Residing, as I do, “down under”, the first hummingbird cake I tasted was the one I baked myself. Like many quintessentially American foods (biscuits and gravy, red velvet cake, cheese from a can) this cake is largely unknown in Australia, which is strange considering it’s basically a glorified banana cake, and a bloody tasty one at that.
Given that I don’t believe there’s a cake on earth that can’t be improved by a hit of cream cheese icing, I honestly don’t know how this gem escaped my notice for so long. It really is my kind of cake! It’s moist and fluffy, tangy with pineapple and not too sweet.
Traditionally containing banana, crushed pineapple, pecans and spices, my version also contains lime for a bit of an Antipodean twist. I also threw in a bit of wholemeal flour, mostly so I can pretend it’s healthy and eat it for breakfast.
Hummingbird Cake with Pineapple and Lime Cream Cheese Icing
Adapted from From the Kitchen
360g (2 1/2 cups) self raising flour
60g (1/2 cup) wholemeal self raising flour*
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
180ml (3/4 cup) canola or vegetable oil
200g (1 cup) caster sugar
75g (3/4 cup, loosely packed) brown sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3 large, very ripe bananas, mashed (yielding approximately 2 cups)
1 x 440g can crushed pineapple, drained with juice reserved (yielding 300g pineapple once drained)
80g (6 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
250g (9 oz.) cream cheese, softened
zest of 1 lime
5 tbsp. reserved pineapple juice
360g (3 cups) icing (confectioners) sugar, sifted
Preheat your oven to 170C (340F). Grease and line 2 20cm (8″) round cake tins.
In a bowl sift together the white flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in the wholemeal flour.
In another bowl whisk together the oil, sugars, vanilla and eggs. Stir in the mashed banana and pineapple. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
Divide the mixture evenly between your prepared tins. Bake for 40 minutes or until the sides of the cake are coming away from the edges of the tin and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out cleanly. Let the cakes cool in their tins for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the icing, beat together the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer until well combined and fluffy. Add the lime zest and pineapple juice and beat. Add the icing sugar and beat until well combined.
When the cakes are cool, level them using a serrated knife. Place one onto a cake board or plate and top with 1/3 of the icing. Make sure to spread it all the way to the edges. Top with the second cake. Cover with icing, using a thinner layer on the sides and scraping off the excess for a naked look.
* The wholemeal flour adds an interesting texture to the cake, it doesn’t really affect the taste. Feel free to swap for white if that’s all you’ve got.