Monday, January 11, 2010

Hummingbird Cake

My sweet Elizabeth turned 8 yesterday! She is turning into a mini me! She loves to help out in the kitchen. I wasn't going to ask her to help dry the dishes for me since it was her birthday, but when she saw me washing, she asked if she could help dry. I know it won't last too long... so I will enjoy it while it lasts! She didn't have a preference for what kind of cake for me to make. I wanted to try something new. I've read about Hummingbird Cakes and it intrigued me. It is a dense cake without being too heavy. I decided to use fresh ground soft white wheat in it and it worked! I wouldn't want to use whole wheat in delicate cakes, but with this cake having bananas, pecans and pineapple in it, I figured it would hold up well. I must say, it was a hit! There is only one piece left... I hear it calling my name, but I think I will wait until the littles come home from school and share with them! Toasting the pecans brings out their nutty flavor and gives them a crisper texture. I toasted them at 350* for about 7 minutes, shaking the pan every couple of minutes. Careful, they can go from toasted to burnt real quick. I got the Stable Whipped Cream frosting from Coleens recipes It was very light and piped beautifully, with a hint of the cream cheese. This will be my go to recipe any time a cream cheese frosting is needed.

Cool Kitchen Gadgets: This is my food chopper. It makes quick (and clean) work out of chopping up nuts) No more nuts flying all over the kitchen while chopping with a knife! I use a paper plate underneath, chop a handful at a time and then toss the nuts into the dry ingredients! The chopper is useful for chopping fruits and veggies as well. The kids enjoy slapping the top of the plunger to chop.

Cool Kitchen Gadgets: Here is my kitchen scale. I use this mostly for baking, but it did come in quite handy for weighing food for dieting. I love the gram feature of it... but do wish it weighed in 1 gram increments instead of 2. The Tare feature is something that is necessary (IMHO) for a kitchen scale. I can weigh one ingredient, hit Tare, and then add a second ingredient, etc. 1 C of flour weighs 4 3/4 oz. (134 grams) Fresh ground flour will not measure the same as store bought flour since it has so much air incorporated into it during the grinding process. I weigh my grains before grinding. I also use the scale to evenly divide cake batter in the pans. Kitchen tips: I like to use parchment paper to line my cake pans. No worries about the bottom sticking. Then when you turn the cakes out of the pans, you just peel the liner off. I grease the pans before putting the liner in. This helps hold the liner in place. Then I grease the liner as well. You can find 9" parchment rounds at specialty baking supply stores or you can take a piece of parchment paper, fold it in half 4 times and trim it to fit. This may take more than one trim to get it right. Just unfold it and lay it in the pan. Then you can use the first one as a guide for the second one.

Hummingbird Cake

3 C (402 g) whole wheat pastry flour (AP could be used, but you can't tell this has whole wheat)
2 3/4 C (400 g) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1C (110 g) pecans, toasted and chopped
2 C mashed bananas
1 C crushed pineapple (with juice)
3 eggs beaten
3/4 C vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and pecans. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients stirring just until combined. Pour into two greased and floured (or greased and lined with parchment paper) 9" cake pans. Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes. Leave in pans for 10 minutes and then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Frost with Stable Whipped Cream.

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Combine the cream cheese, sugar and extracts in a large mixing bowl until very smooth (scrape the sides of the bowl often). While the mixer is still running, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Continue beating on high speed until very stiff peaks form.

Ice Cream cupcakes

This was an afterthought for the birthday party. I knew that some of my family would be coming to celebrate a bit before Nathan's family. I didn't want to cut into the cake until after everyone got to see it (I know "what a show off" ;-) So I took a cake mix (gasp!) and portioned it out into the ice cream cones. I stood the cones in a muffin pan... they didn't have any problem staying upright even though the muffin holes are much bigger. I DID overfill them though. ONLY fill them 1/2 -2/3 full or else you will get the batter running over the edge. They baked at 350* for 20-25 minutes. I used the same frosting as the cake and just piped it on. These were cute, but the cake did soften the ice cream cones which detracted from the texture.


Tasharoo said...

Hey! Thanks for the kitchen tips! They are great!

HoneyB said...

This is such a pretty cake! I have never had hummingbird cake but I have seen several recipes for it! I love the name but then, I love hummingbirds!

Anonymous said...

Heather, This cake was so good, but the frosting was heaven sent!
Love your blog!!!!