If you were looking through our family’s photo albums you would think my Dad is a massive sweet tooth. This misleading impression is created because there are lots of photos of Dad eating dessert or cake. In reality, Dad hardly ever eats sweets and so, on the rare occasion he does we always snap a photograph of it.
Dad’s aversion to desserts meant that when Mum asked me to make a cake for Dad’s 6oth birthday I had complete free reign over the cake to make. I didn’t have to take into account Dad’s preferences at all as I knew I’d be lucky if he even took a bite. I decided to make one of my favourite cakes, a Hummingbird cake. I think this cake has a bit of a summery feel with its banana, pineapple and pecan nut filling. Plus I knew the triple layered cake would look spectacular when it came time for Dad to blow out his candles – which is all he cared about.
If anything is going to tempt a non dessert lover, it’s this Hummingbird cake as it’s light while still being lovely and moist. I’ve adapted the recipe from London’s famous Hummingbird Bakery – after all if anyone is going to have a top Hummingbird cake recipe it’s the bakery that’s named after it. After all the excitement of Dad’s 60th had died down, I quite enjoyed my slice as I pondered why I hadn’t managed to inherit Dad’s savoury tooth.
- 300g castor sugar
- 3 eggs
- 300ml sunflower oil
- 270g peeled bananas, mashed (2-3 bananas)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 300g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100g pineapple, chopped into small pieces (I used fresh pineapple but you can use tinned)
- 100g shelled pecan nuts (or walnuts), chopped, plus extra, chopped and whole to decorate
- 600g icing sugar
- 100g butter
- 125g cream cheese
- 1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
- 2. Put the sugar, eggs, oil, banana and cinnamon in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until everything is well mixed.
- 3. Stir in the chopped pineapple and pecan nuts by hand until evenly dispersed.
- 4. Pour the mixture into three 20 cm lined cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife.
- 5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- 6. For the frosting, beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
- 7. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.
- 8. When the cakes are cold, put one on a cake stand and spread about one-quarter of the cream cheese frosting over it with a palette knife. Place a second cake on top and spread another quarter of the frosting over it. Top with the last cake and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Top with pecan nuts (and 60 candles!).