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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Every Southern Lady Should Know How to Make a Hummingbird Cake

So I'm just going to move past the fact that I haven't written a blog post in... *gulp* years! I have no excuse, other than I completely lost interest. But I'm back and super interested again. Or I'm not... but it's my blog and I can do what I want.

Some backstory, my husband's work is holding a silent dessert auction... who would be more qualified to make a tasty dessert than me? So our first choice was this tasty gem, which I have competed in Harvest Homecoming with, and I have done quite well with. Then B came home and told me that so many people had signed up to bring cheesecakes, that it felt unoriginal to make one as well. So I got to thinking, what would hopefully make a decent amount at a bake sale? What would be fairly unlikely that someone else would make? What do I want to eat? I've been thinking about maybe a carrot cake, or some other sort of spice cake. Then my mind settled on the tasty, delectable, moist HUMMINGBIRD CAKE!!! The centerpiece of any southern summer get together!

So here it is, my recipe for a perfect Hummingbird Cake!

Lacy's Super Amazing Hummingbird Cake
Serves 12

The Dry:
3 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cinnamon
-- 1 Cup chopped pecans for cake, and 1/3 Cup for garnish on top-- 

I know it's a drag, but you should really mix them all together and sift them together. It goes a really long way to making your cake super velvety. 

Toss 1 cup of your chopped pecans through your sifted ingredients. (This will help keep them suspended in your cake batter) Then, set them aside.

The Wet:
3 eggs
1 cup of oil
2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 small/medium bananas)
8 oz (by volume) of crushed pineapple

The easiest way to measure out the bananas, is to peel them and break them up into your measuring cup, then mash them in the cup with a fork. 

Put all the wet ingredients into a separate bowl from the dry ones. Mix well. This is your best opportunity to make sure that it's all incorporated. 

Now add the wet to the dry and mix with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Try not to over mix. Just make sure everything is mixed well. If you mix more than necessary, it will make your cake tougher, and it won't rise as well.

Now portion the batter into 3 (yes, 3) well greased 8 or 9 inch cake pans, and throw those puppies into a 350 degree oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. Honestly, I hate giving bake times. You really are just supposed to bake it until it's done, but most home cooks don't like to hear that. I urge you to start trying to cook like that, though, because it improves your overall competency in the kitchen. 

Your first sign that the cakes are done, will be once you smell it. It's best to keep your oven closed for as long as possible, so that your cake cooks as evenly and as fast as possible. Check it after about 20 minutes, by lightly pressing on the top of the cake. if it springs right back, it is most likely done. if the middle looks wetter than the rest of the cake, throw them back in for another 5 minutes

Once the cakes are done, pull them from the oven, and let them cool for about ten minutes in the pan. Then pull the cakes out of the pans and let cool on a wire cooling rack.

Once MOSTLY cooled (not completely), wrap in plastic wrap, separating layers with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper, and freeze. It's not a bad idea to bake a cake or so and keep in the freezer. They will keep in your normal freezer for up to a month, as long as they are well wrapped. Alternatively, they will keep in a deep freezer for 6 months.

While you are waiting for your cake to freeze up (at least 30 minutes), why not start on your icing?

Cream Cheese Icing
1 8oz package of cream cheese at room temperature
1 pound of confectioners sugar (by volume)
1 tsp vanilla (the clear kind, if you have it)

Put your cream cheese in your standing mixer and let it go with the paddle for about 5 minutes, until it's really whipped and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and a little of your powdered sugar (about a quarter cup at a time) and mix on low until well mixed. Continue to add a little powdered sugar and mix on low until all the powdered sugar is mixed in. If it's too thick, add a half tsp of milk, and if it's too thin, add a quarter cup of powdered sugar. 

When you go to ice your cake, pull your cake out of the freezer and use the icing at room temperature. The cold cake should really help the icing stay in place and go on smoothly. 

Once done with the icing, cover the top of the cake with pecans, and serve!

Another tip about this cake, it has a lot of sweetness to it, so i don't ice the sides. I just put a fairly thick layer of icing between the layers and on top, then garnish with the nuts, it really looks nice either way. Also, since it's 3 layers, the slices should be relatively thin. 

So try it out. Let me know in the comments what you think, and I'll let you know how much it sells for!