vanilla extract

pecan halves

1.  Firstly to the cake....Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) with the rack in middle of oven.  Prepare three (I used only two pans!) 8" round cake pans with butter/oil spray and a parchment circle on bottom of pan. Set aside. 
I even bought new pans! Exciting seriously
2. Chop the pecans.  I used one of my favourite kitchen tools - my Pampered Chef Food Chopper.  Its great, you just put whatever you want to chop underneath and bash the top, ideally focusing on someone you really dislike or something that is pissing you off then bang, bang, BANG!  All done.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

4. I could only find pineapple rings so I simply blitzed the pineapple chunks using a stick blender.  I then mashed the banana.

5. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the lightly beaten eggs, vanilla, chopped pecans, oil, bananas, and pineapple.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.  

Looks a little vomity, right?  Tasty.
6. Divide the batter evenly into 3 (remember, I only used 2) prepared 8" round pans. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre of the cake (about 30 minutes - I don't know if my oven is playing up but I definitely had to keep the cakes in for a good 50mins). Don't open oven for first 20 minutes, then rotate pans, checking after 10 more minutes. Try not to over bake! Let cool on wire racks for 20 minutes (in the tins), then invert onto racks, remove the parchment paper and let cool until cool to the touch.  Wrap the cakes in foil and put in the fridge overnight (this makes them easier to slice).

7. Remove the cakes from the fridge and unwrap from the foil.  Taking a bread knife carefully and evenly cut each cake into 3 thin layers.

8. Then onto the icing...Using electric mixer (how generic, of course I turned to dear Berta), combine the butter and icing sugar until just combined.  Now I had some problems here, possibly due to the fact that I realised I only had fondant icing sugar.  The butter and icing sugar just refused to combine so I had to take some drastic measures.  I needed to warm the butter enough to be able to combine it with the icing sugar.  I thought that actually heating it would be a mistake so instead I took a bowl of lukewarm water and put the mixing bowl into the water - enough to warm the sides of the bowl (its metal).  This definitely helped and put the icing back on track.

9. Add the cold cream cheese, all at once, and beat on medium speed for about 4 minutes. Turn up to high speed for another 1 minute. It should be fluffy (mine wasn't but again I believe this is all down to the fondant icing sugar). Don't over beat, or the icing will start to lose thickness.

10. Onto assembling the cake!  Taking one of the bottom layers spoon a big blob of icing into the centre and carefully spread the icing to evenly cover the cake.  Always cut side down, place the next layer on top and repeat the process.  Repeat with the remaining layers.

No, there is no Tabasco in the cake.

11. Spoon the rest of the icing onto the top of the cake and, using a palate knife, smooth it all across the top of the cake easing it to the edge and down the sides (this was how I had to do it because of the consistency of the icing.  I think it would be more spreadable and less drippy with regular icing sugar).  Make sure the cake is evenly covered and decorate with a couple of pecan halves.

12. Carefully transfer to your serving dish! (I transferred it to my brand new spotty tins to take into work.  I love my new spotty tins)

This cake is quite sweet but fantastic and serves plenty.  It went down very well at work and every last crumb was eaten.  If you want a cake to impress - this is the one.  Personally I found it was best served off ducky paper plates that were left over from one of Posie's parties but obviously you do not have to recreate this ;)

I'm all up for gratuitous self-promotion!

No comments:

Post a Comment