So, for February I selected Hummingbird Cake - a moist, homey Southern treat. The recipe came from Nancy McDermott's "Southern Cakes - Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday Celebrations", a beautiful book that brings to life many traditional Southern Recipes - I highly recommend it. Nancy writes this about the history of the Hummingbird Cake:
Quite frankly - Nancy was right - this is a relatively easy cake that packs lots of flavor into it's moist layers. I've attached the recipe at the end of the blog.
While picking out each new cake recipe is certainly fun, by far the best part of the Year of the Cake is sharing each month's culinary adventures with my friends.
It seems that Hummingbird Cake makes a great birthday cake - we celebrated Aidan McClish's 9th birthday with a rousing game of Apples-2-Apples, Jello Jigglers and large pieces of Hummingbird Cake for everyone.
So - embrace the Year of the Cake - try Hummingbird Cake or some other treat that will flex your baking muscles. But - most importantly - bake a cake or share a piece with your friends - that is the true treat!
Nancy McDermott's Hummingbird Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 eggs, slightly beaten
¾ cup vegetable oil
1½ tsp vanilla extract
One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Heat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour three 8-inch or two 9-inch round cake pans and set aside.
Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and use a fork to mix well. With a large wooden spoon, mix in the beaten eggs, oil, vanilla, pineapple, bananas and pecans. Mix well, stirring gently, just enough to blend into a thick batter.
Divide batter evenly among cake pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cakes are nicely browned and pulling away from the sides of the pans. Cool the cakes in pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towels for about 15 minutes. Turn out the cakes onto wire racks or plates. Turn layers top side up and cool completely.
To finish the cake:
Place one layer, top side down, on a cake stand or a serving plate, and spread frosting on the top. Place the second layer, top side up, on the frosting. Frost the sides, and then the top. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes or so, to help the icing set.
PECAN-CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
• One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
• ¼ cup butter, softened
• One 16-ounce box confectioners' sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• ½ cup finely chopped pecans
Combine cream cheese and butter with a mixer at low speed in a medium bowl. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beat until the frosting is fluffy and smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the bowl and blend everything thoroughly. Add the pecans; stir well. (NOTE - I did not mix the pecans in the frosting, but simply sprinkled them on top. also - I found this to be a very sweet cream cheese frosting recipe. I actually made 1.5X batch)