This has to be the best cake: it’s super easy, looks spectacular and is really, really delish!
I have been keen to make this cake from Jamie Oliver’s great new book Comfort Food. It’s a special occasion cake and the special occasion it was made for, was the (early) birthday celebration for Katrina, friend and colleague, newly wed and faithful follower of this blog.
Here is the website page: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/recipe/hummingbird-cake/
I love this book and thoroughly recommend it – if you haven’t acquired a Jamie book yet, this is a lovely one with which to start your library.
Here is the recipe “un-tweaked”as Jamie’s instructions are accurate and really easy to follow.
Jamie suggests serving “in a bluebell wood on a fallen tree”; my garden, in leafy Rozelle, with a riot of over grown spring flowers, was my setting. And there was even a humming bird…
250 ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
350 g self-raising flour
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
350 g golden caster sugar
4 medium-sized very ripe bananas
1 x 425 g tin of pineapple chunks
2 large free-range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50 g pecans
For the icing:
400 g icing sugar
150 g unsalted butter, (at room temperature)
200 g cream cheese
For the brittle:
100 g caster sugar
50 g pecans
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Grease and line two 23cm round cake tins. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a mixing bowl, then add the sugar and a large pinch of sea salt. Peel the bananas and mash them up with a fork in another bowl. Drain and finely chop the pineapple and add to the bananas with the oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix until combined, then fold into the dry mixture until smooth. Finely chop the pecans and gently fold in, then divide the batter evenly between your prepared tins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until risen, golden and the sponges spring back when touched lightly in the centre. Run a knife around the edge of the tins, then leave to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Meanwhile, to make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a free-standing electric mixer, add the butter and beat until pale and creamy. Add the cream cheese, finely grate in the zest of 1 lime and add a squeeze of juice, then beat until just smooth – it’s really important not to over-mix it. Keep in the fridge until needed. To make a brittle topping, place the caster sugar and a splash of water in a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Shake flat and don’t stir it, just swirl the pan occasionally until dissolved and lightly golden. Add the pecans and a pinch of salt, spoon around to coat, and when nicely golden, pour onto a sheet of oiled greaseproof paper to set (check out the how-to video below). Once cool, smash up to a dust (you’ll need about half to top the cake – save the rest for sprinkling over ice cream.
To assemble the cake, place one sponge on a cake stand and spread with half the icing. Top with the other sponge, spread over the rest of the icing, then grate over the zest of the remaining lime. Scatter over the brittle dust and decorate with a few edible flowers, such as violas, borage or herb flowers, if you feel that way inclined. With a cup of tea on the side, this will make everyone who eats it extremely happy. Serve in a bluebell wood on a fallen tree, as you do.