Best Hummingbird Cake Recipe – How To Make Hummingbird Cake

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Will Dickey

Soft, tender and comforting, hummingbird cake is essentially a two-layered dessert hug. Beneath the thick layers of cream cheese frosting are two layers of cake, lightly spiced with cinnamon and kept sweet with generous additions of ripe banana and smashed pineapple. When you’re looking for a stunning Easter cake, a Mother’s Day cake, or a homemade cake for any special occasion, hummingbird cake is the answer!

But why is it called hummingbird cake?

Despite the rumours, there have never been (and I hope there never will be!) actual hummingbirds in the hummingbird cake! This layered masterpiece takes its name from its country of origin, Jamaica, where the hummingbird is the national bird. Fun fact: In Jamaica, hummingbirds are called “doctor birds”, so as you might guess, in Jamaica, this cake is called “doctor bird cake”.

What does hummingbird cake taste like?

Hummingbird cake tastes like the best banana bread ever, crossed with carrot cake that a distracted baker forgot to bake with the carrots and raisins. The cream cheese frosting is soft and slightly tangy, complementing the natural sweetness of the cake layers from the crushed pineapple and ripe bananas.

How to decorate a hummingbird cake?

Decorating a hummingbird cake is so easy! Simply use an offset spatula to spread an even layer of cream cheese frosting. There’s no need to strive for perfection, as you can cover any “oopsies” with pecans. Make a decorative border around the base of the cake with whole pecans, or chop them and sprinkle them on top.

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Yields:

10 – 12


portions

Preparation time:

0

hours

20

minutes

Total time:

2

hours

ten

minutes

For the cake

1 1/3 tsp.

Granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp.

vanilla extract

2


8oz. canned crushed pineapple in juice, undrained

Nonstick cooking spray with flour

For the icing

3/4 tsp.

unsalted butter, softened

8 oz.

cream cheese, softened

For decoration

1 ea.

toasted pecan halves

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  1. For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in oil, eggs, vanilla and pineapple until blended. Lightly mash the bananas then add them to the bowl with the pecans. Stir to combine.
  3. Spray two 8-inch round pans with nonstick cooking spray (or butter and flour pans). Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with only a few small crumbs, 33 to 37 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
  4. For the frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment over medium heat until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar then mix on low speed until combined. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Add vanilla and salt. Beat frosting on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  5. Place one of the cake layers on a serving platter and top with about 1 cup frosting, spreading it evenly to the edge. Cover with the second layer of cake. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.
  6. To decorate the cake: Press the pecan halves along the base of the cake and around the top of the cake to create a ring. Slice and serve.

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