Hummingbird Cake

What to do when you have too many overripe bananas but also want something more exciting than banana bread? Make Hummingbird Cake! I had the very good excuse of a dear colleague’s birthday, but I think too many bananas is an entirely valid reason for cake. 

Tropical, layered, pretty, a little bit unusual, Hummingbird Cake is wonderfully forgiving and flexible: swap pecans for walnuts, or leave the nuts out, add raisins or sultanas, cover the whole cake in coconut flakes, the essence remains. 

Cake batter: mash 4 ripe bananas, add a drained and chopped tin of pineapple pieces, add 2 large eggs, 250ml olive oil, and a glug of vanilla extract. If reducing your refined sugars, add a bit of honey to taste. Sift in 350g self raising flour, 1tsp cinnamon, a big handful of pecans (or walnuts and/or sultanas) and if you are fine with the sugar, up to 350g caster sugar and fold all the ingredients together well.

Note: I omit the caster sugar completely from the batter, adding a large tbsp honey into the wet ingredients. This makes for a slightly denser but still totally delicious cake, which this style of cake can wear comfortably. I still use icing sugar for the icing, but figure I’m cutting a lot of sugar out of an already quite sweet cake!

Pour batter into a greased cake tin – you can use two round springforms, or for the birthday cake photographed, I used one large flat pan and then I halved the finished cake to create the layers – depending on the depth of your chosen pan, the baking time at 180 degrees Celcius will probably be 25-40mins. 

Once cooled, ice in two layers. Rosemary flowers or other decorations as appropriate.

Icing: 250g butter, 250g thick cream cheese (don’t use light or spreadable!), 500g pure icing sugar, the zest of one lemon, and the juice of half a lemon (zest the lemon first, then juice). I have come to the belief that icing should always be well-whipped. It’s just better, trust me.

 

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