This Cake Is for the Birds


This past weekend I made hummingbird cake, and I still start to drool whenever I think about it. Oops… I better get a cloth for my keyboard.

Anyway, the cake disappeared almost immediately, and for once my final product actually came out looking exactly the same as the snazzy cookbook picture (yes!).

It’s a lot healthier than most other cakes out there, and it has a pleasant fruity and nutty flavor that I hadn’t tasted before. Basically, it was awesome. Want to make it? Read on.

Here’s what you’ll need to assemble:

• 2 bananas

• ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of crushed pineapple (I used fresh-cut pineapple, which I threw in the food processor for a few seconds, but canned is OK as well)

• 1 cup white sugar

• 1 2/3 cup flour

• 2 ½ tsp baking powder

• ½ tsp salt

• 1 tsp cinnamon

• ¼ tsp each of ground ginger, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg (if you don’t have these, just use an extra teaspoon of cinnamon)

• 2/3 cup canola oil (vegetable oil would work, too, or probably even olive oil)

• 2 fresh eggs

• ¼ cup pineapple juice (if you buy crushed pineapple, it usually comes in its own juice)

And for the frosting (which isn’t completely necessary, but VERY good):

• 3 tablespoons of butter, at room temperature

• ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of cream cheese, at room temperature

• 1 cup of confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

• 1 ½ tsp lemon juice

I am salivating already at just listing the ingredients. OK, here’s what you do:

Preheat the oven to 350. Mash the bananas with a fork or pastry cutter, and combine them in a large bowl with the crushed pineapple and white sugar. Mix everything together well.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and other spices into the mixture. Stir with a spatula or a wooden spoon until it’s all well combined and smooth.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, and pineapple juice until it seems smooth and a little frothy. Pour that mixture into the flour/fruit mixture, and stir again until everything is combined.

Pour your batter into an 8” round cake pan (I’m sure a square pan would work just as well) and pop it in the oven for an hour. When it’s done, it should be dark brown on top, and a toothpick should come out clean when it’s dipped into the middle.

In the meantime, you can make your frosting. Use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and cream cheese until they’re smoothly combined. Then add 1/3 cup of the powdered sugar and ½ tsp of the lemon juice. Beat again until smooth. Repeat twice more until you’ve added in all the powdered sugar and lemon juice. The frosting should be thick. Beat the final product for a couple of minutes just so it thickens up a little more, then stick it in the refrigerator until the cake finishes cooking.

When the cake is done, let it cool for at least 30 minutes, then frost it. Mmm… look at that nice, blank canvas all clear for frosting.


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