Friday, October 26

The Very Southern Hummingbird Cake

Every season is cake season. However, as the holidays approach, these traditional masterpieces become tabletop mainstays, especially in the South. And let’s be honest, layer cakes don’t come more Southern than Hummingbird Cake.
At the age of 22, newly married and with few cooking skills, I met Mr.P's maternal Grandmother, the ultimate Southern cook. She wanted me to embrace her love and knowledge of cooking.....to say that I was intimidated by her would simply be a huge understatement! Nevertheless, she sat down with the young inexperienced girl that I was and gave me this very special  recipe. A recipe for Hummingbird Cake, Mr.P's favorite! I will NEVER forget that she told me, 'To bake at 350 degrees until done'. Upon which I asked, 'For how long'? She looked at me like there was a tree growing out of my ear and simply uttered a stunned, '....until it's DONE honey'! Okay...after years of cooking I get that! 

 As the most requested recipe in Southern Living history, the  Hummingbird Cake was originally submitted by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina in the  February 1978 issue. With decadent moist layers of pineapple, banana, and pecan batter engulfed in waves of white cream cheese frosting, this Southern staple has obtained a blue ribbon-reputation at countless county and state fairs. Even though other's have produced 'copy-cat' recipes for this iconic cake, this is the ultimate recipe for Hummingbird Cake, the very same one Mr.P's grandmother gave me all those years ago. It  frequents covered dish dinners all across the South, always receiving rave reviews. And aren't we the lucky ones??

HUMMINGBIRD CAKE


INGREDIENTS
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 cups sugar   
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon   
  • large eggs, beaten 
  • 1 cup vegetable oil    
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract  
  • (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained   
  • 1 cup chopped pecans 
  • 2 cups chopped 'ripe' bananas, 3 - 4 large  
  • Cream Cheese Frosting  
  • 1/2 whole pecans, optional
  • 1 cup toasted coconut, optional

WHAT TO DO

Sift together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat.
Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.
Pour batter into three greased, parchment-lined and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
 
Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Decorate top with pecans on top and toasted coconut on the side. Store in refrigerator.

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