Hummingbird Cake has been a traditional Spring staple of my family for a long time. And it really is perfect for spring: Oh so terribly sweet, fruity and nutty, and altogether heavenly.
I couldn’t tell you the first time I had Hummingbird Cake. I know I discovered it online- though I don’t remember the route I took to get there. But it was during a point in my life when I was avidly trying any new recipe I could find in a mad dash attempt to get better at baking. Fat lot of good that did me; cakes are still one of my weak spots.
Irregardless of how I came about it, the second I bit into it- as lopsided and ugly as it was- I knew we’d be together for life; nothing, and I mean nothing, holds up to its deliciousness.
Over the years I’ve made adaptations to the traditional version that first appeared in Southern Living Magazine in 1978- adding wheat flour, using dark brown sugar, and opting for butter in place of oil. But year after year I head down to the market like clockwork at the start of Spring to pick up the ingredients; it’s become a tradition for me- one which I happily continue in my household as a married woman.
My familial recipe is a bit sweeter and denser than most I’ve had the privilege of eating, but I hope you’ll enjoy it all the same!
Boyett Family Hummingbird Cake
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup white cake or all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple
Toasted Walnuts for garnish
Directions: In a small bowl, mash the Bananas. Add pineapple (fruit only) and vanilla extract and mix well before setting aside and preheat your oven to 300°F.
In a small bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and whip until light and fluffy before combining in the Milk and vanilla. In a different, larger bowl sift together the remaining dry ingredients (both types of flour, salt, spices, and baking soda). With small amounts at a time, fold the wet into the dry starting with the sugar mixture and ending with the banana mixture.
Once done, divide the batter between 2-3 round springform cake pans (number will depend on the size of pan you use). Place in oven and bake only until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry and clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Once cooled completely, remove cakes from pan and assemble as a standard layer cake using Cream Cheese frosting. Garnish with toasted walnuts as desired.
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