We've seen hints of southern influence on Amish cooking lately with Gloria's Frogmore Stew recipe, some Dixie-inspired barbecue sauces and molasses fried chicken. Well, here's another southern specialty to have found a happy home in Amish kitchens: hummingbird cake.
While the cake has its roots in the American South, it has caught on in Amish kitchens. Canned pineapple and fresh bananas - the cake's cornerstones - can be bought at many Amish bulk groceries, making this recipe a favorite.
I made it the other night and had a few pitfalls along the way, but it still turned out well. First pitfall was skimming over the recipe too fast, so when it came time to add the vegetable oil I put in two cups instead of one.
"Holy mackerel that is a lot of vegetable oil," I muttered to myself as I watched a pool of vegetable oil cover the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. I glanced back over at the recipe and saw it said ONE cup. Thinking quickly, I grabbed my 1 cup measuring cup and managed to scoop out a full cup of oil before it had fully been absorbed into the dry ingredients. Whew. Then I proceeded to combine the ingredients and no damage done (other than some wasted vegetable oil).
I then misread the recipe and used to 2 ½ bananas instead of 2 1 /2 cups, but I think they probably came out about the same.
Hummingbird cake is something found in many Amish community cookbooks. The recipes are all very similar. The recipe I am using here is adaptation of one I found on Food.com, but I have tweaked some ingredients for flavor. I also think the pecans are definitely optional. The original recipe called for one cup of chopped pecans but I only ended up putting in about 2 tablespoons, just enough to give the cake some crunch but if you like your cakes nutty, you can go to town on the pecans.
Many hummingbird cakes have a cream cheese frosting but this recipe, instead, featured a banana glaze. I had never made a banana glaze before but it's amazing how well that banana whips into a creamy consistency when its combined with vanilla, butter, and confectioner's sugar. I wish I had taken a photo of that. The banana glaze is what really separates out this hummingbird cake recipe. You can, by the way, really load it up with bananas, even more than what this recipe says
I definitely recommend this cake. Try it, you'll go bananas!:)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
- 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- 2½ cups chopped bananas
- BANANA GLAZE
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- ½ banana, mashed
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs, and oil, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
- Add vanilla, pineapple, pecans, and bananas. Fold in with a fork - do not beat.
- Pour batter into greased 9x13 pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and beat until well mixed.
- Frost cake while hot - the glaze will melt over the cake.