I’m a big fan of carrot cake (it counts towards your five-a-day right?), so when I spotted this recipe in my beloved Hummingbird Bakery cookbook and it said it was similar to carrot cake I couldn’t resist giving it a go. I also had some very brown bananas that had been sitting in the fruit bowl for ages to use up.
On top of that I was still waiting for baby Stephenson to make an appearance and had read that pineapple can help to get things moving, not sure it counts in a cake and I believe you need to eat about ten full pineapples a day but hey at least the baking kept me occupied!
I preheated the oven to 170 degrees and got all of my ingredients out. The original recipe calls for pecans but I couldn’t find any in the shop closest to home so went with walnuts instead.
Next I put 300g of caster sugar, three eggs, 300ml of sunflower oil, 270g of peeled, mashed bananas (the browner they are the easier they are to mash) and a teaspoon of ground cinnamon into a bowl and beat them together using the paddle attachment on my trusty Kitchen Aid.
Although mine didn’t, the recipe says not to worry if the mixture looks slightly split.
Next in went 300g of plain flour, one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, half a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of vanilla extract – all of which was added a bit at a time while the mixer did its stuff.
100g of chopped tinned pineapple and 100g of chopped walnuts were then stirred in by hand and the whole lot was ready to go into the oven.
The recipe says to use three 20 cm cake tines, with the bases lined with greaseproof paper. I only have two such tins and toyed with the idea of just splitting the mixture into two. However as I had the time I decided to split it three ways and cook two of the cakes first then the final one on its own reusing one of the tins. I used some scales to make sure I had three equal cakes.
Each cake took around 25 minutes to cook until golden brown.
Once they were completely cooled I turned my attention to the frosting. The recipe used the Hummingbird Bakery’s cream cheese version, doubled.
I added 600g of icing sugar to 100g of unsalted butter and mixed it using a paddle attachment in the Kitchen Aid. The recipe said to mix until it ‘comes together’ and on reflection I hadn’t mixed it well enough because there will still pieces of butter in my frosting at the end. I also think that had the butter been softer at the start it would have dispersed into the sugar more easily.
250g of cream cheese was then beaten in to the mixture on medium to high speed for around five minutes to make the frosting light and fluffy. Apparently you have to be careful not to overbeat it as it can turn runny quickly so I’d keep a close eye on it.
Each cake was then sandwiched together using the frosting. The recipe says to cover the sides as well as the top of the cake with the icing but I decided that given the lumpy buttery bits (they didn’t look very nice) and the consistency of my frosting (it could have been a bit thicker I think) I would just do the top.
A few more walnuts – a combination of halved ones and some chopped up ones – were then sprinkled over the top along with some sweetened pineapple pieces I spotted in the supermarket that weren’t part of the recipe but I thought might look nice.
And that was that, my first Hummingbird Cake was complete – and it looked delicious.
I am happy to report that the cake tasted as good as it looked, even with the odd bits of butter in the frosting (although these did disappear a bit as the icing set).
The sponge was moist and tasty and was similar to carrot cake, although obviously with banana and pineapple instead of the carrot!
The crunch of the nuts both throughout the cake and on the top combined with the smooth sweetness of the icing meant there was a nice mixture of textures.
Altogether the result was fab and I certainly plan to make this again. The fact that you can use tinned pineapple also mean it is easy to knock up without having to go out and buy too many faffy ingredients.
Yumminess: 9/10 a serious contender for carrot cake
Faffiness: 4/10 More simple than it looks, particularly if you have three cake tins or just use what you have
Mr S’s verdict: 7/10 ‘An impressive score considering there is no chocolate in sight!’