I remember the first time seeing a moist three-layered cake flavored with juicy pineapples and bananas with rich cream cheese frosting elegantly displayed in a glass cake dish of my childhood home. Since then, a few slices have been enjoyed, but few people know about the ‘Other Great Southern Dessert,’ Hummingbird Cake. Red Velvet cake receives more attention. I’m hoping this little food blog can start another food trend.
It has the necessary star ingredients: bananas, pineapples and pecans. Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina submitted the original recipe in Southern Cooking magazine in February 1978. Since then, the Hummingbird Cake has had few modifications—proving the original recipe was excellent from the start. It’s one of Southern Cooking’s most requested recipes. My adaption uses coconut instead of vegetable oil and reduces the amount of sugar from two to one cup. The natural sweetness of overripe bananas and pineapples gives this cake enough sugar. By the way, this recipe has fresh not canned pineapples, and with its lighter taste, mascarpone replaces the original cream cheese in the frosting.
Not to dismiss the Red Velvet Cake trend, but the Hummingbird Cake deserves a spotlight, too. With all its flavors, it looks complicated. Perhaps, it hasn’t reached its height in popularity, because it’s easier to make then than Red Velvet Cake. It’s a two-bowl recipe, and a mixer isn’t needed. The hardest part about making this cake is not to over mix the batter. Save the energy for whipping air into the mascarpone frosting.
As mentioned before, I suggest we start a food trend about this ‘Other Great Southern Dessert.’ From its southern epicenter, we should shout the Hummingbird Cake gospel to the East, North, West and further South of the foodie world. Let’s make Hummingbird ice cream, donuts, cookies, pies, popsicles, brownies, milk shakes, cheesecake, candy, yeast bread, pancakes, muffins, scones, flans, crème brûlées, develop an instant cake mix and whatever dessert idea to start this trend. I can easily see someone incorporating a little bacon in the recipe. Then, we should organize a conference about what’s a genuine Southern Hummingbird Cake and discuss its short history in glory details.
I tend to think of Red Velvet Cake with its artificial red coloring as a pop star on auto tune, and it’s a guilty pleasure we all love. Hummingbird Cake is naturally flavorful made without any unique tricks. Of course, I lack the time to personally persuade the world about the delightful taste of the ‘Other Great Southern Dessert,’ but would you like to give it a try and join the Hummingbird Cake choir?