Monday, February 28, 2011


I'd thought I might get away with a single cake for my pair's first birthday last weekend. Their big sister had other ideas. If she'd had her way, there would have been a fairy and a butterfly. At the last minute, I came up with the idea of a pair of love birds, two turtledoves, twin chickens - you decide. I thought I was a bit clever - two cakes, but only one real effort.

For the recipe, I returned to an old faithful, aptly named the hummingbird cake. It's a beautiful indulgent cake, usually done up as a triple-layer, cream-cheese-icing covered passionfruity, banana-y, pineappley decadence. I'm not sure where I got the recipe. It's handwritten in an exercise book I diligently filled out and took with me when I left home. It makes loads of batter and I've been known to divide it into two tins instead of three and make two separate, more modest cakes - one for me, one for neighbour/friend/birthday person/postman.

It's so easy to make AND it's dairy free - that is, if you stop before you get to the icing part. But why would you?

Hummingbird Cake

3 cups plain flour
2 cups caster sugar
1.5 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 heaped teaspoon bicarb soda
2 mushy bananas, mashed
1 440g tin crushed pineapple (in natural juice)

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Grease three 20-22cm tins and line the bases with baking paper. Mix all ingredients with electric beaters and distribute into tins. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
125g butter
250g cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
500g icing sugar
several passionfruit

Microwave butter and cheese for a minute. Beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and icing sugar and beat again.

When cakes have cooled, layer them three high with cream cheese frosting between. Smooth remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Just before serving, top with passionfruit pulp. Slice and enjoy!

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