Hummingbird Cake is one of those recipes that’s uniquely Southern, and found nearly every springtime at someone’s baby shower, wedding, or barbecue.
Rumor has it the cake’s name comes from its over-the-top sweetness – so sweet that there’s no way a hummingbird could resist it’s sugary lure.
Personally, it reminds me a lot of carrot cake, but instead of getting its sweetness from carrots, it gets it from fresh pineapple, ripe bananas, and warmly roasted walnuts. They’re each equal stars of this show.
James loved the cake for its denseness, and it’s cream cheese frosting. I loved it for all the fresh fruit and walnuts – both of which are incredibly good for you. That makes it healthy, right?!
If you’ve never had a Hummingbird Cake, take my advice and add it to your Springtime celebrations menu. Everyone could use a little Southern hospitality in their lives, don’t you think?
adapted from Walnuts.org
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fresh pineapple, crushed
4 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup chopped roasted California walnuts
For the frosting:
1 1/2 sticks chilled butter
3 8 oz bars of chilled cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped roasted walnuts
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 3 round cake pans with baking spray for baking. Line with parchment paper if desired.
In a medium bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, add sugar, brown sugar, and eggs. Mix on high until well combined and light and fluffy. Add vegetable oil and vanilla extract and mix again.
Add crushed pineapple and mashed bananas, and mix again. Add the chopped roasted walnuts by hand.
Divide batter equally between the 3 pans. Tap each pan lightly against the countertop to remove any air bubbles. Place in the oven and bake 25-30 minutes in the center of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool for several hours or overnight, removing to a cooling rack after the pan comes to a handle-able temperature.
When cakes are completely cool, make frosting. In a mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar a 1/4 cup at a time, mixing after each addiction until completely incorporated and fluffy.
Apply a crumb coat to each layer of the cake, applying it thicker between each layer. Then refrigerate for an hour or more. When crumb coat has hardened, add walnuts to the rest of the icing and re-frost so that the cake is completely covered and there are no “bald” spots.
Refrigerate for another hour so the frosting will set, then the cake is ready to serve. Enjoy with a glass of Southern iced tea or lemonade.