The annual return of the ruby-throated hummingbird from its South-American winter home is one of the most definitive signs that warm weather is here to stay in the Ozarks. It also happens to be one of my very favorites. The last several weeks have been filled with below-normal temperatures, with a few 80-plus-degree days peppered throughout. That said, the tiny travelers have yet to make an appearance in my neck of the woods. In an effort to draw the little darlings to my porch, I’ve decided to bake them a cake… a Hummingbird Bundt Cake! This Southern (via Jamaica) dessert gets its name from the nectar-like sweetness of pineapple and bananas. Usually made in layers, this lightly-spiced cake is filled with sweet fruit and toasted pecans, and lends itself perfectly to the (more merciful, less laborious) Bundt. A simple, but delicious, cream-cheese glaze is the literal icing on the cake.
Here’s what you’ll need:
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 c. chopped pecans, divided
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 c. sugar
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 t. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 t. nutmeg
- 1/4 t. allspice
- 1/2 t. salt
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 3/4 c. mashed ripe bananas (4-5 large bananas)
- 1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple (undrained)
- 3/4 c. canola oil
- 1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
For the glaze:
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 c. powdered sugar
- 2 t. vanilla extract
- 2 T. milk
- Optional topping: toasted coconut
Start out by preheating the oven to 350°. On a baking sheet, spread out the pecans in a single layer on a piece of parchment paper. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway through. Do the same with the coconut; it will take about half the time.
Next, prepare the batter. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix together all of the wet ingredients. With a sturdy wooden spoon, combine the wet into the dry until you have a thick batter. Toss in about 1/3 cup (I just did a handful) of the pecans and fold them in.
Prepare your Bundt pan by thoroughly buttering and flouring it, or coating it with a baking spray like Baker’s Joy. Sprinkle in half of the remaining pecans and carefully pour the batter evenly over them. Give the pan a little wiggle and a whack or two on the counter to settle any gaps or air pockets. Bake for 60-70 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes and then turn out onto the rack to cool completely, about 2 hours.
When the cake is completely cool, make the glaze. With a mixer, cream the cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, 1/2 c. between mixings. Add the vanilla and milk and continue mixing until smooth. I poured the icing into a Ziplock bag, cut a 1/2 inch piece off the corner, and piped it over the cake, but you can use a spoon, knife, or measuring cup; whatever you like.
Sprinkle the glaze with pecans and coconut. Slice and enjoy!