No Reason

Monday, June 18, 2012

Do you really need a reason to make a cake? I didn't think so. And that's how this two layer Hummingbird Cake made it into my fridge last week. It is the perfect cake to make in the Spring and Summer months.

Hummingbird Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves 12

A perfectly Spring dessert - Hummingbird Cake is a Southern dessert that earned its name because it is as sweet as the nectar that attracts hummingbirds. This moist layer cake is sweetened with banana, pineapple and coconut and is studded with toasted pecans. Cream Cheese Frosting has the perfect balance of tartness to balance out the sweetness of this cake.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
3 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3)
8 ounces crushed pineapple
3/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped and toasted
1 cup desiccated unsweetened coconut

1 recipe of Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9 inch cake pans with butter. Line the bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

 Place the oil, vanilla extract and sugar in a medium bowl fitted for an electric mixer. Mix together on medium/high speed until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Beat on medium/high speed for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the banana, pineapple and coconut. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Finally, fold in the toasted pecans. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans. Bake the cakes until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the cake pans to wire racks and let cool for 15 minutes. Carefully run a knife alongside the edges of the cake and the pan; then invert the cake onto a flat plate. Remove the parchment paper. Invert the cake back onto a wire rack to cool completely. The cakes can be made 1 day ahead of time, and individually wrapped in plastic before frosting.

 To assemble the cake, place one layer of the cake on a large cake plate or pedestal. Put about 2/3 cup frosting on the cake and use an off set spatula to evenly distribute the frosting. Place the second cake layer on top and use the remaining frosting on the top and sides of the cake. This cake will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Frosts 1 nine inch layer cake

The amounts here range slightly. If I want the frosting to have a more pronounced cream cheese flavor I only use 6 ounces of butter and 14 ounces of sugar. If I want the classic cream cheese frosting I use the full amounts. Often I omit the vanilla extract, as it changes the flavor and color of the frosting.

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6-8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
14-16 ounces powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

In a large bowl fitted for an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese, butter, powder sugar and vanilla on medium/high speed until smooth and creamy. Store the frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use. Take out of the fridge 5 minutes before frosting.


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