Sunday, 23 February 2014

Hummingbird Cake

Ok, it was a little slow in getting here: my "island inspired" cake.
I was just setting the mood and giving you a taste of island time, that's all...

When I was thinking of what to make that was heavy on vanilla, coconut and tropical fruit, I kept  coming back to this Southern (as in Kentucky, not Cape Town) classic: Hummingbird cake.
The recipe may have originated in Jamaica, but first appears to have been published and made popular in the US in the 70's - clearly a good decade for classics ; )

The traditional frosting for a hummingbird cake is cream cheese icing, but in this case I've made it into a Bundt cake with a vanilla-rich white chocolate ganache.

I've also changed the mixing directions from the original recipe to make the cake lighter in texture.  (When working with mashed banana your cake can sometimes become dense and stodgy  - which makes me think of hostel food rather than holiday food! )

 So, here it is:

Hummingbird Cake with Vanilla Ganache
Recipe by Tea, Cake & Create

Preheat the oven to 180'C

Grease and line 2 x 20cm round cake pans or 1  Bundt pan


300g cake flour
250g light brown sugar
250 ml canola oil
3 large eggs
120g roasted pecans, roughly chopped
60g shredded coconut
1 tin (440g) crushed pineapple, drain excess liquid
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl. Add in the coconut and chopped pecans. Whisk together to combine.

Using a mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract.
With the mixer on low speed, mix in the oil. Add half the dry ingredients, then the pineapple and banana, followed by the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake at 180'C for approx 35 minutes for layers or          1 hour for the Bundt cake - or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Leave in the cake pan to cool before turning onto a cooling rack.

Vanilla Ganache

240g white chocolate
120ml fresh cream (35-40% fat content)
1 vanilla pod

Melt the white chocolate and cream together in a double boiler. Stir until smooth.
Split the vanilla pod in half,  scrape out the seeds and stir into the ganache.
Leave it to set slightly; pour over the cake once the ganache has reached a custard-like consistency.

Finish with a flourish - a generous sprinkling of shaved coconut.

If you're making a layer cake, I'd recommend cream cheese icing between the layers, with vanilla ganache poured over the top of the cake.

How did the hummingbird cake get its name? Maybe it was because that's the Jamaican national bird; perhaps it's the sweetness of the cake. I think it may be the hum of delight you hear when it gets eaten.
: )  
Give it a try and tell me what you think. 


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