Nov 20 2010
Last week I promised that I would reveal to you the hidden location of these meringue mushrooms and the walnut forest. Well, they’re sitting on top of what is, currently, one of the proudest moments in my baking history.
That is, they are on top of a six layer Fall hummingbird cake that I made. Originally, this would have been my 8th Project Foodblog post, but, I am sad to announce, that I didn’t make it to round 8. However, I am quite proud that I made it this far
So, you are probably asking yourself at this point:
a – what is a Fall hummingbird cake
b – why is this one of the proudest moments in your (my) baking history??
You may be familiar with the traditional hummingbird cake. It’s deliciously sweet, is filled with bananas, pineapple, and pecans, and has more granulated sugar than flour in it. It’s sweet. And, it’s good.
So, why mess with something so fantastic?
I went ahead and substituted half of the bananas with homemade pumpkin puré (by volume) and the pecans with walnuts (because walnuts are in seasonal over abundance in Europe right now). In the end, I created a cake as delicious as the original with the added flavor of pumpkin pie…hence the name the Fall Hummingbird Cake.
And, to answer your second question, this is why I am so proud of myself:
That (3,5 years ago) was my first and last attempt at a multi-layered cake covered in frosting. Then, I chocked my oozing cake off to lack of knowledge and a bad recipe. Now, after much research…and a lot more practice…I am pretty sure that the recipe I used 3,5 years ago was perfectly fine and that I just should have planned to make the cake over 2 days instead of 2 hours. In the case of a mulit-layered cake, patience is key.
Now, I’m not saying that my cake is perfect – it does taste perfect – but I would love to achieve something that looks more like a professional cake next time and less like a hill. And, yes, there definitely will be a next time.
And, for those of you who would love a meringue mushroom forest on top of your cake, you can find my recipe (with accompanying video) here. Just remember to add the mushrooms at the last minute with a dab of some left over frosting. Then, sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
You will love the look on everyone’s face when they see this cake! It brought big smiles to my kids as well as the 5 guests we had over that evening and the 3 friends we visited the next day…it’s a big cake. And, if the cake is too large for you to finish in a few days, slice it up, bag it, and freeze it…then you can enjoy it at your leisure for months to come.
The original recipe, and my inspiration for this cake can be found here. Sweetapolita used 8″ round cake tins, and I only have 1 10″ round spring form which is why my recipe yields 4 cakes and not 6. I intend to remedy this as soon as a find a place that sell cake tins in town. I definitely need something smaller in diameter and at least 3 or 4 so it doesn’t take me 4 hours to bake 4 cakes (for 8 layers). I ended up with 6 because I became impatient and my first cake crumbled.
The cake recipe comes together really quickly, but turning it into a multi-layered, beautifully frosted cake, takes time and patience. Don’t let that frighten you – it is amazing what you can do with practice and time.
780 grams Flour
800 grams Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
6 Eggs, lightly beaten
2 Cups Sunflower Oil
4 teaspoons Vanilla extract
220 grams Walnuts, finely chopped
454 grams canned crushed pineapple (with the juice)
2 Cups mashed Bananas (about 5-6 Bananas)
2 Cups homemade Pumpkin Puré
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
Prepare 4 10″ round cake pans by spraying the bottoms and the sides with cooking spray and then lining the bottom of each pan with a cut-out round piece of parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together – by hand – the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside.
In another bowl, combine the eggs, oil, vanilla, walnuts, pineapple, bananas, and pumpkin puré. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and mix well until everything has incorporated.
Pour the batter, in equal measure, into your prepared cake tins, and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
Remove to a wire rack and let sit for 20 minutes – do not remove earlier or your cakes will crumble! Once 20 minutes have elapsed, turn over the baking tins onto the rack to remove the cake, peel off the parchment paper, and let the cake completely cool.
Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap each cake with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator over night.
…the next day
Prepare the frosting (see recipe bellow) and then continue.
Remove your cake rounds from the refrigerator and prepare to cut each round in half. To do so you will need a large cutting board and a long serrated knife. Before cutting through the cake, score all along the edge of the cake where you wish to cut, then, with even, sawing strokes, cut each round in half.
Place 1 cake half top-side down on your cake plate (I used the removable bottom of my tart pan) and place a few scoops of frosting on it – spread so that it is evenly coated, then top with another cake half and repeat until all layers are used up.
Now your cake is ready to be crumb coated – which means that you need to cover the cake with a this layer of frosting on all sides and the top to seal in the crumbs – it does not have to look pretty – and then refrigerate for 1 hour before proceeding.
…1 hour later
Remove from refrigerator and cover with the final (pretty) coat of frosting. Refrigerate over night before slicing.
…the next day (again)
Remove from refrigerator just before serving. Slice, serve, and watch everyone smile and enjoy the silence of delicious cake.
230 grams Butter, at room temperature
2 kg Powdered Sugar (yes – that’s 4 just over 4 pounds!)
4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
907 grams Cream Cheese, cut into chunks, cold
In an electric mixer with whisk attachment, cream the butter and sugar until just combined. Add the vanilla extract and all the cream cheese and whisk on medium speed for about 4 minutes. Turn the speed to high for one more minute, and it’s done.