I’m about to show you photos of my little, tweety friends. If you don’t dig hovercraft-type creatures then you should surf away. More cupcakes for me!
This is life: tiny, featherweight, nectar-lovin’ life. This is life buzzing around a rooftop, urban garden in an industrial part of the city where (for now) there aren’t many residential buildings. I love living within that contrast.
Little, tweety hummingbirds of all types have been chilling, sipping nectar and buzzing around while construction cranes raise buildings, level roadways a block away.
I spend serious time in this garden. Even as the weather goes from summertime to bummertime I hang in the garden wearing a puffy coat, trying to slurp down coffee before it turns tepid. I cannot be deterred especially if I have a good book which is how I got interested in hummingbird cake. I read The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen while coffee cooled and I photo-stalked birds on this rooftop.
There’s cake in this book. Cake!
Cake is a magical thing in this novel and in life. There’s all sorts of cakery going on in Allen’s story and in particular there’s a Hummingbird Cake.
The recipe for Hummingbird Cake, a blue ribbon winner at County Fairs, was submitted by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins and published in Southern Living, circa 1978. The original version was a layered banana cake studded with pecans and canned pineapple chunks, iced with cream cheese frosting.
I love old school, layer cake but I wanted to incorporate the idea of a nectar center. I made banana, pecan cupcakes…
…filled with fresh pineapple curd (nectar!), slathered with cream cheese frosting.
The cake is mellow with the smooth sweetness of bananas and fresh vanilla beans. Texture and an earthy nuttiness are courtesy of the pecans. The bright pineapple curd, tart and sweet, rushes in while the cream cheese frosting lays on the sure calm of butter, butter, butter.
Here’s how you make room for the pineapple nectar:
Cut a cone-shaped piece of cake from the top center of each cupcake. I scoop just a little more cake out and then cut the pointy part off of the cone-shaped piece. Save the top which should now be kinda flat like a lid. Fill the pocket with pineapple curd.
Put the trimmed no-longer-a-cone piece back on top. Top with silky cream cheese frosting.
Cakes and life can have magic within them, don’t you think?
Summary: Lightly sweet banana, pecan cupcakes filled with pineapple curd nectar, slathered with cream cheese frosting
please note: this recipe will yield extra pineapple curd. Try it on toast!
Pineapple Curd Nectar ingredients:
- 2 cups fresh pureed pineapple (from one small pineapple which should also give you enough for the 1/2 cup of puree used in the cake)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- pinch of kosher salt
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Hummingbird Cupcake ingredients:
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium bananas, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup pureed fresh pineapple
- 1/2 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon (or 3/4 teaspoon of regular cinnamon)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- fresh vanilla beans scraped from both halves of a four inch piece (or approx. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I use unbleached)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- generous pinch of kosher salt
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
Cream Cheese Frosting ingredients:
- 6 ounces of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 to 2 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the Pineapple Curd Nectar:
- Set a fine strainer over a medium bowl to use later.
- In the top of a double broiler (I use a stainless bowl over a large pot of steaming water) whisk together pureed pineapple, sugar, egg yolks and salt over moderate heat.
- Add the butter, a few cubes at a time, whisking to incorporate each addition.
- Continue whisking this mixture over moderate heat for 10 minutes. The mixture should release lots of steam.
- Pour mixture through the fine strainer and into a bowl. Discard the solids.
- Return liquid to the double broiler and over moderate heat whisk until the curd thickens a bit approx. 4-6 minutes. It will thicken and set more as it cools.
- Transfer curd to a bowl and place in the fridge to cool and thicken for approx. 20 minutes.
for the Hummingbird Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tray with paper liners.
- Melt butter in a medium pan over low-medium heat.
- Add banana slices, pureed pineapple, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla beans and stir to combine.
- Heat, stirring occasionally, until the bananas dissolve with just a few whole bits of banana remaining and some liquid steams off- approx. 5-7 minutes
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pinch of salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Beat the egg whites and the dark brown sugar together until light and fluffy but not stiff – approx. 2 minutes.
- Fold the banana mixture you created earlier into the egg white and sugar mixture until just combined.
- Gently incorporate the flour mixture into this banana, egg white combo by folding.
- Add the chopped pecans and fold in very briefly.
- Pour into lined cupcake pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 22-24 minutes until a skewer poked into the center of a cake comes out clean. By touch: the cakes should feel firm but not hard or too set. Slightly bouncy is good.
- Cool on a rack before filling and frosting.
for the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Combine cream cheese and butter with a mixer on high speed until light and smooth.
- Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and beat to combine well.
- Add additional powdered sugar in small increments until you reach your desired consistency. I like to leave frosting on the creamier, smoother, less sweet side.
- Cut a cone-shaped piece from the top center of each cupcake.
- I like to scoop a little extra cake out.
- Slice the pointy part off of the cone-shaped piece. Save the top. It should look like a lid.
- Fill cupcakes with pineapple curd nectar.
- Place the cupcake lid back on top the curd filling.
- Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.
- Magic achieved!
Preparation time: 70-90 minutes for all ingredients and assembly
Cooking time: approx. 20 minutes for curd, 22-24 minutes for cupcakes
Number of servings (yield): 12 nectar filled frosted cupcakes with extra curd
Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)
Copyright © fatpiginthemarket.
Recipe by fat pig.
Microformatting by hRecipe.