Okay, let us first address the elephant in the room. No hummingbirds were harmed in the making of this cake.
The kitchen gods were devastatingly disappointed.
The hummingbird cake made its debut in a 1978 edition of Southern Living magazine. According to my research, the recipe was submitted by a Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, N.C. And though delightfully named, she did not give an explanation for the cake’s title. As these things go, much speculation has followed. Was the three-layer cake bursting with bananas, pecans and pineapple named because it is sweet enough to attract the delicate high energy bird? Or was it so named by the way people hummed with delight while eating it? Or maybe because of the way enthusiasts liked to hover around while it was being cut? The world may never know.
What I know is that this cake makes a perfect treat for early summer celebrations. Particularly Mother’s Day. Though the original recipe is constructed as a layer cake, I decided to go with a bundt. And I’m glad I did. This is a dense, flavorful and decadent cake but somehow baking it in bundt form suggests that it would be perfectly acceptable eaten before noon. Say, for brunch.
The batter begins with bananas, crushed pineapple (drain but save the juice) and chopped pecans (walnuts would work just fine).
Oil rather than butter is the fat for this recipe.
While the batter will fill your pan nearly to the top, it doesn’t raise much so not to worry.
After what seems like an eternity, a gorgeously browned cake emerges.
I skipped the traditional cream cheese frosting and made an icing out of cream cheese, reserved pineapple juice and confectioner’s sugar.
I then topped it simply with some edible flowers (though I had people remove the flowers before eating).
If your mom loves banana bread you have absolutely no excuse to not make this for her.
Hummingbird Cake with Pineapple Cream Cheese Glaze
- 3 C all-purpose flour
- 2 C sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 medium ripe bananas, chopped
- 1 C crushed pineapple, drained (save the juice)
- 1 C vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 C pecans, finely chopped
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 2 C confectioner’s sugar
- 3 TBS pineapple juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour bundt pan.
- In a large bowl, sifted together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine bananas, pineapple, oil, eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to wet in either a standing mixer or by hand. Mix on low until well combined.
- Add nuts, folding into batter with spatula.
- Pour batter into prepared bundt and bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean (original instructions were for 45 minutes, it took almost an hour in my oven).
- Rest baked cake 15 minutes on wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely.
- For glaze: Using hand-mixer, beat together cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and pineapple juice to desired consistency. Pour over cake (glaze will remain somewhat soft).