This Hummingbird cake is not trying to replace your favourite banana bread recipe, but instead what it will do, is give you a new cake to put on your table this month. Inspired by a recipe from Sydney’s The Cook and Baker, this banana and pineapple sponge uses ripe bananas and crushed pineapple slices in juice to yield a moist crumb. I would say ditch the icing altogether if you’re pressed for time, but if you want to go the extra mile, this salted caramel mousseline buttercream is just incredible. While only slightly fiddly, if you’re good with custards, this buttercream will be a doddle to make.
The first time round, I made this cake with fresh pineapple slices and fresh pineapple juice, but I must admit that its times like these when the canned stuff is far better than fresh. The cake also doubles up as a lush tea cake to serve to guests and can be adapted to a loaf tin fairly easily sans buttercream. If doing so, serve with lashings of salted caramel sauce, a recipe for which you can find here, and a nice dollop of whipped cream (Rich’s Gold preferably).
Hummingbird Cake With Salted Caramel Buttercream
Yield 6-8 servings
Chunks of pineapple and banana give this hummingbird cake its moist texture and sweet taste. It can also be a tea cake minus the frosting instead of your trusty carrot cakes and banana breads. If making as a tea cake, top with ready salted caramel sauce. The salted caramel mousseline buttercream is what makes it a proper, and quite decadent cake.
All-purpose flour 225g
Ground Cinnamon 1/2 tsp
Soda bicarbonate 1/2 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Eggs 2, at room temperature
Caster sugar 200g
Vanilla extract 1/2 tsp
Vegetable oil 150ml
Pineapple slices 125g from a tin, crushed with any juice reserved
Bananas 2, ripe, mashed
Salted Caramel Mousseline Buttercream
Egg yolks 2
Cornflour 1 tsp
Vanilla bean paste 1/2 tsp or Vanilla extract 1/2 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Cream 125ml (preferably a brand like Amul or D’Lecta), PLUS 40ml extra
Salted Butter 175g, soft but a little below room temperature
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and line two 8-inch round aluminium cake tins with baking paper. Alternately just butter and flour your tins. Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, soda bicarb and salt, and keep aside.
Using a hand mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract till pale and creamy. Slowly start to drizzle in the oil and beat till everything is well combined. Next, mix in the crushed pineapples with its juice and the ripe banana. Beat once again till smooth.
Sift the dry ingredients into the wet batter all at once and fold lightly with a spatula till no stray streaks of flour can be seen. Pour this into the ready tins and bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their tins for 10 minutes before turning them out and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
Start on the salted caramel mousseline next. Take a bowl and to it, add the egg yolks, cornflour, vanilla and salt. Using an electric hand mixer, whisk the contents together for 3-4 minutes or until pale, thick and voluminous.
In a small saucepan, add the 100g of sugar with 1-2 tbsp of water and heat over medium high heat, swirling the pan around for the sugar to melt evenly before the colouring process begins. Meanwhile set another small saucepan with the 125ml cream on the hob over medium heat until the cream comes up to a simmer. Lower the heat and watch the sugar turn a deep amber. Once it does, moving quickly, tip the contents of the caramel pan into the cream. Whisk continuously until the mixture comes together. It wont at first but as you continue to whisk it over heat, it should.
When the mixture has come together, reduce the heat and ladle a bit of this caramel cream into the bowl with the egg yolk mixture and whisk continuously. Add this egg and cream mixture back to the caramel cream and turn the heat up only very slightly to help the process along. Keep stirring till the caramel custard is thick, coats the back of a spoon and starts to leave trails.
Take this mixture off the heat and strain it if you like into a metal bowl. Clingfilm the bowl pressing the cling onto the surface and let this custard come to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator to cool completely, preferably overnight, or about 6 hours at least.
When the custard is completely cool, transfer the contents back into a bowl and run the electric hand mixer through it once. Add the butter a tablespoon at a time and run the hand mixer incorporating it. At first if it may look curdled, don't worry, it’ll all come together as you keep whisking. Keep running the hand mixer through your cream until the mixture looks glossy and thick. It must reach this stage before you add in the remaining cream in.
Once the buttercream has reached the desired stiffness, immediately frost the cakes. I usually prefer a rough sandwiched naked cake for a hummingbird, but this once, I decided to take it a step further.
To assemble the cakes as a rough naked layer cake, simply torte the cakes (slice the domed tops off the cakes) and sandwich with the buttercream.
The buttercream isn’t as sweet as you usually know it to be for a reason- It’s because the cake is quite sweet.