Saturday, November 20, 2004

Hummingbird Cake

Well, I don't have to cook this Thanksgiving because Quentin and I are staying at my parents' house until Thursday morning. Then we're driving to Hammond, La., to celebrate Thanksgiving with David's family. But I didn't get out of cooking the traditional Hummingbird Cake for my father (so I won't get to miss his traditional "How did you get all those little feathers off so easily?" question).

This Hummingbird Cake recipe is from Southern Living. It first ran in the magazine in February 1978 but has been repeated many times since because it's so popular. It was elected favorite recipe ever in 1990 and has won blue ribbons at several county fairs across the South. It was submitted by Mrs. L. H. Wiggins, Greensboro, NC. (I both love and detest Mrs. Wiggins because I have to make this cake about four times every holiday season by popular demand. I've made it so long now that I'm bored with it but everyone insists on it. So beware of the danger before you try it!)

Hummingbird Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 (8-oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans (you can also use walnuts - the taste is the same and they are usually cheaper)
1 3/4 cup mashed bananas (about three bananas)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Frosting

Combine first five 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 nine-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350 degrees for 23 to 28 minutes or till a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.

Stir 1/2 cup pecans into cream cheese frosting, if desired, or reserve them to sprinkle over the top of the frosted cake. Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. (It's best to mix the pecans in because then no one will see the results if any crumbs get in the frosting. Also, I sometimes decorate the edge of the cake with pecan halves in a circle.)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 (16-oz) package powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream butter and cream cheese. Gradually add powdered sugar, beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. (I always double the frosting recipe because I can't tolerate a lightly frosted cake.)

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