hummingbird cake

I love this cake for its name, as much as anything else. I had the pleasure of baking this cake with my brother, Ben, when he came to stay, although I was cruel enough to deny him the pleasure of eating any before he caught the train home! It is a rare occasion that I have company when I am baking, and it made a lovely change.

If you have bananas that are well past their best, and some pineapple that's in need of eating, this is the perfect recipe. You could even say that it's verging on being healthy, with two portions of fruit in it!

ingredients (makes 2 x 8 inch sponges. If you'd like it to be even bigger, increase the quantities by a third, and make another layer!)
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
200ml sunflower oil
180g very ripe bananas, mashed (approx. 2 bananas)
200g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp bi-carbonate of soda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
35g chopped pineapple
25g pecans, chopped

for the icing
600g icing (confectioner's) sugar
100g unsalted butter at room temperature
250g Philadelphia

1) Preheat oven to 170C / Gas mark 3 / 325F. Grease and line 2 x 8 inch round cake tins.
2) Place the sugar, eggs, oil, banana and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Beat until the ingredients are well combined.
3) Gradually add the flour, vanilla and bi-carb, and continue to mix until everything is incorporated.
4) Gently stir in the chopped pecans and pineapple.
5) Pour into tins and bake in preheated oven for 20 - 25 mins.
6) Remove from oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before removing from tins to finish cooling on a wire cooling rack.
7) To make the frosting, if you are using a freestanding mixer, place all of the ingredients into the bowl and beat for a few minutes until beautifully smooth.
If you are using am electric hand mixer, or sheer muscle power, I recommend beating the butter first, then gradually adding the icing sugar and cream cheese to get a more even consistency.