Monday, August 2, 2010

Hummingbird Cake

Whenever one of the many events in life pop up, most often birthdays, I make one of my favorite cakes; Hummingbird Cake. This is a southern cake that often is served in place of carrot cake. It is a hearty cake, like carrot cake, iced with a cream cheeze frosting that brings a wonderful lightness to the experience.

I adopted the recipe from one I found in a cookbook (unknown) long ago to make it vegan. I use flax for eggs, but I'm sure that you could try applesauce. The original makes two 9 in cakes, but I find that often that amount is too much so I have halved the recipe. If you feel that you would like more you can double what is presented below and it will make the two 9 in pans worth.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
(3 large eggs) I substitute about 4-5 tablespoon ground flax seed combined with 5 tablespoons of boiling water.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped ripe bananas (about 2 medium sized)
4 ounces crushed pineapple with juice (typically these are sold in 8 oz cans; I use 1/2 then add some of the remaining to the icing)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Oven 350 degrees!

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl; flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Create your flax 'eggs' in a separate bowl. I really eyeball this part. Flax is so good for you and doesn't really impart a strange flavor or texture, it doesn't matter if you overdo this addition.
You are looking for a texture that is thick, but gooey.

Add this flax mixture and the oil to the dry mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Before the next step I also smash up the bananas in a separate bowl, using a fork or a potato masher. It makes it easier to mix into the batter and it also distributes the banana throughout the cake.

Stir in the vanilla, banana, pineapple with juice and nuts into your main large bowl. Now you have your batter. I love this batter because without the eggs and that nonsense you can stick a spoonful in your mouth. This batter is really tasty and it's hard not to eat too much of it!

Pour the batter into a oiled pan. Bake for 40 minutes or so until a toothpick can be inserted into the middle and come out relatively clean. It's not going to come out completely clean and the cooking time may vary. I look for a golden outer crust and then as long as the toothpick isn't covered in batter, I call it good.

While the cake is cooking prepare the frosting! See below!

Remove the cake from the oven after it's cooking time and let it cool about 15 minutes in the pan. Next run a butter knife along the inside of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert a plate over the top of the pan, flip and shake and jiggle it until it pops out onto the plate. Flip the cake back over.

Once it's completely cool, you want to split the cake so that it will be two layers and you can frost the middle. I find the best results when I oil my super sharp knife before cutting the cake.

Frost with the cream cheeze frosting in the middle, reassemble and then frost the top.

If you want to make the cake ahead of time, wait to frost. You can wrap it in plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge for a couple of days. Let it warm to room temperate before serving.

Cream Cheeze Frosting
1/2 pound Better Than Cream Cheese by Toffuti
1/4 cup margarine, softened (I just leave it on the counter top for about 30 minutes or so)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound confectioner's sugar
2-3 tablespoons of crushed pineapple with juice (optional)

Combine cream cheeze and margarine in a bowl and mix until creamy. Add the vanilla extract and the pineapple if you are using it. Mix.

Gradually add the sugar, beating on a low speed until you have a good consistency.

Frost your creation!

-I don't have a hand blender, so I sift the confectioner's sugar through a mesh strainer over top of the bowl and then mix. A little at a time. This helps a lot with the clumps of sugar that form in the frosting.
-Also, I often don't use the entire pound of confectioner's sugar. I look for a thick, creamy frosting and when my arm is way tired of mixing frosting. If you have a hand mixer you should go for more sugar and try for the fluffy consistency.


  1. Best. Cake. Ever. It makes birthdays worthwhile!!

  2. Heh--that was my birthday cake, wasn't it? (the plate tipped me off;) I'm psyched that you posted this. If I'd noticed earlier, I would have made it for YOUR birthday!:)