Monday, October 10, 2011

The Sweet Stuff: Hummingbird Cupcakes

Rich. Decadent. Sweet, but in a Caribbean island dessert type way. Like lying on a hammock in the shade of a palm tree, drinking a tropical something with an umbrella in it , if that makes any sense. But that is Hummingbird Cake. There's no method to the madness that is this little cake. Full of banana, crushed pineapple, coconut and crunchy pecans, then luxuriously topped with decadent lemony cream cheese frosting. Like good Southern charm it's hard to resist.
If you aren't familiar, Hummingbird Cake is a Southern treat. Why it's called a Hummingbird Cake? Because life is sweeter in the South? Because only Southerners would name a cake after a flighty tiny bird with a serious sweet tooth? Actually no idea. The reason behind the name remains a mystery. First published in the February 1978 issue of Southern Living, the recipe was credited to a Mrs. Wiggins of Greenville, NC, though no explanation was given for the name. But one bite and the cake itself needs no explanation, it's sweet and delicious. It's a great use for overripe bananas, it freezes well and, most importantly, it's a snap to make.
Hummingbird Cupcakes
3 c. AP flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c. chopped pecans
3 eggs
2 c. mashed banana (approx 2 bananas)
2/3 c. crushed and drained pineapple
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. bourbon
1/2 c. shredded coconut (optional)

Lemon Curd Cream Cheese Frosting

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line cupcake pan with paper liners. In a bowl sift together the first 5 ingredients. Mix in the pecans and set aside.

2. In a second bowl combine eggs, banana, pineapple, coconut, oil and bourbon. Whisk together until well combined. Fold the wet ingredients gently in with the dry.

3. Scoop into liners about half way from the top. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let rest and cool before frosting.

Oh wait. Are you vegan, but still enjoy the sweet stuff? Or just watching your weight. Art Smith, of Southern chef fame (and also Oprah's personal chef) has a vegan Hummingbird Cupcake recipe for you too!

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