Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Slightly tropical - Barefoot Contessa Hummingbird Cake

I know I am deluding myself but I am trying to desperately to justify the making and devouring of this cake as an act of healthy eating, being that it is made with oil and packed with fruit and nuts, and it's a nice idea but I know the truth. However, I am sure that in the midst of anybody's healthy eating plan there is a room for a smidgen of this cake which is wondrously tasty and moist and not hideously bad for the diet in the grand scheme of things.

Striving for good health (!), I elected not to cover the whole cake in cream cheese frosting and merely sandwiched the cakes together and then swirled some frosting on top. I don't think it needs to be covered, and as with all Barefoot Contessa recipes, the quantities in my mind are quite generous.

This is a lovely, easy cake to make, the only faff in my mind being the initial roasting of the pecan nuts before they are chopped and added to the cake. Yes, it's faff, but it makes the house smell good and I have never had a warm, roasted pecan nut before. To be honest it is a wonder that any of them made it into the cake.

I am a big fan of Ina Garten's recipes. In my experience they have always turned out well, and are enough to feed hordes of people. This cake is no exception and luckily there is enough left for the inevitable second helping.

Hummingbird Cake adapted from Barefoot Contessa
(American recipe - therefore uses cup measurements)

  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour (plain flour) plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 3 ripe bananas, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple (though I used tinned)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups caster sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
For the frosting (I halved the quantity listed here)
  • 2 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each), at room temperature
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment and dust with flour.

Beat the eggs and caster sugar in a separate bowl with a mixer on high speed until thick and light, 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the vegetable oil.

Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake until fragrant and toasted, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, then roughly chop. Toss with the bananas, pineapple and 1/2 cup flour in a small bowl.

Whisk the remaining 2 1/4 cups flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg mixture, then gently fold to make a thick batter. Fold in the pecan-fruit mixture, then transfer the batter to the prepared pans.

Bake until the cakes are firm and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool in the pans on a rack, 25 minutes, then invert the cakes onto the rack to cool completely. My cakes did dome so I trimmed the tops to try to get them flat. Schoolboy error!

Make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with a mixer until fluffy, then gradually beat in the butter until combined. Sift the confectioners' sugar over the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread about half of the frosting on top, then cover with the other cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, or as I did with hlaf the quantity of frosting, just swirl some on top.


1 comment:

  1. Yum! I have had hummingbird cake before, but I don't think it was Ina's. This looks absolutely wonderful and a nice diversion from an otherwise healthy diet(which is fine by me:-))


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