Tuesday, 28 June 2011

A June Birthday Cake

My Mother-In-Law's birthday falls at the end of June and as they are going on holiday in a few days time, I made her birthday cake for her at the weekend to enjoy.  I was very impressed with the Hummingbird cake so I decided to make one for her birthday cake as well as I think it looks rather impressive.  Instead of the usual pecans, I added various sized blossoms all over the cake in white, pale pink and bright pink fondant.

This time I have remembered the recipe!

Hummingbird Cake
300g caster sugar
3 eggs
300 ml vegetable oil
270 g mashed bananas (about 3 large ones)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
100 g tinned chopped pineapple
100g pecans (or walnuts) chopped (or mixed nuts) plus extra to decorate if doing the plain version (I used mixed chopped nuts in the cake & just pecans to decorate on the previous cake)
2 quantities of cream cheese frosting * See later recipe

Preheat oven to 170°C or Gas 3 - I do 160°C as I have a fan assisted oven.
Put the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, oil, banana & cinnamon in a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated (don't worry if the mixture looks slightly split).  Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda & salt and continue to beat until everything is well mixed.

Stir in the chopped pineapple and chopped mixed nuts by hand until evenly dispersed.

Pour the mixture between 3 prepared cake tins (greased).  Don't worry the batter is quite liquidy but it will go amongst 3 tins.  Place in oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until the sponge bounces back.  Leave to cool slightly in the tins and then turn out to completely cool on a wire rack.

When the cakes are cold, place one sponge layer on a cake stand or whatever you are going to use (plate, board etc) and spread an amount of cream cheese frosting on top.  Then place the next layer on top and repeat until all 3 layers have been used.  Top the last cake on top and then spread the frosting down the sides to cover.  Make the 'lines' on the cake by running a palette knife up and down the sides.  Finish with either the pecans arranged on top or fondant cut outs, which ever you prefer.

Cream Cheese Frosting
300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter at room temperature (soft)
125g cream cheese, cold (Philadelphia or supermarket equivalent)

This makes up one amount of the frosting.  This is enough to do about 12 cupcakes.  For the Hummingbird cake you need to double these amounts.  You will have some left over though but it keeps well in the fridge for a few days.

Beat the icing sugar and the butter in a freestanding mixer until well mixed then add the cream cheese and beat on a medium speed.  Continue to mix until the frosting is light and fluffy (at least 5 minutes) but take care not to over beat as it can quickly go runny.

This frosting also works really well with red velvet cakes.

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