What better way than to get back into baking than by participating in the January edition of the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop! The theme for this month is Tropical Paradise, which suited me perfectly as I am now living in the tropical paradise of Cairns, in Far North Queensland – home of the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and many beautiful beaches.
When I think of tropical desserts, the first ingredients that come to mind are always coconut and mango – two of my favourite ingredients that I tend to use far too much – since my trip to Thailand, I can’t get enough of Mango Sticky Rice!. I assumed that coconut and mango would be foremost in other bloggers’ minds also, so I decided to use some other members of the tropical fruit family – bananas (which are grown absolutely everywhere up here), pineapple and passionfruit (which I have had a bountiful supply of over the past few months thanks to the enormous vine growing along my fence). When I came across this recipe for Hummingbird Cake, it fit the bill for the blog hop perfectly – all of the delicious fruits in it tick the tropical box and I think it makes a refreshing Summer dessert. Be warned though, it is definitely hard to stop at one….
The recipe is very straightforward – a little bit of sifting, whisking and folding and the cake is practically made. I added a little more pineapple as I tend to like things on the sweeter side, and I used a combination of walnuts and pecans – they add the perfect crunch to this cake, without being too hard on my braced up teeth. When it came to making the icing, I was down to my last passionfruit on the vine, so I also used some of the tinned passionfruit syrup that I had on hand. The icing on these cakes is so simple (Philadelphia cream cheese, icing sugar, butter and passionfruit) but it tastes amazing – I can’t get enough of cream cheese at the moment and I would happily have eaten the bowl of icing on its own. The creamy icing is the perfect partner for the light, fruity cake – I really need to use more cream cheese in my baking!
I received a late Christmas present yesterday from my Pilot’s Mother & Partner (hereby known as The Educators) – a beautiful antique silver tea set and the delicately pretty silver cake display above! The cake display was perfect for showing off my hummingbird cakes and it will be making many more appearances on Baking Myself Happy! I really was quite spoiled at Christmas, I’m a very lucky girl. The tea set and my other new additions to the kitchen will be featuring in future posts – stay tuned.
- 1½ cups plain flour
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- ½ cup tinned crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
- 2 medium mashed or sliced bananas
- ½ cup walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped (optional)
- 250g cream cheese
- 125g butter
- 300g icing sugar
- 2 passionfruit
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Butter and line a round, 17-centimetre cake tin or two 16-centimetre, fluted brioche tins.
- Sift flour, bicarbonate and cinnamon into a large bowl, add sugar and stir.
- Whisk eggs with oil and vanilla, then add to flour mixture and gently mix.
- Fold through pineapple, bananas and nuts.
- Pour into cake tin and bake for about 70 minutes (60 minutes for brioche tins) or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
- Remove from oven and cool.
- For icing, beat cream cheese, butter and icing sugar until creamy and smooth.
- Scoop out the pulp of the passionfruit and fold through icing.
- Spread over cake.