How a banana pineapple spice cake came to be called a Hummingbird Cake is anyone’s guess, but having earned the title of one of Southern Living magazine’s all-time favorite recipes, it’s clearly a Southern staple worthy of your best cake stand.
This recipe from "Martha Stewart’s Cakes: Our First-Ever Book of Bundts, Loaves, Layers, Coffee Cakes, and more" by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (Clarkson Potter, $24.99) calls for topping the cake with rings of homemade candied pineapples, which you could replace with dried pineapple from the store or skip altogether if you’d like.
For candied pineapple slices:
2 cans sliced pineapples
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
Unsalted butter, for greasing pans
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup canola or safflower oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)
1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
For cream-cheese frosting:
1 lb. (two 8-oz. bars) cream cheese, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 lb. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
To make the candied pineapple rings, drain pineapple and reserve 1 1/2 cups juice. Bring juice, sugar and light corn syrup to a boil; cook on medium heat 4 minutes. Add slices; simmer on low heat, turning frequently, 45 minutes or until translucent. Transfer slices to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and bake at 200 degrees until pineapple caramelizes and is less sticky, 60 to 90 minutes. Let cool on rack.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Butter two 9-inch-by-2-inch round cake pans; line with parchment rounds, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat oil, vanilla, and sugar until combined, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated after each before adding the next. Beat until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
In a bowl, mix together banana, pineapple, nuts, and coconut. Add to egg mixture; stir until combined. Add flour mixture; blend well.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake, rotating halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen; turn out onto rack to cool completely. If not assembling right away, wrap each layer in plastic and freeze (thaw before using).
To make the cream cheese frosing: With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and vanilla until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add butter, beating until incorporated.
Reduce speed to low. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, and beat until fluffy and smooth. Frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed before using.
Place bottom layer on a cake stand or platter, and spread evenly with about 1 1/2 cups frosting. Top with second layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Arrange candied pineapple on top, if using. Cake can be refrigerated up to 3 days; serve at room temperature. Serves 10 to 12.
— From "Martha Stewart’s Cakes: Our First-Ever Book of Bundts, Loaves, Layers, Coffee Cakes, and more" by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (Clarkson Potter, $24.99)