The Infamous Hummingbird

This cake apparently originated from the southern American states. It is said to have been around for quite a while. I am therefore always surprised that no-one I bake this for has heard of it or eaten it. Anyway, once they do, they are always wanting more and wondering why they have only just discovered it!

There are no hummingbirds in this cake. It has been said that it is named so because the cake is sugary rich and is therefore like the nectar that hummingbirds like to feed on. Whatever the name, the cake is a moist and packed with flavour. Similar to a carrot cake in many ways, but with banana and pineapple. A great all-rounder to spoil your guests with.

THE RECIPE

300g caster sugar
3 eggs
300ml sunflower oil
270g peeled bananas, mashed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
100g pineapple (fresh if possible)
100g shelled pecan nuts (or walnuts), chopped

For cream cheese frosting:
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter
125g cream cheese

Preheat the overn to 170C, gas mark 3. Grease and line two or three cake 20cm cake tins, depending on how many layers you want.

Put the sugar, eggs, oil, banana and cinnamon in a bowl and mix together until well incorporated. Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and vanilla essence and continue to beat until everything is well mixed.

Stir in the chopped pineapple and pecan nuts carefully until evenly dispersed.

Pur the mixture into the prepared cake tins, dividing evenly and smoothing over. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. If you only put into two cake tins, it will need a bit longer than this. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

As you can see, I went for the 'two cake tin' option, one of which is smaller than the other. It didn't seem to affect the taste though!

Now make the cream cheese frosting. Beat the icing sugar and butter togetyher until they are well combined. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy (approx. 5 minutes – it helps if you have an electric mixer at this point!). Do not overbeat, however, as it can quickly become runny.

When the cakes are cold, spread a layer of the cream cheese frosting onto the first one. Place a second cake on yop and cover with frosting too. Also cover the side with frosting if you want. Finish with pecan nuts and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

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Black bottom cupcakes

I like cupcakes. I especially like cheesecake. This recipe, therefore, appealed to me – combining both together in one cake. Another innovative cupcake solution from the guys at the Hummingbird bakery!

The chocolate sponge base is a dark, dense mixture, which strangely has no butter or egg in it. It combines well with the cheesecake centre though, which provides the extra sweetness and goo. The recipe suggests you might want to put some cream cheese frosting on top. I didn’t think it needed it, but it’s always an option if you want it even more sweet.

THE RECIPE

190g plain flour
120g caster sugar
40g cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
40ml sunflower oil
1½ tsp white vinegar/lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla extract

For the cheesecake filling:
140g cream cheese
60g caster sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
100g milk chocolate chips

a 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases

Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. For the chocolate sponge base, put the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl and mix with a handheld electric whisk on slow speed until all the dry ingredients are well incorporated.

Put the oil, vinegar, vanilla extract and 125ml water in a jug and whisk to combine. While the electric whisk is running in the flour bowl, slowly add the contents of the jug, increasing the speed of the blender as the mixture thickens. Continue to beat until all the ingredients are incorporated. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full. Set aside.

For the cheesecake filling, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla extract and salt in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until smooth and fluffy. Don’t start of too quickly or the mixture is likely to separate.

Stir in the chocolate chips by hand until evenly dispersed. Don’t overmix.

Scoop about 1 tbs of the cheesecake filling on top of the cupcake mixture in the cases and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes are firm to the touch and they have an even golden colour on the cheesecake filling. Don’t overcook, as the cheesecake will become dry and crumbly. Leave to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.