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Golden hummingbird cake

by Howard Middleton
Golden hummingbird cake

Golden hummingbird cake

  • Dessert
  • easy
  • 6
  • 2 hours 30 minutes, plus several hours drying time for the pineapple flowers and cooling time for the cakes

PT2H30M

Why not try?

The origin of the hummingbird cake is questionable. Some say its name comes from a nectar-like quality – others claim that you can’t eat it without humming with pleasure. It hails from the Deep South of America (picture teatime at Tara) and features a tropical fruit basket of ingredients – coconut, pineapple, banana, pecans and passion fruit. For extra glamour, I add pineapple ‘flowers’.

This particular hummingbird winged through fields of golden corn and came out gluten-free. Add white coconut rum to the frosting and its journey will take you somewhat off course to Malibu – geography has never been my strong point.

If you make the flowers, you can save enough fresh pineapple for the cake. If not, use tinned or chilled chunks. Soft, ripe bananas work best but if yours are too firm just pummel them a little before peeling.

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

1
Preheat the oven to 110°C/gas mark ¼ and line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment
2
To make the pineapple flowers, trim the top and bottom of the pineapple, then stand it on its bottom and trim away the skin
3
Now you have 2 choices – you can either fillet out the brown ‘eyes’ with a small sharp knife (some suggest a melon baller, but I find this takes away too much flesh) or proceed to the next step and then pick out the brown bits later
4
Put the pineapple on its side and, using a large sharp knife, slice it as thinly as you can. You’re bound to get some ‘fails’ but these are chef’s treats
5
If you’ve not already removed the brown bits from the edges, do it now with a sharp knife or apple corer
6
Now pat the pineapple slices with kitchen roll to remove as much juice as possible
7
Put the slices on the lined baking sheets and bake for at least 1 hour, turning them over after about 30 minutes. When the slices are dry to the touch and beginning to turn papery, carefully transfer them to a mini muffin tin (or any similar bun tin) to shape them into flowers
image
8
Reduce the oven temperature to its lowest setting (if it will go any lower) and keep checking until the pineapple flowers have dried out completely. You can even turn off the oven and leave overnight. Store the flowers in an airtight container until needed
9
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease 2 15cm (6 inch) loose bottom or springform cake tins and line with baking parchment
10
To make the cake, whisk the oil with the sugar in a large mixing bowl, then add the egg yolks, nut butter, chopped pecans and chopped pineapple
11
Scoop out the passion fruit seeds and pulp and add this to the mix, along with the mashed banana. Stir in the flour, coconut, baking powder and flavourings and mix well
12
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, and then carefully fold them into the cake mixture, so they are incorporated without losing too much air
13
Divide the mixture between the 2 tins and bake for about 30 minutes, until the cakes have shrunk slightly from the sides of the tins and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out reasonably clean
14
Let the cakes cool in the tins for a while, then turn out onto a wire rack
15
To make the frosting, whisk the softened butter with the icing sugar, lemon or lime zest and a little coconut rum, if using. Add the cream cheese and keep whisking until light and fluffy
16
To assemble, slice each cake in 2 horizontally and place 1 half on a plate or cake stand. Sandwich the cakes together with 3/4 of the frosting, then top with the rest. Decorate with pineapple flowers before serving
image
17
The unfrosted cakes will keep in an airtight container for a day or 2 (though they become a little stickier). The frosted cake needs refrigerating
 

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