My colleague's birthday was a few weeks ago but as she was on a nice long holiday away in Europe she is only getting her cake now. She once mentioned that one of her favourite cakes is the Hummingbird Cake, a fairly dense cake with bananas, crushed pineapples, desiccated coconut and walnuts inside and a cream cheese frosting on top.
As I'm writing this entry the cake is baking away in the oven and it smells divine, a shame I have to wait until tomorrow to taste it! Luckily it's quite easy to put together and only needs 45 minutes in the oven, so an easy cake to make when you have visitors coming for afternoon tea the next day.
I remember when I had Hummingbird Cake for the very first time; I had flown to Tasmania to visit my best friend and her husband who had welcomed their first baby only 10 days earlier. She didn't just have the house full of people but had also baked a Hummingbird Cake so the visitors would have something to eat. That's how relaxed she was (and still is) and shows how quickly the cake is made.
250g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
270g brown sugar
440g can crushed pineapple, drained
50g desiccated coconut
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250ml (1 cup) sunflower oil
Cream cheese icing
100g cream cheese
50g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
225g (1 1/2 cups) icing sugar mixture
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, to garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Grease and line the base of a 23cm square cake pan*. Sift flour and spices into a large bowl. Add sugar, pineapple, coconut, banana, walnuts, eggs and oil. Stir to combine.
Spread into lined pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Place on a rack and set aside to cool.
To make icing, place cheese, butter, vanilla and icing sugar in an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Spread on top of cooled cake. Garnish with walnuts, if desired.
*I actually used two small 15cm round pans. The rule of thumb for the conversion between round and square pans is that a square pan holds about 25 percent more than a round pan of the same diameter.