I love a traditional Southern cake, but my ability to successfully make beautiful layered creations is limited at best. So I am always looking for ways to reimagine the classic layer cakes in Bundt, loaf or sheet form. I can’t make a tall caramel cake or a lusciously frosted red velvet, so I developed cheats that offer all the deliciousness without the wonky, lopsided, collapsing layers I usually end up with.
One of my favorite Southern cakes is the Hummingbird, moist with pineapple and banana and lightly spiced. I’ve converted this cake to a Bundt version, I’d say reconstructing rather than deconstructing the classic. Instead of the layers of billowing cream cheese frosting on a the traditional cake, I fulfill the cream cheese requirement with a cream cheese and pecan filling and cover the cake with a pineapple-boosted glaze. I love the added sweetness of diced sweetened dried pineapple sprinkled on top, plus it makes the finished product pretty.
Hummingbird Bundt cake
For the Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12 cup Bundt pan thoroughly with baking spray such as Baker’s Joy.
2. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg, vanilla, and cinnamon together in the small bowl of a stand mixer until smooth.
3. Add the pecans and beat until thoroughly combined. Set the filling aside while you make the batter.
For the Cake:
1 cup canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1. Thinly slice the bananas and add to the large bowl of stand mixer and add the eggs. Turn the mixer on medium low and add the oil and sugar and beat until smooth. Add the pineapple and vanilla and keep beating until the mixture is smooth. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg and beat until the batter is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
2. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Using a large spoon, dollop the cream cheese filling in a ring in the center of the batter. Try your best to keep it in the center of the batter. Cover the filling evenly with the remaining batter. Bake the cake for 50 minutes to an hour, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover the top of the cake loosely with foil if it starts to brown too much. Cool the cake completely in the pan set on a wire rack, then turn it out onto the rack. Place a piece of waxed paper or foil under the rack to catch drips when you glaze the cake.
For the Glaze:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons pineapple juice
dried sweetened pineapple pieces
1. Beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in the small bowl of a mixer until smooth.
2. Drizzle in the pineapple juice, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until you have a thick, spoonable glaze.
3. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake, pushing some of it drip down the sides. Garnish the top with the dried pineapple and chopped pecans.
Notes: My stand mixer came with two bowls. I use the small bowl to make the filling, rinse and dry it and use it to make the glaze. I use the larger bowl to make the batter. If you don’t have two bowls, make the filling in the bowl, then scrape it into another bowl, clean the mixer bowl and proceed.
If you don’t want to buy a big bottle of pineapple juice, look in the Latin section of the grocery for individual cans of pineapple nectar. Use the remainder to make a sweet tea punch, a great accompaniment to a slice of Hummingbird!
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