It all happened somehow, and how cosy it felt; to have the heavy rain beating down on a hot day, the washing and the children tucked up inside, and cakes in the oven.
I'd been plotting this cake for a while actually. I have heard talk of Hummingbird cake many times, but have never eaten it and never come close to making it. But curiosity eventually took over, so I've been looking up a few recipes and adding the necessary ingredients to my shopping list. Hummingbird cake originated in the south of the United States, and it seems to be enjoying quite a revival. There are lots of lovely stories about people humming with delight as they eat, hence the name. Which is certainly motivating for a curious cook/eater.
Very little research showed me that Hummingbird cake is a combo of banana, pineapple, pecans and spices. It often seems to be compared to a carrot cake, perhaps their combination of spices and fruit/veg gives them a (not very) close relationship.
Now here's the thing, I made the cake, and it's very nice, but it's really just an amped up banana cake. I wasn't quite expecting that. The main player is definitely the banana. The pineapple contributes not so much flavour as moisture, the spices give a wee hint that they are there, and I admit I kept the pecans down as I am not a big fan. But people seem to be so excited about it, someone even suggested, "you will never eat carrot cake again." (They're so different, I'm not up for the comparison).
But then I had a bit of an inkling and did a bit more reading, and I suspect that banana cake is an antipodean thing. Banana loaf and bread make an appearance in all sorts of places, but banana cake seems to only pop up in New Zealand and Australia. Am I right, international readers? Does anyone know more than I? The excitement over Hummingbird cake all makes sense to me now, if you have never had a banana cake you really have been missing out.
I was definitely expecting more flavours to come through, and I'm tempted to have a play around and see if I can add a little more to it and see if I can put together what I was imagining.
Have you ever had Hummingbird cake? What do you think of it? Do you have a great recipe that I should try, or suggestions for additions?
The recipe below is based on one from Joy of Baking, with a few changes from me. Give it a try. Being able to say Hummingbird cake, is so much more exciting than Banana cake, and there is a little more to it than that. I'd love to see what you think. Or pop over and I'll give you a slice.
Feel free to add more pecans, and you can adjust the icing measurements to taste.
3 cups flour
2 cups glucose/sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
3/4 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can crushed pineapple, approx 230 grams, do not drain
3 - 4 mashed bananas (2 cups worth)
50 grams butter
1 tub cream cheese
1/2 cup glucose
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix the dry ingredients well, then add in the wet. Divide between 3 greased cake tins and bake for 25 - 30 mins at 180 degrees.
Mix icing ingredients together (preferably with a hand beater) and spread icing between the layers and over the top. Garnish with chopped pecans.