If you've read Lost Saints, you may be curious to try Zeke's favorite cake--Hummingbird. Here's my version of my great aunt Beth's recipe. She made this for me when I was a little girl and I fell in love before tasting a bite due to its impressive size. Paris apron is totally optional.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil (I use olive oil—but not the extra virgin kind; taste is too strong)
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups chopped bananas—chop into small pieces
Cream cheese frosting-recipe below
1/2 c. chopped pecans for top of cake when frosted
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt & cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened but do not over mix. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, & bananas.
Spoon batter into three, 9-inch round, greased and floured cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Do not overcook—cake should be light and fluffy. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.
Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; then sprinkle the half cup of chopped pecans on top. Refrigerate. Flavors blend best if served 24 hours after baking. Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Makes one 3-layer cake.
HUMMINGBIRD CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
1 package (8 ox.) cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
1 package (16 oz.) powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine cream cheese and butter, beating until smooth. Add powdered sugar & vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Makes enough frosting for one three-layer cake. Amy’s note: I’m INCLINED TO DOUBLE THE FROSTING AS ONE CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH ON A CAKE IN MY OPINION.
Cupcake Version of this—I make this as cupcakes much more frequently than the cake and you follow the recipe exactly the same. Just bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees for 15 minutes only. They come out like little pieces of heaven.
BEST POUND CAKE EVER
Lemon Yogurt Pound Cake
I discovered the inspiration for this recipe over fifteen years ago in a wonderful book called The Black Family Reunion Cookbook. My mother loves anything lemon and my mother-in-law loves pound cake so I frequently make this on Mother's Day.
One of the things I love best about this recipe is it's a one mixing bowl kind of cake. At least before you do the glaze :) The picture at right is the cake I made for my mother-in-law Joanne's 73rd birthday.
Since I am not a skilled cake decorator, I love to put fresh flowers from our garden on top of a cake--I used a small plastic lunch container filled with water in the middle of the cake to hold the flowers. So easy and so pretty!
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 cup Crisco shortening (I use the "butter" kind)
2 carton (8 ounces each) lemon yogurt
1 1/2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
juice of 2 medium-sized lemons
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Juice of 3 large lemons
1 c. Confectioner's sugar
1/4 c. of orange juice OR lemonade--either is fine; it's a matter of taste
Strawberries for garnish
1 carton heavy whipping cream, if desired.
1. Heat over to 325 degrees F. Great & flour 10-inch Bundt pan.
2. Combine, flour, sugar, Crisco, yogurt, eggs, lemon peel, lemon juice, vanilla & baking soda in large bowl. Beat at low speed of electric mixer until blended. Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl as needed. Spread in pan.
3. Bake at 325 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. Check it at 40 minute mark. As soon as cake starts to pull away from sides of pan, take it out. Otherwise it will get too done and will be dry.
4. Cool on cooling rack 15 minutes before removing from pan.
5. While cake cools for 15 minutes, place lemon juice for glaze in small mixing bowl. Pour in confectioner's sugar. Add orange juice or lemonade. Stir until glaze mixture is very thick and is almost paste-like and all sugar lumps are removed. If it does not have a thick enough consistency, add more confectioner's sugar by the tablespoon until it reaches the desired consistency.
6. Pour glaze on top of cake liberally and let it run down the sides. Serve with sliced strawberries (sweetened if neccesary).
If you want to be totally decadent, whip up some heavy whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks, throw in confectioner's sugar to taste and a dash of vanilla-1/2 tsp. Serve on side of cake with strawberries.
To make a lemon/blueberry pound cake, just add 1 c. of washed fresh blueberries to the cake before baking.
Instead of glaze, you can just sift confectioner's sugar on top of the cake.
Joanne Franklin's Pumpkin Bread
This is my mother-in-law's recipe and I use it every year, as you can see from the batter marks on the picture. I usually make around 30 mini loaves and 5-10 large loaves to give as gifts around Thanksgiving. My daughters love to take them to school and present them to their teachers--the girls now make their own gift tags and I wrap them up in plastic wrap and then tie a pretty fall-hued organza ribbon around them and--Viola! Beautiful gift.
The basic recipe makes 2 large loaves of bread or approx. 10 mini-loaves. I use the foil mini-loaf pans you get at the grocery store. I multiply the measurements for this recipe times five so I only have to make it once. This yields 30 mini-loaves and 2 large loaves. It requires a HUGE mixing bowl however, and there is no chance of sifting the dry ingredients with the large quantity so I just mix them in to the wet ingredients. I've marked the X5 measurements to the side of the single quantity measurements.
Bake time says one hour but I find it best to check everything at the 40 & 50 minute mark, otherwise they can get too done and what's the point of dry pumpkin bread? My preferred nut is pecans; chop them into bite-sized pieces. They add a wonderful rich flavor to the bread. And don't skip the plumping the raisins exercise at the beginning! It makes a difference, I promise.
The glaze you make for the top is one I don't measure--I just put 1/4 c. scoops of powdered sugar in to a bowl and then add small amounts of orange juice, just enough to wet the sugar until it develops a thick, opaque consistency and mix until there are no sugar lumps. You may need to add sugar, don't skimp on it because the key to the glaze "sticking" to the bread is it having enough powdered sugar to do so. You then use a pastry brush to brush the glaze over the tops of the breads when they are still warm from the over--don't wait until they've cooled as the glaze won't stick.