Earlier in the week, I mentioned a birthday cake. As the week has gone by I have been eager to come back to that topic. This birthday cake, you see, has been on my mind.
It has lingered in my consciousness because it was (I think) a big success! I still get nervous about baking cakes, in a way I do not about baking other items. I don’t feel apprehensive about baking cookies, muffins, brownies, scones, or even cupcakes; but there is something special about creating a quality cake, particularly if that cake is to be presented and shared with someone as a celebratory gift.
I had inquired with the birthday man in question about what kind of cake he would like and he expressed a desire for a banana-pineapple cake.
I’m not sure why that seemed so intimidating to me – but it was. After doing some research, I discovered that banana-pineapple cakes were actually, like, a thing. They had a proper name and all. Hummingbird cake. It’s a lovely name, isn’t it? It sounds like a delicate and beautiful baked treat.
Finding several recipes for hummingbird cake, I settled upon one that looked like the best bet to me, made a couple of adaptations, and set to work.
The process? = Much easier than I had anticipated
The result? = A deliciously moist cake, rich with flavors from the fruits, cinnamon, and vanilla
Hooray for cake success!
This cake was quite fitting for the season, too. It felt like a farewell to summer, served on the first day of fall. With the pineapple providing a last hurrah for warm weather days and the warmth of the banana and cinnamon welcoming autumn, it was a great cake for transitioning the seasons.
The recipe for the pineapple cream cheese frosting which finished the cake is also included below. I hope you enjoy it all as much as we did!
Adapted from myrecipes.com
Makes 1 8-9 inch square or 8-9 inch round cake
1 cup Whole-Wheat Cake Flour
½ cup White Whole Wheat Flour (or AP Flour)
½ tspn baking soda
¼ tspn kosher salt
3/4 cup raw cane sugar
½ tspn ground cinnamon
1 tblspn egg replacer + 3 tblspns water (or 1 large egg)
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1.5 tblspns coconut oil, melted (15-30 seconds in a microwave should do it)
1 cup mashed, very ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
1 tspn vanilla extract
4 oz crushed pineapple, with juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the square or round cake pan of your choice with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the egg replacer and water mixture, applesauce, melted coconut oil, mashed bananas, vanilla extract, and crushed pineapple. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
- Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir well with a spoon until the mixture is combined and all the flour is incorporated.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool in pan for approximately 10 minutes, then remove from pan and allow cake to continue cooling on a wire rack. Once completely cooled, top with pineapple cream cheese frosting (or frosting of your choice). A smattering of chopped nuts on top of the frosting is purely optional, but makes a lovely presentation.
Pineapple Cream-Cheese Frosting
Makes more than enough to frost one 8-9 inch cake
4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese/Neufchatel (standard or vegan)
½ tblspn butter or Earth Balance
2-3 cups powdered sugar
½ tblspn vanilla extract
2-3 tblspns crushed pineapple, with juices
- Combine cream cheese, butter/Earth Balance, and vanilla in a bowl and beat on high speed with a mixer until combined and somewhat creamy. (It will be fairly stiff at this point.)
- Add the powdered sugar in batches, until you have reached your desired level of sweetness (I used about 2.5 cups), continuing to beat mixture after each batch is added.
- Add in pineapple, a tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition. Check for flavor and consistency. If you want a thicker frosting, you may need to add additional sugar, but for a thinner frosting (more similar to a glaze), add more of the pineapple liquid to the mixture.
*** The frosting will continue to thicken up after it sits for a while. I made my batch a bit thinner than a traditional cream-cheese frosting, so that it almost seeped over the edge of the cake when I frosted it. I thought it was delicious this way and it did firm up further as the cake sat for a couple of hours.