Hummingbird Cake

Southern folks are some of the kindest people on earth and goodness knows they can cook.  One of the South's quintessential desserts is the hummingbird cake.  In my novel, A Peach For Big Jim, Chloe and her momma make the luscious dessert of pineapple, bananas and cream cheese frosting.  Below you'll find Hattie Mae's famous banana pudding recipe that she serves at Widow Jones' plantation.  Enjoy these comfort-food recipes from Southern Living.   

Ingredients

 

CAKE LAYERS

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 3 large eggs, beaten

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained (such as Publix Crushed Pineapple in Pineapple Juice)

  • 2 cups chopped ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)

  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

  • Vegetable shortening

 

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 2 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

  • 1 cup salted butter or margarine, softened

  • 2 (16-oz.) pkg. powdered sugar

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENT

  • 3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted

 

How to Make It

 

Step 1

Prepare the Cake Layers: Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, bananas, and toasted pecans.

 

Step 2

Divide batter evenly among 3 well-greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch round cake pans.

 

Step 3

Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely, about 1 hour.

 

Step 4

Prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

 

Step 5

Assemble Cake: Place 1 Cake Layer on a serving platter; spread top with 1 cup of the frosting. Top with second layer, and spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with third layer, and spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Arrange pecan halves on top of cake.

Hattie Mae's Banana Pudding 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 1/4 cups milk

  • 4 large eggs, separated

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 1/3 cups vanilla wafers

  • 4 ripe bananas

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together sugar mixture, milk, and 4 egg yolks in a medium-size heavy saucepan until well blended. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla.

Step 2

Layer half of vanilla wafers in an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with half of banana slices and half of pudding. Repeat procedure with remaining wafers, banana slices, and pudding.

Step 3

Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add 3 Tbsp. sugar, beating until sugar dissolves and stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pudding, sealing to edge of dish.

Step 4

Bake at 375° for 7 to 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool 30 minutes, and serve warm; or chill an additional hour, and serve cold.