I have my ski socks on, the fire is roaring away, no I’m not in a nice chalet in the French Alps, I’m at home in England where it’s probably as cold as a ski resort even though Easter has been and gone. Oh well, I think we have done enough complaining about the weather. It is beautifully sunny today, thank goodness. Yesterday was a whole load of miserable, so hopefully things are starting to look up.
What does brighten things up is that this weekend will be a proper family get together at home, with all three sisters in attendance, which is no mean feat these days. Luckily for me my older sister, the one who pops up on this blog every now and again, was home today to help me out in the kitchen.
When I walked past the fruit bowl and saw a hoard of overripe bananas and a pineapple I knew there was only one thing for it: Hummingbird Cake. Like banana bread but with pineapple thrown in as well. mmmmm. And with my sous chef/photographer/magic cleaning elf to help me, this was a lot of fun to make. You can add other bits and bobs to this recipe too, some people chuck grated or finely chopped apple in, we added some desiccated coconut and used some walnuts as well as pecans. This one is straight out of the first Hummingbird recipe book. Because it uses oil it’s already dairy free, win!
I’ve still not ventured into the world of dairy free cream cheese frosting, so I used vanilla frosting for this, which is probably a bit too sweet for it but works fine. My mum follows a Weightwatchers diet, and was a little disappointed to work out that this cake has 258 points in it, which works out as 21.5 points per 12th of the cake, nearly a whole day’s points allowance. Not for dieters then.
Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease and line the bottom of three 20cm cake tins.
Put the sugar, eggs, oil, banana and cinnamon in a mixer and beat until well incorporated.
Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until everything is well mixed.
Stir in the chopped nuts, coconut and pineapple by hand until evenly dispersed.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins. My sister says she normally weighs her mixture to make sure she gets perfectly even layers.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, beat the butter/Trex with a spoonful of icing sugar until smooth. With the mixer on, slowly add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until sandy. Dribble in some milk and mix, add the vanilla extract and continue to beat, adding a little more milk until the consistency is smooth and light.
To cover the cake, place the first layer on a turntable, secured with a little buttercream. Smooth a quarter of the frosting over it, allowing it to hang over the edge. Put the next layer on top and repeat with the frosting. Put the final layer on top and spread a thin layer over it, bringing the frosting down the sides to cover the whole cake in a very thin layer of frosting. This is the crumb coat, designed to get crumbs in it. Then put the cake in the fridge for about half an hour.
Once the frosting is firm and dry, pile pretty much all the frosting that is left on top of the cake, smooth it out and begin spreading it down the sides. The turntable really helps for this. Finish by using a scraper to get perfectly smooth sides, hold it at a slight angle to the cake, just touching the frosting and spin the turntable slowly.
Finally, sprinkle with cinnamon, coconut and put a small pile of pecans or walnuts in the middle.