Hummingbird Cake
Hummingbird Cake
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Hummingbird bird cake is comforting, soft, moist, and full of tropical fruit flavor. Slathered in a tangy, sweet cream cheese frosting, it’s a decadent treat for any special occasion.

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (360g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1½ cups vegetable oil (360ml)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar (165g)
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 4 large bananas/450g)
  • 1 (8-ounce/227g) can crushed pineapple undrained
  • 1 cup chopped pecans toasted

For the Frosting

  • 1½ cups unsalted butter softened (340g)
  • 2 (8-ounce/227g) blocks cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 to 8 cups powdered sugar (720-960g)

DIRECTIONS

For the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease three 9-inch round cake pans with baking spray or butter, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the bananas and pineapple.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir together just until combined and only a few streaks of flour remain. Add the pecans and fold them into the batter. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake layers to cool completely in the pans set on a wire cooling rack. Once cooled, invert the layers and remove the parchment paper.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until very soft and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the cream cheese and beat until fluffy, about 30 seconds.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the powdered sugar. (Use more sugar for a firmer, sweeter frosting.) Once combined, scrap down the bowl and add the vanilla. Beat on medium-low speed until fluffy and easily spreadable, about 1 minute.

For the Assembly

  1. Place one cooled cake layer top-side up on a cake stand or serving platter and spread ¾ cup of frosting over the top, all the way to the edge of the cake. Place another cake layer top-side up on top. Spread another ¾ cup of frosting on top. Place the remaining cake layer bottom-side up on top. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and side of the cake.
  2. If you desired, you can save some of the frosting to pipe decorations onto the cake or decorate with toasted pecans. Chill the cake for 30 minutes to set the frosting before slicing. Keep leftovers covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

NOTES

  • Weigh the flour. Using too much flour is a surefire way to end up with dry, crumbly hummingbird cake. The best and most accurate way to measure flour is to weigh it with a kitchen scale. If you don’t have one, fluff up the flour in its container and spoon it into your measuring cup, using a knife to level off the top. Don’t scoop directly from the flour container.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. Set the refrigerated ingredients out onto your kitchen counter 30 minutes or so before you start baking so they can warm to room temperature. This will allow the eggs to incorporate better with the other cake batter ingredients, and the butter and cream cheese to whip up into a velvety, smooth frosting.
  • Shortcut to ripen bananas. If you don’t have very ripe bananas, you can soften and sweeten them up by placing them in a 300°F oven or air fryer for 10 to 15 minutes or until black and very soft. Let them cool completely before opening and removing the fruit inside.
  • Don’t overmix the cake batter. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until they’re just combined. You’ll likely see a few streaks of flour, and that is okay. Over-mixing yields a tough cake. The rest of the flour will be fully incorporated when you mix in the pecans.
  • To change the consistency of the cream cheese frosting: You’ll notice that the recipe calls for 6 to 8 cups of powdered sugar. More sugar will give you a firmer, sweeter frosting. Less sugar yields a runnier frosting. Add more or less, depending on your preference!
  • If you don’t want to use cream cheese frosting…you can whip up a batch of vanilla buttercream frosting instead.
  • Use fabric baking strips for perfectly flat and extra tender layers. Using these strips helps protect the outside of the cake, creating an even rise and a much softer exterior. You can find these strips online or at many craft stores in the baking supply aisle. Be sure to soak them well in cold water, then wring them out, and wrap them around the outside of the baking pans before filling them with batter. Find more tips for how to get perfectly flat cake layers in my tutorial!
  • To bake an 8-inch layer cake: Divide the batter among three 8-inch round cake pans (greased and lined as directed in the recipe) and bake for 30-35 minutes. Frost as directed in the recipe. A smaller cake pan will give you taller layers.

 

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