Sometimes I am Southern. I was raised by my grandparents (mostly) in small southern inland town and in the summer months, we’d migrate to the beach an hour and half south. While the south is beautiful and has much to offer many, it isn’t a place that truly resonates with me. My spirit. I often say, “You are born where you are born but choose your home.” Occasionally I make an exception and call on those southern roots however, and claim the South Carolina. Such is the case with the Hummingbird Cake. And collard greens and Hoppn’ John peas on New Year’s Day..
Two friends share the same birthday. They are more like family really. They happen to be a couple. He happens to be turning 50. As part of my gift to them and being in love with cake, I offer to make their cake. The gleefully agree as they are fans of my sweet treats and baked goods. My most loyal taste testers. I am inspired by Croquembouche and Baba au Rhum but both aren’t really either of my friends’ style of cakes. I want the cakes to be stackable. I do a bit of searching and I proceed with mini bundt cakes; Croquembouche style and soaking Baba au Rhum style with a Hummingbird Cake batter. Hummingbird Cake is one of my most favorites of all time.
Oh, btw, somewhere in between mulling over recipes and baking all these little cakes (throw some late night Thai food and a couple glasses of Champagne), I call my friend and insist she be in charge of the cake tasting and make the final decision for them both. I bake a black onyx chocolate cakes and vanilla cakes as an after thought. Just in case. In case what? I don’t know but just in case. You will see those below too. After tasting, eliminating Hummingbird test cake that tastes like breakfast bread (mixed flours in that cake) and while chocolate and vanilla were both very tasty (especially vanilla), Hummingbird Cake with my spin wins. Now how am I going to build and transport these little butter toasted coconut pineapple praline rum soaked cakes?
The Hummingbird Cake came to the United States from Jamaica in the late 1970’s and was first published in Southern Living then. This cake also won the favorite cake award at the Kentucky State Fair. Pineapple, banana, pecans and cream cheese frosting are the main flavors traditionally. For my little cakes, I skip the nuts and add toasted coconut and pralines. Cream cheese isn’t my favorite frosting as of late so I test other flavors and styles of frostings.
Searching.. Inspirations… and looking recipes and frosting looks a little like this:
Round One: Hummingbird Cake
Back to the Hummingbird Cake…Round TWO:
The cake makes it to the Viceroy Santa Monica in one piece. A fun time is had by all at this swanky poolside boutique hotel. The cake is a hit! Little cakes, I should say. There are great Hummingbird recipes out there. Try one or combine a few and create your own like I did. Have fun with it. And while baking is a science once you know the rules, you can break them and experiment. Enjoy the rest of summer and may you be the person with the most delicious cake!
Oh and if you have left over cake batter, which I did, make a little cake for yourself..
Until Next Time…