It wasn’t until I got married and told people we served hummingbird cake as the groom’s cake that I learned this confection is a Southern thing. Which means that’s also when I learned a whole lotta people are missing out. Think of hummingbird cake as a tropical twist on banana bread. I followed this recipe but made a few updates:
Get your oven preheated to 350. To make this, you’ll need the bowl to your mixer plus two others. In the first of those “other” bowls, mash two bananas and mix with 1/4 c. crushed pineapple in juice. In the second “other” bowl, whisk together 1 c. flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt. While the recipe didn’t call for it, I added ground ginger and cardamom. Now in the mixer bowl, blend 1 stick unsalted butter (room temp) with 1/4 c. sugar. Beat for 3-4 minutes then add two eggs, one at a time. Then add the dry ingredients, bits at a time, still beating. Finally, add the banana/pineapple mixture and beat slowly just til it’s all combined. I use the lowest setting to beat everything. Bake those suckers for 18-20 minutes.
For the frosting, I made a traditional cream cheese frosting. For my 12 [large] cupcakes, I made a smaller batch of frosting because I’m not big on frosting in general. 4 tbsp butter (1/2 stick) + 4 oz cream cheese + 2 c. powdered sugar + 1 tsp vanilla. Beat it all together and you’ll have the frosting with just the right thickness and tang. Note: traditionally, hummingbird cake has pecans and sweetened coconut folded into the batter. I don’t like nut’s in cakes so I use them as garnish on top of that traditional cream cheese frosting. I also used unsweetened coconut because, well, the store was out of the other stuff. Honestly, the unsweetened kind may have been better. It cuts some of the sweetness of the frosting, and I’m not big on super sweet or frosting. Simply spread some frosting on top of a cupcake and don’t worry about piping it on all pretty because step 2 is to roll it in the unsweetened shredded coconut you’ve poured on a plate. Top with pecans.
I love making this recipe as cupcakes. Since I only need a little bit of something sweet to satisfy my craving, this is much easier than a whole cake. It also makes it easier to gift the leftovers to friends. And hummingbird cake is just so good! It’s like a fluffier banana bread or a spice cake gone tropical. Everybody who’s been so busy baking banana bread in quarantine needs to realize this is the real way to go.