Sunday 3 June 2012

Hummingbird Cake

It was my birthday yesterday. Of course I'm well past the age where birthdays feel like some momentous, exciting occasion - after all, waking up and remembering you've turned 23 is nothing like the feeling of, say, waking up and remembering you're now 13. Still, though, this is the first birthday in recent memory that I am neither trying to finish some massive final project nor in the middle of moving to a new home (or even worse, both at once).

So, I made myself a cake.

This was the first time I've ever attempted any kind of big layer cake, so believe me when I say that this recipe is pretty foolproof! It's also very easily adapted to gluten-free, since it's meant to be dense and moist (in a good way - think carrot cake or banana bread). The cake recipe is adapted from the "original" Hummingbird Cake recipe printed in a 1978 issue of Southern Living magazine; aside from the obvious difference in flour, I also replaced part of the oil with applesauce to keep it from being too overwhelmingly rich. The frosting, however, is my own creation. Instead of the normal cream cheese frosting, I went out on a limb and made something similar, but using goat cheese with honey and some coconut oil. Don't let that combination put you off - - it still definitely tastes like cream cheese frosting, but even better. The tanginess of the goat cheese and the subtle coconut aroma pair perfectly with this fruit-filled cake cake. (Of course you can also use whatever other frosting you like - the cake itself is dairy-free, so if you can't eat dairy simply use a different frosting.)

Classic Hummingbird Cake
35 g oat flour
35 g chestnut flour
70 g brown rice flour
140 g tapioca flour
1/2 tsp Pomona's citrus pectin
1 1/2 tsp psyllium

200 g sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

3 large eggs
120 mL oil (I used grapeseed oil)
120 g (about 1/2 cup) applesauce
2-3 bananas, chopped into small pieces
1 can of crushed pineapple, including liquid (8-oz can)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
120 g (1 cup) chopped pecans

1. Grease three 8" cake pans and preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF
2. In a medium bowl, combine flours, pectin & psyllium, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and oil. (If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment on low speed.)
4. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir just enough to combine.
5. Add in the applesauce, bananas, pineapple (with liquid), vanilla, and pecans. Stir just enough to distribute everything uniformly.
6. Pour batter into the three pans. Bake for about 40 minutes (more or less, based on how well your pans heat).
7. Cool in the pans for about an hour, then tip out onto a rack to cool completely before frosting. (If you won't be frosting them right away, put them in the refrigerator after completely cooled.)
8. Frost the cake using a flat spatula. If desired, stick chopped pecans and shredded coconut to the sides of the cake using a spatula.

Creamy Honey Goat Cheese Frosting
1 8-oz package Trader Joe's Honey Goat Cheese (chèvre)
56 g unprocessed coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
250-275 g powdered sugar
2-3 tsp tapioca starch (if needed)

Blend goat cheese and coconut oil until smooth (an electric beater works well). Blend in the vanilla and gradually add the powdered sugar. Beat until it resembles whipped cream cheese. If the consistency is too runny, add 2-3 tsp tapioca starch.

1 comment:

  1. Mmm, I just made this recipe as muffins (about 20) and they're wonderful! Since I'm largely incapable of following instructions, I used 1 c. of banana puree (about 3 bananas) in place of the applesauce & chopped bananas, and cut the sugar by about half. To make up for that virtuous sugar-cutting move, I made a cream cheese swirl for the tops, which was delicious. Thank you for the fabulous recipe!