Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hummingbird Cake

This week, another member of our team, Steve, left us for greener pastures. As his last day was Friday, this tied in nicely with my regular baking day. Since acquiring Sweet and Savoury Bites, I had been eyeing up the hummingbird cake on p202, and with bananas no longer priced like truffles and caviar (as they were last year after Cyclone Larry wiped out the North Queensland banana crops), I wouldn't be required to take out a second mortgage to do it.

As with many popular cake varieties, there are a multitude of different recipes for hummingbird cake. However, all of them contain crushed pineapple and mashed banana with cream cheese frosting. I have to say that I am not a huge fan of cakes containing banana - I have no idea why, as I like bananas on their own, on bread, and with icecream, yoghurt and custard. However, a lot of people like the moistness of banana cakes, so I figured it was a safe bet to make this cake for work so that I could satisfy my curiosity about making it.

When I went to make this cake, I found that I had purchased pineapple pieces instead of crushed pineapple. This made the pineapple component of the cake a little chunkier than it should have been, but ultimately, it didn't affect the resulting cake.

I once again had some decorating challenges. Despite being out of the fridge for a couple of hours, the butter didn't smoothly blend into the frosting, giving it stubborn lumps which refused to go away (although these lumps settled out overnight). I also found the frosting a little runnier than I think it should have been, although I used the quantity of icing sugar called for in the recipe. This made the process of icing the cake rather messy. Next time, I would add more icing sugar to make the frosting thicker.

Finally, my "plastic" icing decorations remained stubbornly on the pink side, even though I was using red paste colouring. I lost interest in trying to remedy this after a while, and I think it looks OK anyway (although pink for a masculine cake is not a great look). From a personal aesthetics perspective, I was also not 100% happy with the rather child-like presentation of the plastic icing letters. It really was like making play dough! On the up side, I was pleased to have been able to use some of the ideas that I got from a short cake decorating class that I did, including making the little spirals at the top of the cake by wrapping strips of plastic icing around the handle of a wooden spoon.

This cake tasted fine, although as I said, banana cakes will never be top of my favourites list. Steve mentioned that this was his first personalised cake, which made the effort of making the plastic icing decorations well worth it.

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