I have been promising to post about this dear cake for quite some time now! I am particularly fond of this cake, and it is always a huge crowd pleaser. The only disadvantage to the hummingbird cake is that it can pose as a threat to anyone with an allergy to nuts. However, with everything going on in this flavor powerhouse, you could probably get away with tossing the nuts out of the ingredient list and still swoon your fellow cake eaters!
The hummingbird cake has been a southern tradition for years, but the recipe is believed to have originated in Jamaica and acquired its name from the island's national bird. One of the first known publications of the recipe was in a 1978 edition of Southern Living. The the same year, the hummingbird cake took home the Favorite Cake Award from the Kentucky State Fair.
The main flavor components for a hummingbird cake are bananas, pineapple, pecans, and a cream cheese icing. Some versions add lemon to the icing. My version stays pretty true to the traditional recipe, but I like to incorporate a mix of pecans and walnuts into the batter and add some almond extract to the cream cheese icing.
Hummingbird Cake with Almond Cream Cheese Icing
For the cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups overripe bananas (smashed into a paste)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 8oz can crushed pineapple
- Butter or non-stick spray for cake pans
- 2 8oz packages cream cheese (softened)
- 1 cup butter (softened)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Crushed pecans
- Crushed walnuts
Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients for the cake in a mixing bowl. On a low setting, begin to slowly add oil and then the eggs one at a time. Add vanilla, pineapple, and smashed banana. Increase speed and mix well. Reduce to a lower speed and mix in the nuts. Pour equal amounts of batter into 3 greased round cake pans.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean when inserted. Remove cakes from the oven and let them cool in the pans on cooling racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely for an hour on cooling racks.
While your cakes are cooling, you can start on the icing. Simply add the butter and cream cheese to a mixing bowl and mix on a low speed initially, then increase to a higher speed as the ingredients are incorporated. Whip on high to fluff. Reduce speed and add vanilla and almond extracts, then start to gradually add the powdered sugar. Once the sugar is mixed well enough to not fly out of the bowl, increase the speed and mix until smooth.
Place one cake layer on the dish you will be serving the cake on. Smooth a layer of frosting on the cake.
Add a second layer of cake and icing.
Continue this with the third layer. Then you can use the rest of the icing to smooth out any spaces between the layers.
Add the nut crumbles to the top of the cake. I like to put more of a pile in the center and then fade the crumbles out to the edges. Take some creative liberties here :-)
Step back and admire your cake! You can serve right away, but I like to stick mine in the fridge for a bit so that the icing can firm up a little. Make sure to store in the fridge and not to leave this cake out when it isn't being served. Enjoy!!!