Hummingbird Cake

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Hummingbird Cake

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Hummingbird Cake

A cousin to the much-loved carrot cake, the hummingbird cake is also fantastically flavourful with spices and pecan nuts, but it’s also bursting with vibrant fruitiness with the addition of bananas and pineapple. And, as every good carrot cake enrobed in cream cheese frosting, so is the hummingbird cake. Decorate with dried pineapple flowers to make this easy-to-bake cake an absolute showstopper, but if you don’t have the time to make the flowers ahead, you can also simply decorate with more toasted pecan nuts.

Sponsored by Fyffes

Ingredients

  • For sponge:
  • 375g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 100g *toasted pecan nuts
  • 225g (approx. 3 slices) fresh pineapple rings, finely chopped with juices
  • 4 large very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250ml sunflower or light olive oil
  • 125ml milk
  • 200g light soft brown sugar
  • 150g granulated white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • For frosting:
  • 175g unsalted butter, very soft
  • 540g full fat cream cheese, chilled
  • 300g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • To decorate: **Dried pineapple flowers (Need to be made ahead, see method at the end of recipe)
  • For sponge:
  • 375g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 100g *toasted pecan nuts
  • 225g (approx. 3 slices) fresh pineapple rings, finely chopped with juices
  • 4 large very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250ml sunflower or light olive oil
  • 125ml milk
  • 200g light soft brown sugar
  • 150g granulated white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • For frosting:
  • 175g unsalted butter, very soft
  • 540g full fat cream cheese, chilled
  • 300g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • To decorate: **Dried pineapple flowers (Need to be made ahead, see method at the end of recipe)

Instructions

  1. For the sponge, pre-heat oven to 180°C / 160°C fan. Line the bottom of 3x 20cm (8 inch) round cake tins with parchment paper, grease and flour the sides.
  2. *To toast the pecan nuts, spread nuts in a single layer on a baking tray, bake for 8-10 minutes in pre-heated oven until darker in colour and fragrant. Leave to cool then roughly chop to use in the recipe.
  3. In a very large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices, salt and chopped pecan nuts. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, then mix to combine. This can be done in a mixer or with a wooden spoon.
  6. Pour the batter evenly between the prepared baking tins then bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.
  7. Leave to cool in tins on cooling racks for about 10 minutes, then carefully turn them out of the tins and leave to cool completely before frosting.
  8. For the frosting, beat the butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese then beat until combined. Add the icing sugar and vanilla then beat on low speed just until combined, then increase speed to max and whisk until frosting is thick.
  9. To assemble the cake, spread about ¾ cup of cream cheese frosting between the sponge layers then cover the cake with the remaining frosting. Decorate with dried pineapple flowers or extra toasted pecan nuts.
  10. **To make the dried pineapple flowers (must be done at least 1 day ahead), pre-heat oven to 100°C / 80°C fan, then trim the top and bottom off a pineapple then remove 3-4 slices of pineapple to use in the cake recipe.
  11. Working your way around the pineapple, trim off the rind, try to not remove too much of the pineapple flesh.
  12. Turn the pineapple on its side, then remove the eyes using a small sharp knife. (Removing the eyes like this rather than cutting more of the rind off is what will give the flowers their ruffled petal-like appearance.)
  13. Using a large sharp knife or kitchen mandolin, cut the pineapple into slices, making them as thin as you can.
  14. Arrange the slices on a tray lined with paper towel. Place a few more sheets of paper towel on top then press down hard to help remove as much moisture as possible.
  15. Carefully peel the pineapple from the paper towel then arrange on baking trays lined with parchment paper.
  16. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn each slice over and bake for another 30 minutes. If pineapple is still very pliable and still feels moist, turn slices over and bake for another 30 minutes. Repeat if needed.
  17. While pineapple is still warm, push pineapple slices into the wells of a muffin tin then leave to cool completely in the tin, this is how they get the final shape. (If you don’t have several muffin tins, you’ll want to do the process of drying and then shaping in stages. You can also use teacups, small bowls etc. for the final shaping and cooling.)
  18. Store dried pineapple flowers in an airtight container until needed.
  19. For the sponge, pre-heat oven to 180°C / 160°C fan. Line the bottom of 3x 20cm (8 inch) round cake tins with parchment paper, grease and flour the sides.
  20. *To toast the pecan nuts, spread nuts in a single layer on a baking tray, bake for 8-10 minutes in pre-heated oven until darker in colour and fragrant. Leave to cool then roughly chop to use in the recipe.
  21. In a very large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices, salt and chopped pecan nuts. Set aside.
  22. In a large bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.
  23. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, then mix to combine. This can be done in a mixer or with a wooden spoon.
  24. Pour the batter evenly between the prepared baking tins then bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.
  25. Leave to cool in tins on cooling racks for about 10 minutes, then carefully turn them out of the tins and leave to cool completely before frosting.
  26. For the frosting, beat the butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese then beat until combined. Add the icing sugar and vanilla then beat on low speed just until combined, then increase speed to max and whisk until frosting is thick.
  27. To assemble the cake, spread about ¾ cup of cream cheese frosting between the sponge layers then cover the cake with the remaining frosting. Decorate with dried pineapple flowers or extra toasted pecan nuts.
  28. **To make the dried pineapple flowers (must be done at least 1 day ahead), pre-heat oven to 100°C / 80°C fan, then trim the top and bottom off a pineapple then remove 3-4 slices of pineapple to use in the cake recipe.
  29. Working your way around the pineapple, trim off the rind, try to not remove too much of the pineapple flesh.
  30. Turn the pineapple on its side, then remove the eyes using a small sharp knife. (Removing the eyes like this rather than cutting more of the rind off is what will give the flowers their ruffled petal-like appearance.)
  31. Using a large sharp knife or kitchen mandolin, cut the pineapple into slices, making them as thin as you can.
  32. Arrange the slices on a tray lined with paper towel. Place a few more sheets of paper towel on top then press down hard to help remove as much moisture as possible.
  33. Carefully peel the pineapple from the paper towel then arrange on baking trays lined with parchment paper.
  34. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn each slice over and bake for another 30 minutes. If pineapple is still very pliable and still feels moist, turn slices over and bake for another 30 minutes. Repeat if needed.
  35. While pineapple is still warm, push pineapple slices into the wells of a muffin tin then leave to cool completely in the tin, this is how they get the final shape. (If you don’t have several muffin tins, you’ll want to do the process of drying and then shaping in stages. You can also use teacups, small bowls etc. for the final shaping and cooling.)
  36. Store dried pineapple flowers in an airtight container until needed.
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