Hummingbird Birthday Cake

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An upcoming birthday is always a good excuse for some  cake-making.  My elder sister will be celebrating her birthday this week, so we had tea and cake with her this afternoon in anticipation of the event.  This is a recipe that was published years ago in a Martha Stewart magazine.  I’ve had the clipping in my files for so long, the time had come to either do the deed or get rid of the clipping.  I did the deed 🙂

Hummingbird cake is a southern classic and there are lots of variations.  Check out the original Southern Living recipe here.

I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit for personal taste, reducing both the sugar and oil.  Much to my chagrin, I somehow missed adding the cinnamon into the cake batter, so instead  I added it into the icing and that was just fine.  If you don’t have inclination to decorate using the pineapple “flowers”,  a sprinkle of chopped pecans on the top of the icing would be a classic finish.

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Hummingbird Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp  cinnamon

pinch of salt

2/3 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/3 cups sugar

3 large eggs

3 large bananas, mashed

3/4 cup canned pineapple tidbits,  well-drained and chopped

1 cup chopped  pecans

1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray two round layer cake pans (8″ or 9″) with non-stick spray.  Line bottoms of pans with parchment.  In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.  In mixer bowl, stir together sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until mixture is light and fluffy.  Stir in mashed bananas, chopped pineapple, pecans and coconut.  Add flour and gently mix just until all ingredients are combined.  Divide batter between cake pans and bake for about 35 minutes, until cakes are golden brown.  Invert baked cakes onto wire racks to cool.  While cakes are cooling, prepare pineapple decorations (see below).  When cakes are completely cooled, ice with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 250g pkg cream cheese (NOT low fat)

½ cup  butter or margarine

3-4 cups icing sugar, sifted

1 ½ tsp vanilla

2 drops almond extract

Beat the cream cheese and butter till smooth.  Add flavorings and mix well.  Stir in icing sugar in several additions.   Avoid overmixing as icing will become too grainy to spread smoothly.

 Pineapple “Flower” DecorationsIMG_2164

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment.   Peel pineapple and remove eyes with a small melon baller or paring knife.  Slice pineapple into thin slices, 1/8″ or less if possible.  Lay slices in a single layer on baking sheets and bake for about 30 minutes, until tops feel dry.  Flip slices and bake 30 minutes more, till slices are completely dry.  Thicker slices will need more drying time.

Pineapple Flowers

Remains of the day

Remains of the day

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake

It’s pineapple day today.  It’s also Adam’s birthday, which is why it’s pineapple day;  he likes pineapple!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

3 tbsp butter

1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1 (398 ml) can pineapple slices

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1 egg

4 tbsp oil

1 cup buttermilk

maraschino cherry halves (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a 9″ square cake pan, measure the 3 tbsp of butter.  Pop into oven to completely melt the butter, 3-4 minutes.  When melted, stir in the brown sugar, spreading the mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan.  Making sure the pineapple slices are well-drained, arrange them in the pan.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In a smaller bowl, mix together egg, oil and buttermilk.  Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring gently just until combined.  Carefully spoon the batter over the pineapple slices in the pan, making sure not to disturb the pattern of the pineapple.  Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown.  When the cake is done, remove from oven and immediately invert pan onto serving tray.  Do this very carefully to avoid burns!  Place cherry halves into the pineapple rings, if using.  Best served and eaten warm, with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

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