A hummingbird cake is like the ultimate tropical spice cake. It's made with banana, pineapple and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. It's almost like a banana cake crossed with a pineapple upside down cake. You really have to try it to know what it's like. I know many people were confused by the combination of pineapple and banana, but when they ate the cake, they were instant fans.
This past weekend we were invited to a dinner party, so of course I was going to make cake. I made two hummingbird cakes, both pictured above. I got a lot of positive comments from the guests. The stand out in this cake is actually the frosting. You'll remember this frosting from my apple spice cake. It's super smooth, creamy, slightly savoury and slightly sweet. My cream cheese frosting is not like your average. I don't use butter or sugar in mine. I prefer to use a liquid sweetener such as maple syrup in this case. I'm not a fan of gritty frosting that is sickly sweet which is why I usually opt for a liquid sweetener. I don't see the need for butter in a cream cheese frosting so I never use it. To me, my version of cream cheese frosting is the perfect balance of sweet and savoury and turns out many other people agree with me!
Now, I definitely think you should make your own salted caramel for this frosting. It's super easy to make and in my opinion it tastes much better than your store bought variety. But if you couldn't be bothered, you could actually leave it out and use more liquid sweetener instead. I would definitely recommend adding a pinch of salt to your frosting though.
Salted Caramel Hummingbird Cake (Adapted from SBA)
370g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 & 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups mashed banana (4 ripe bananas)
one 285g can crushed pineapple
3 large eggs
2/3 cup (160ml) vegetable oil
1 cup (200g) brown sugar
3/4 cup (150g) caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups walnuts, chopped
Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
750g cream cheese (3 blocks)
3/4 cup salted caramel
2/3 cup maple syrup
For the cakes-
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line your 3 baking tins. I used three 25cm tins. Set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt together in a large bowl.
Whisk the rest of the cake ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk until completely combined. Fold in your walnuts.
Evenly divide the batter between your 3 tins. Place in preheated oven and bake for 26-29 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Rotate pans halfway through to ensure even baking.
Once cakes are out of the oven allow them to cool in the tin. Once they are cooled you can remove them from the tins and cut the tops off to make it level.
For the frosting-
In a large bowl place your cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add half of your salted caramel and maple syrup. Beat until well combined. The frosting will thin out with the addition of the caramel and maple. Taste, and if required, add more of the salted caramel and maple until you get a slightly sweet and slightly salty frosting. Once the desired taste is reached, cover it with glad wrap and refrigerate until needed.
Once cakes are cool and frosting is made, it's time to put it all together. Place the bottom layer on your cake board/plate and top with some frosting. Smooth out with a spatula before placing the next layer of cake on top. Repeat the process until your 3 layers are stacked. With the remaining frosting cover your cake as you see fit. This would make a really pretty naked cake too! I stuck with the traditional look and covered the entire cake in frosting.
Decorate as you see fit. Flowers did the trick for cake 1, but cake 2 was decorated with walnuts. If you're planning on doing some piping you will need to make more frosting as the amount specified in the recipe it just enough to cover the cake.