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Marilyn's Best Recipes
Hummingbird Cake

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Hummingbird Cake

Makes 1 nine-inch layer cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped (I used almonds) walnuts or pecans
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
Cream Cheese Frosting
Dried Pineapple Flowers

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of pans with parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust pans with flour, tapping out any excess; set pans aside. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.

2. Place butter, vanilla, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is fluffy and pale yellow.

3. In a medium bowl, stir together, banana, pineapple, walnuts, and coconut. Add flour mixture and combine.

4. Divide mixture between prepared pans. Bake until golden brown, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking.

5. Transfer pans to a baking rack to cool. Let pans cool 15 minutes before unmolding. Loosen sides with a small metal spatula or a paring knife, and invert onto greased wire racks. To prevent layers form splitting, invert again, so tops are up. Cool completely before assembling cake or wrapping airtight to freeze cake for later.

6. Using a serrated knife, trim the top of one layer (It is ok if the second layer is a bit rounded, for it becomes the top of the cake).

7. To assemble, place trimmed layer on serving platter. Spread the top with 1/4-inch layer of frosting. Top with the untrimmed top layer. Lightly coat the assembled cake with a thin layer of frosting to protect against crumbs in the frosting. Finish with remaining frosting. Decorate with dried pineapple flowers, if desired. Serve immediately, or keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Cream Cheese Frosting for Hummingbird Cake

Makes 6 cups (enough for 1 9-inch layer cake)

1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 boxes confectioners’ sugar (1 pound each)

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cream cheese and vanilla. Beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. With the machine running, gradually add butter until it is all incorportated.

2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sugar, beating until well combined. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature before using.

Dried Pineapple Flowers

Makes about 2 dozen

2 large pineapples or 4 small pineapples

1. Preheat oven to 225. Line baking sheets with Silpats (French nonstick baking mats) or parchment paper.

2. Peel pineapples and remove eyes; using a very tiny melonballer. Cut crosswise into very thin slices and place in a single layer on prepared baking sheets. Bake until tops look dry, about 4 hours. Using tongs, flip slices over and continue to cook until completely dried out, 25 to 30 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.