So I told my assistant, Bonnie, that I was running a peach dish this week. Boy, she’s going to say I told quite a tale! This dessert is perhaps one of my favorite cakes. I made a couple yesterday, and I said to myself: ‘Geez, I wish I could have just one piece of this delicious cake!’ When it comes to cakes this is pretty close to 2nd place, with carrot cake coming in first. I take that back, my family chocolate cake is pretty awesome too.
In years past I would always say pies are one of my favorite desserts, but as time goes, I’ve changed my tune somewhat. There are so many possibilities with cakes and they serve more than 8 persons. I’m addicted!
Cakes with icing and cakes without? I think there’s a great deal to say about both subjects. I adore my hummingbird cake with a thick layer of cream cheese icing or burnt butter icing. But on the flip side this cake is so sweet and delicious it’s great without any icing. My culinary philosophy on cakes is the following: ‘A cake should be so delicious it doesn’t need icing!’
Overbaking is an issue for many bakers. They want the toothpick spotless when the cake is pulled from the oven. Oops, not so. Just a little on the toothpick means it will be perfect after it sets for just a bit, like a good steak. Also many are hung-up on using mixers for all their baking. End result is often dried cakes.
If it’s possible to blend your cake by hand, I say do it, it will usually be moister.
This recipe actually states it should be blended by hand.
How in the world did this cake get its’ name? Well actually in Northeast Missouri, where I was born it was called: ‘Cake that doesn’t last’. Until I moved to Kansas City, Missouri, I had never heard the term Hummingbird Cake.
Don your summer apparel and fly down to Jamaica with me. That’s right, it’s from the islands, originally called: ‘Dr. Bird Cake.’ It was nicknamed ‘Dr. Bird Cake’ after the Red Billed Streamertail hummingbird. The cake had more fruit than flour and was made with oil versus butter. Pineapple, bananas and pecans are the original enhancements to the cake body. The recipe was sent out in a junket packet in the 1960’s, enticing folks to travel to Jamaica. It first appeared in print in the United States around 1978 by a Mrs. Wiggins. Typically a southern cake.
As you look at the cake, you find it is extremely quick and easy to prepare. So, how does one go about making their hummingbird cake the best on the block? Think outside the box, is my usual suggestion. Present the cake in different formats. For example, I love this for breakfast baked in muffin tins. Layered and sheet cakes presentations are common. Here are a few quick ideas:
Toast the nutmeats before they go in the cake batter.
Make a special filling to go between the layers.
Sprinkle chopped nuts over the entire top and/or sides of the layered cakes.
Add coconut, not a lot, maybe just a 1/2 cup.
Instead of coconut use shredded zucchini, I’d go with 1 cup to start.
Use pistachios instead of pecans or walnuts.
Now go forth and make a refreshing cake for the family! You know I do have a large zucchini from Platte City in my refrigerator, I may have to bake! Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup mashed bananas
1 cup chopped nuts, usually pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend all the dry together in a large bowl, combining with a spoon or whisk. Make a well in the center adding eggs, oil and vanilla. Blend together and incorporate the dry into the wet mixture. Lastly stir in the bananas, pineapple and nuts. Fold cake into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan, rounds or a Bundt pan. The 9 x 13 pan is done in around 30 minutes. The Bundt cake may take as long as 75 minutes, due to the weight of the cake. Test with a toothpick, a little wetness on the toothpick is ok.
Ice with a cream cheese icing or a burnt butter icing.