Sunday, April 17, 2011

Old Fashioned Hummingbird Cake with Toasted Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting

     This cake is the South at it's best!  That's why I made it for Mom's birthday celebration over the weekend.  She's a Southern belle who is graceful and beautiful inside and out.  We're only 20 years apart, therefore we are often mistaken as sisters!  (Of course Mom loves this!)  Anyways, we are like best friends now, and we have more fun than ever together.  I always enjoy giving gifts to Mom, because she always truly seems to cherish what others give her.  She's especially fun to bake for because, as a wonderful baker herself, she appreciates the love and effort it takes to make something like this cake. This cake is an old recipe that even my great grandmother would make!  She has this in her recipe book that dates back to the 1920's!  I am so proud to bring this cake back around to the family now, and one day pass down to my children.

     The first time I made a hummingbird cake was a few years ago for Mom's birthday, and we all fell in love with it!  Oh, what we've been missing all of these years! Made completely from scratch, is a warm cinnamon-y batter filled with ripe banana and cool crushed pineapple (the cake would be marvelous just by itself) with a dreamy, unbelievably rich and delicious cream cheese frosting that's overflowing with toasted pecans.  It took a lot of self control to not eat this frosting right from the bowl itself! It's a perfect warm weather cake, because I find the bananas and pineapple in combination with the toasted pecans reminds me of the flavors in a banana split or an old fashioned banana cake the way Granny used to make, with a syrupy glaze over the top!  Fruity and fresh notes with comforting ones from the cinnamon and vanilla undertones.  Delicious!!

     I think this cake is an easy one to make.  It requires no electic mixer, just stirring together by hand.  Somehow, I find that appealing. One less appliance to get out and wash later.  Be sure to gently stir the batter as it's coming together, because you don't want to overwork it or else it won't be as tender and moist.  I use one large bowl for the mixing of everything, a medium size one to mash the ripe bananas in and add the crushed  pineapple and real vanilla extract, and a small bowl to whisk the eggs.  The original recipe calls for dividing this up into 3 pans for a triple layer cake, but since I only had 2- 8 inch pans, I made it a double layer and it worked out just fine!  No batter wasted at all!

    A little tip to help get your cakes out of the pan perfectly every time, is to line the bottoms with wax paper. Just trace around the pan onto wax paper and cut out your circle.  Spray the pan first with baking spray, lay down the wax paper, then spray the paper and sides of the pan with baking spray again.  That way the cake will practically slide out, no problem!  (I learned this from the recipe of my Chocolate Ganache Christmas Cake.)  It works every time!

     I would like to share with you a little "family secret" that was passed down from my Granny to Mom and now to me. For their carrot cakes, when the cakes come right out of the oven, they have always poked little holes with a fork and poured some of the extra pineapple juice all over to seep in the holes and allow the warm cakes to drink up the extra juice like a sponge. This makes for an incredibly moist cake with a little more of that sweet pineapple flavor!  It adds so much to their carrots cakes, that I decided to do the same with the hummingbird cake!  I just used my little cooking brush to rub the pineapple juice into the cake, and was proud to be able to carry on a family tradition. What a great idea-- thanks Mom and Granny!!!

     I can't tell you how excited I am to share this family recipe with you!  Not only is it a nostalgic old-fashioned cake recipe, it is one of the best cakes I've ever had!!!  There was not a crumb left on anyone's plate.  Honestly, we all were enjoying every bit of this delightfully good confection with our milk and coffee.  I hope that you try this recipe out but more importantly, I hope you find out what your family's recipes are.  You know, the ones that get passed down from each generation; and dust them off so you can try them out for yourselves.  Whenever we do this, we are honoring our loved ones and keeping their memory alive.   

Old Fashioned Hummingbird Cake

3 c. flour

2 c. sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

3 eggs, beaten

1 c. oil

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1- 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained

2 c. (3 large) ripe bananas

Cream Cheese Frosting
(This time, I made another half batch to add to this recipe for extra frosting.)

1-8 oz. cream cheese

1/2 c. softened butter

1 box (16 oz.) powdered sugar

2 tsp. good vanilla extract
(Good vanilla extract makes a difference here.)

1 c. chopped and toasted pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium size bowl, mash bananas well.

Add crushed pineapple and vanilla and set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Add eggs and oil.

Stir until moistened.  Do not beat.

Stir in the banana, pineapple and vanilla mixture.

Pour into 3- 9 inch pans and bake for 25-30 minutes. 
Pour into 2- 8 inch pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, checking  with a toothpick about every 2 minutes after about 32 minutes to ensure they are perfectly done.

Take out of oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Turn out onto a baking rack and allow to cool completely before frosting the cake.  This is when I poured over the pineapple juice!

Beat everything together for the frosting.  Beat until very creamy.

Get your "frosting station" ready!  I just use my kitchen table, because it's a better height for me. 

Have fun frosting your cake!  
I like to start by putting a large dollop of the dreamy frosting on the cake and bringing it all down the sides.  When you are done frosting your cake completely, put even more wax paper around, and begin pressing handfuls of toasted nuts around the sides of the cake.  Decorate the top with pecan halves.  If you don't want this look or go through the trouble, just stir the chopped nuts into your frosting so all you have to do is frost the cake! 

I have to say that frosting the cake is probably my favorite part, other than tasting!  I enjoy it so much, that it's almost therapeutic for me to bake and decorate. 

There is something about swirling around fluffy whipped frosting that's relaxing and oh, so fun!

Looks good enough to eat already! 

Toasted pecans make this cake perfect.  Now, it's ready to devour!

...I said it was good!  So, why don't you try it out and let me know what you think!

I'm linking to



Mary said...

Leslie, this is a gorgeous cake. The memories that come with family recipes really make them treasures. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Desi said...

Your cake is sooo purty! I saw this linked up over at Mangia Mondays and had to stop by. You are close to me, I'm in Cincinnati! I am your newest follower :)

Check out my blog and follow back if you like!

Leslie said...

Thanks so much, Mary. Yes, this recipe is one of those sweet treasures! Have a good night!

Hey Desi, thanks for stopping by! I love Cinci-- some good shopping there! :) I checked out your blog and I love it...keep up the good eats!

Val said...

What a beautiful cake and your step by step pics are incredible.

Leslie said...

Thank you, Val! (I wish I had time for this many detailed pics everytime.) This cake was fun to make, and I wanted to share that with everyone. Come back and visit sometime!

EmandM said...

This cake looks so gorgeous!!!

Leslie said...

Thank you Em & M!! Come back and visit anytime!

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Oh, I love this cake. My husband has a customer that gives him one every Christmas. Yum. Thanks for joining the party.

Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads said...

I am so yearning for a piece of your cake. It looks so delicious. I have thought about making this cake before, but now that I have your recipe, I will make it exactly the way you did (with the extra pineapple juice.)

Leslie said...

Thank you, Kim! Yes, it seems to be a favorite!:)

Lol, Jane I'm still yearning for a piece of the cake myself! Have fun making it, and enjoy every morsel!

MeMeSue said...

Thank you so much for sharing your family recipe. I googled hummingbird cake recipe just the other day and told my hubby I was making it for Easter to take to my youngest's inlaws for dinner. I am now going to use yours!

Have a Blessed Easter

Lisa said...

Ooooh Leslie, this cake sounds delicious. Thank you so much for sharing it, I can't wait to try it. I love family tips and secrets that are passed down through generations - thanks for telling me about the pineapple juice to keep the cake moist!
Hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter. So glad to have met you and look forward to visiting you again!

Eating in Winnipeg said...

wow this cake looks wonderful! i'm doing posts called "baking goals" featuring all the recipes i want to try (because right now i am baking my way through a cookbook and am only baking what's in there) and i would love to repost this! it looks so tasty and not too hard!! (linking back to you of course)

MeMeSue said...

Leslie I blogged about your WONDERFUL cake! Stop over and have a read! Thanks so much for sharing.

Alana Jo said...

This post is making me drool! I could so go for a piece of this cake right now. I shared it with my friends on FB.

Alana @

Leslie said...

Thanks so much, Alana! I really appreciate you sharing it, too! I'll be sure to check out your blog. :) Come by again.
Blessings, Leslie

Amanda-The Sweet Details said...

Hi! Just wanted to let you know that I featured your cake on my blog today! Also I wanted to invite you to do a guest post if you are interested! I would love to have you do one :)

❁Velma ~Down Our Country Road❁ said...

I spotted it on your side bar and had to see if it was the same as the one I have and yes it is!!

This recipe is one that I used to bake all the time when my children were growing up. It is definitely a family favorite and TO DIE FOR!!!

Rachel Page said...

Great looking cake! I love the touch of pecans.

Sarah Johnson said...

About to make this cake right now