By Marsha Fottler –
Making a Hummingbird cake from scratch is a good idea anytime of the year, but I especially like to preheat the oven and assemble the ingredients on a spring morning. This legendary three-layer cake with cream cheese frosting is full of fruit and pecans and it gets its name from sweetness. If you eat a piece on the porch or at a picnic table in the back yard, you might just attract a hummingbird looking for nectar. Personally, I’ve never had that experience but I’ve certainly attracted a lot of friends and family whenever I’ve baked this cake. I like to eat a big piece for breakfast with black coffee or strong hot tea. But, it works just a well as a dessert after dinner with lemonade, milk or as a late night snack. This rich cake is also a great potluck treat to bring to a party. Bake it the day before and keep it refrigerated until you carry it into the party. You’ll be the most welcome guest.
The Hummingbird cake recipe that was first printed in the February 1978 issue of Southern Living magazine is the one you want. It went on to become the most requested recipe in the magazine’s history and it is included in the Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. You can customize your cake by tinting the frosting (I usually make mine bright yellow) and by elaborately decorating this scrumptious dessert. Also, some bakers use walnuts instead of pecans. Hummingbird cake is rich and it makes a big impression. But, best of all, a piece of Hummingbird cake is deliriously delicious whether you’re eating with friends or having a little party all by yourself.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups chopped bananas
Cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional for frosting decoration)
Combine 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 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.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans on top or decorate in some other fashion. Store in refrigerator.