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Posts Tagged ‘Hummingbird Cake’

The weather has finally turned a corner here in London Town! A whole weekend of Sunshine – long may it continue…

Of course there is the small issue of the volcanic ash cloud that shut British Airspace……..

It’s been eerie, and as strange as it may sound the sky just looks so big without the ever present vapor trails and airplanes heading to and from one of London’s 5 airports. It’s also been quiet  –  it’s going to take a while to get used to the sounds again. There are some amazing stories coming out about the journeys people have undertaken trying to get back to ol’ Blighty!  My colleague Louise has been stuck in Dubai – sounds great but probably not so when you have to foot a large hotel bill you weren’t expecting and you have no idea how and when you are getting home! We were lucky as James flew in from Munich the day before the closure – phew…..

We enjoyed a wonderful London weekend with lunch on the Heath and an afternoon in Greenwich Park – one of my favourite ways to spend a sunny weekend. Everyone just looks so much happier – it did feel like Winter was never going to end this year!

On our trip into Blackheath I stopped at the Cook Shop – I can’t walk past without popping in. Izzy chose herself a new cookie cutter and I came across a product I had eyed up in Lakeland……..couldn’t resist….

New Kitchen Gadgets!!

Then we moved onto some shoe shopping for the girls. Izzy’s feet are growing an astounding (& expensive!) rate and with summer on the horizon we invested in matching purple Birkenstocks. But someone please explain to me why Izzy’s were more expensive than mine?!?

Back home we began work on a birthday cake. Saturday was Isobel M’s 3rd birthday and next week is Mer & Stu’s so a joint birthday cake was in order. Was also a great excuse to try out my new decorating kit plus try out some techniques learnt in the cupcake decorating workshop and use the cute butterflies I found on eBay.

Making butterfly decorations!

So what cake to bake?, back to old faithful I think….The Hummingbird Bakery!!

Hummingbird Cake (courtesy of the The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

Ingredients:-

300g caster sugar

3 eggs

300ml sunflower oil

270g peeled bananas, mashed

1 tsp ground cinnamon

300g plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

100g tinned pineapple, chopped into small pieces

100g shelled pecan nuts (or walnuts), chopped, plus extra, chopped and whole, to decorate

2 quantities Cream Cheese Frosting

Three 20cm cake tins (I used 2), base-lined with greaseproof paper

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Put the sugar, eggs, oil, banana and cinnamon in a freestanding electric mixer, with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated (don’t worry if the mixture looks slightly split). Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt & vanilla extract and continue to beat until everything is well mixed.

Stir in the chopped pineapple and pecan nuts by hand until evenly dispersed.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cakes to cool sightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire coking rack to cool completely.

When the cakes are cold, put on a cake stand and spread about one-quarter of the Cream Cheese Frosting over it with a palette knife. Place a second cake on the top and spread another quarter of the frosting over it. Top with the last cake and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Finish with pecan nuts and a light sprinkling of cinnamon.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:-

300g icing sugar, sifted

50g unsalted butter, at room temperature

125g cream cheese, cold

Beat the icing sugar and butter together  in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated.

Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light & fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Do not over beat, as it can quickly become runny.

The finished cake

I loved my new decorating tools – although I only tried out one – as it made writing on a cake so quick & simple. Much easier than a piping bag.

This is definitely my favourite cake flavour – perhaps I should have been considering Isobel, Mer & Stu’s favourite flavour when deciding what cake to bake?!? oops…. Isobel seemed to enjoy it – she is all about the icing anyway!

Happy 3rd Birthday Isobel xxx

On another note, last year my friend Jenny had a gorgeous painting done of Izzy. I loved it so much that I have had 2 done as gifts since. As Isobel M had her Big Girl Room done for her birthday I thought one of these paintings would be a great addition. Thanks to Kim @ Allsmilez for another great job capturing the girls and their personalities!

Cheeky Monkeys!

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Well, since we had guests for dinner there was the excuse I needed to break out TMBC again! When Isobel M turned 1 Meredith baked a Hummingbird cake and it was delicious so when I saw a Hummingbird cake in TMBC the decision was easily made!

So yummy but then I am a sucker for cream cheese icing. I don’t even want to consider how many calories are in this and I am a little worried about the half a cake that remains…..and that is after dinner, taking over a slice for Sam and sending a slice home with Patricia. I would have James take it to work but as it is Ramadan I don’t think that it is fair on the colleagues who are observing this. As there is a long weekend coming up James reckons he can make a dent in it!

Hummingbird Cake (The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook)

Ingredients:-

3 cups flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 tsp vanilla etract

2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas

1 8oz can crushed pineapple, in unsweetened juice, drained (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 160C.

Grease and lightly flour two 9 x 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, the cinnamon, the baking soda, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the oil with sugar until smooth, about 3 mins. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until light, about 1 or 2 mins. Add the vanilla extract. Add the bananas and the pineapple. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, beating after each addition until smooth. Stir in the pecans. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 40-50 mins or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

When cake has cooled, ice between the layers, then ice top and sides of cake with cream cheese icing. Garnish with pecans if desired.

Cream cheese icing

Ingredients:-

1 pound cream cheese, softened slightly, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened slightly, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

5 cups sifted icing sugar

In a medium-size bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and the butter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract. Gradually add the sugar and beat until well incorporated.

The recipe says it makes enough to ice this cake but I still have a lot left in the fridge. Not sure if I will use it – maybe e a carrot cake for the girls at nursery.

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I need to go back to work!! or we are all going to be putting on huge amounts of weight!! Still healing, still in the kitchen!

The Magnolia Bakery has become a must visit when in NYC – not that I have been but boy, would I like to! It’s (apparently) the home of all things scrummy and delicious. I found on Amazon The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook (only problem is all measurements are American – mainly cups, some lbs & oz, sticks of butter (which are 113g according to Google) etc) and so I have been keen to try out a few of the recipes and see if they live up to the hype.

First up, that American classic…….COOKIES! I have found cookie (or biscuits. Depending on where you reside!) recipes to be a bit hit and miss. Many of mine have turned out too flat or too crunchy (overcooked perhaps?). After flicking through TMBC I found Oatmeal Raisin Almond Cookies – perfect! I love the combination of oat and raisin – it’s the best! The recipe makes 3 dozen cookies – so plenty for kids, coffee mornings and the nightly cup of tea. However in this instance Izzy was not overly keen but no complaints from James or I. Since I made them I have been giving them away in plastic baggies to friends and the neighbour. Our neighbour is Sam and he has been bombarded with baked goods over the last month – I always pop him over a slice of whatever is fresh out of the pven. Sam is a keen gardener and so we have been rewarded in turn with the sweetest, most delicious tomatoes. Anyway, back to the cookies…

Oatmeal Raisin Almond Cookies (courtesy of The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook)

Ingredients:-

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 1/4 cups rolled oats

1 1/2 cups raisins

1/2 cup finely chopped toasted almonds (toast in oven for 10-15 mins at 160C, or until lightly brown and fragrant)

Preheat oven to 180C.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, the baking soda, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, the vanilla extract, the almond extract and mix well. Add the oats and flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Mix in the raisins and almonds. Chill the mixture for 30 mins in the fridge before proceeding. Drop by rounds teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Bake for 15-18 mins or until lightly golden brown.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

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