It’s a new twist for those ripened bananas that are turning more spotted as I type. I never had a Hummingbird cake until my friend Cindy and I took a short road trip to Beaufort and had lunch at the Beaufort Inn. Southern Graces (a local catering company) serves lunch daily and brunch on Sunday at the Historic Inn - more on that at a later date. Anyway, so impressed, were we, with the sweet, slight crunch and moist texture of our pieces of Hummingbird Cake that I set out to find my own recipe. And I did, there are recipes flying all over the internet and are pretty much bog standard (except for Martha’s, obviously she changes hers up – because she’s Martha – freakin- Stewart! That’s why!). Hummingbird cake legend has it that the very first recipe was printed in Southern Living in 1978, submitted by Mrs. LH Wiggins of Greensboro, NC. The exact explanation of the name remains elusive (like the little hummingbird itself) but it’s thought to have come from the sweetness derived from using the combination of crushed pineapple and bananas. Or possibly that it makes you hum when you devour it. Either way, I’m just happy I experienced this delightful little treat! I decided to make cupcakes (for our Labor Day BBQ), and like a hummingbird, one minute the cupcakes were there and the next they were not. This was truly one of the easiest and tastiest batch of cupcakes I have ever made.
Makes about 18 cupcakes
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 cup chopped pecans – about 4 oz
3 mashed bananas
8oz crushed pineapple
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
Cream Cheese Frosting
8oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
16oz confectioners’ sugar (about 4 ½ cups)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin tins paper liners.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Combine the bananas, pineapple, and pecans in a medium bowl. Set aside. Beat the oil, sugar and vanilla on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment – about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated and beginning to turn pale – about three minutes. On low speed, add the banana mixture and continue beating until combined. Reduce speed to “stir” and add the flour, mix until the batter is smooth. Fill each liner with approximately a scant ½ a cup of batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back when pressed lightly in the middle. Cool on rack.
To make the frosting:
Beat the butter and cream cheese, and vanilla on medium until smooth using an electric mixer. Slowly add the sugar (and I mean slowly or you will have a confectioners’ sugar cloud in the kitchen) and beat until incorporated and smooth. Spread frosting over cooled cupcakes. Can be made one day ahead and stored in the fridge. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
It’s All Delicious Notes: This recipe was adapted from Paula Deen, Art Smith and Mrs. LH Wiggins of Greensboro, NC. Also, when I fill my cupcake liners, I use an old-fashioned ice cream scoop – the tins fill perfectly every time.