The simple act of Cake means celebration to me. And indeed, there's a lot to celebrate right now: May Day, the full-blown coming of spring and the imminent arrival of summer, my friend Kashy's birthday (happy birthday, Kashy!), the OBL news-- the list goes on. So much happiness to celebrate at the beginning of May!
Here's my celebratory cake: a celebration hummingbird cake, with sweet, incredibly moist layers packed full of banana, pineapple, and coconut, with the nutty crunch of pecans and the slightly sour and salty finish of cream cheese frosting. Usually, I'm not a big fan of a million and one healthy ingredients invading my cake space, but for some reason, a hummingbird cake, dressed up with the addition of coconut, just seemed perfect for the season. There's something about the changing weather, the noticeably longer days, and the softer light in the evenings that just makes me really want to eat fruit and nuts and vegetables more than I did during the winter. And berry and stone fruit seasons are right around the corner!
Okay, now, before you get your slice of cake, there's one last BIG piece of news to share--one last HUGE point of celebration. desserts for breakfast has been chosen as a finalist in Saveur magazine's 2011 Best Food Blog Awards for Best Baking and Desserts Blog.
You guys, words cannot express how hugely flattered and honored I am to be nominated by you all and to be chosen as a finalist by the editors at Saveur. I'm in such incredible company that I just can't really believe it. Thank you thank you thank you. Now, I have one more request, if I may: please, head on over to Saveur and VOTE for desserts for breakfast for Best Baking and Desserts Blog! The ultimate decision is up to popular vote, so go vote and tell all of your friends and family and family friends and postmen and barbers and everyone to go and vote, too! (You have to register, which is a wee bit annoying, but ye shall be rewarded with celebration cake and much gratitude from me. ;-))
So here's wishing everyone a happy upcoming May packed full of celebration and cake! If you have something to celebrate, share it with me below!
Read on for recipe....
Celebration Hummingbird Cake
makes one three-layer 6" cake
inspired by Saveur
1 1/2 cups AP flour (~216 gr)
1 tspn ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 cup (~2.5 oz) pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut, shredded
1/2 cup (100 gr) sugar
1/2 cup (100 gr) loosely packed dark brown sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, beaten
4 oz. fresh pineapple, finely chopped
3 very riped bananas, mashed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tspn vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 6" round cake pans, greasing and flouring the sides and lining the bottoms with parchment paper rounds. If desired, wrap each pan with a bake-even strip. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, chopped pecans, and shredded coconut. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.
3. In a mixer bowl, combine the egg, egg yolk, and sugars and beat on high until smooth, about one minute.
4. Add the chopped pineapple, mashed bananas, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract to the egg mixture and beat until combined.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two stages, beating well after each addition.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out nearly clean.
7. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for about 15 minutes before turning the cakes out of the pans. For ease of frosting, freeze the cake layers.
for frosting and assembly:
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 tspn coconut extract
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
16 oz. cream cheese, cold
toasted pecans, finely chopped
fresh pineapple, chopped
1. Beat the butter on medium high for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
2. Beat in the vanilla and coconut extracts.
3. Gradually beat in the sifted powdered sugar.
4. Gradually add the cold cream cheese, beating well after each addition. Use immediately to frost the cake.
5. In between each layer of the cake, sprinkle a layer of chopped and toasted pecans and fresh pineapple chunks.