Thursday, April 4, 2019

Hummingbird Cake


Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.  

This recipe…is a recipe I would choose…
and I would share it with all of
 my best girlfriends… and this…ahem
(Spoiler Alert) delicious cake…it’s a good one.

--And isn’t friendship a beautiful thing?
…and to have a collection of people, 
people we chose, to surround ourselves with in life??
  These friends…they make the good times greater…
magnifying the happiness.   
Friends also make the hard times feel manageable, 
by sharing our hurt and cheering us on…


That’s the way I feel about a lot of my 
close friends as I grow older… 
and I am so happy that 
I have all these wonderful (old) friends 
that I do…each one different and 
complex, fun and fabulous in their 
own unique way… 
but also familiar and a little bit 
like family, actually, a lot like family.

This “new “cake recipe I’m rolling out
 is a cake that magnifies my happiness… 
over and over again… 
Old fashioned, and scrumptious…
not too very different from 
many of my dearest friends.

Today, I must introduce you to a close
 relative of one of our favorite cakes...


 …Please meet Carrot Cake’s BFF: Hummingbird Cake.

This is a cake you’ll want to 
add to your circle of friends…and fast.

Better than a bakery?  …check.

Baked with love?  …check.

The kind of cake… you'd be proud to bring
 to the church potluck or a family 
picnic?? YES…Yes and yes!!

This is the “cousin” to our good friend
 the carrot cake… these two cake-friends 
are made with similar ingredients…

You can totally see the family resemblance…
and you can certainly taste it 
in the moist crumb and delectable frosting… 
but… like the carrot cake, 
a real-winner…
This hummingbird cake will delight you
 and your guests every time you make it! 
Every. single. time.

Hummingbird cake is the perfect 
make-ahead dessert because it tastes 
so much better the next day…

It’s good on the first day…but, 
--Oh my, the second day… 
some kind of magic happens….all
 the flavors come together…
the texture is perfect… WoW! 

For all those who need of a special dessert… 
or a birthday cake…or just want to keep it 
for future reference… The recipe follows: 

(I must tell you I had to assure my 
son, no actual hummingbirds 
are used in this cake…)

Maybe BEST of all: If you need
 to see HOW to make it with 
my BEST BAKING TIPS and baking pointers…
keep reading below the recipe… 
A full tutorial follows, with photos!  

You’re welcome, friends!!


Hummingbird Cake
Blue Ribbon Kitchen
Blueribbonkitchen.blogspot.com, Karri Perry

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
***
3 large eggs- room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 -3 mashed, very ripe medium bananas- about 1 ½ cup
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, WITH juice
***
1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup buttermilk- room temperature
***
½ cup chopped toasted pecans (optional) - toast them 5 -7 minutes in a 350 degree oven -- to bring out their flavor-
Cool pecans before adding to cake.

Instructions:
Line 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with parchment paper; lightly grease. Set pans aside.

Measure the oil and buttermilk in one medium liquid measuring cup- set aside,
Be sure to give it a quick stir before adding to the batter.

Stir together first 5 (dry) ingredients.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and next 4 ingredients (sugar, mashed bananas, pineapple with juice and vanilla) at medium speed with an electric mixer until combined.
Add ¼ of the flour mixture alternating with the oil/buttermilk mixture until all of the ingredients are used. Scrape the sides, making sure all the flour is incorporated. Fold in the toasted, chopped pecans.
Bake at 350° for 27-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 5 minutes. Remove cakes from pans AND remove parchment paper.  Let cool completely on wire racks.

Once cakes are room temperature, spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.  Use toasted chopped nuts to coat the sides of the cake.  Refrigerate overnight, up to 24 hours and then serve.

For cupcakes:  Fill cupcake liners half-full with cake batter.  bake 250 degrees, center oven rack for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly from the center of each cupcake. 

Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients
2 stick of butter softened (8 TBS)
2 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
(Optional: 1 tsp finely grated lemon or orange zest to the frosting for a fun addition)
(If frosting is too thick, Add I tsp of cream or milk to frosting at a time to yield desired texture)
Consider: ½ cup toasted pecans chopped fine to add to the outside to the cake, or toasted coconut

For Robin’s Egg Colored Frosting: Add one drop of blue food coloring gel at a time, until desired color is reached.

For the Speckled Egg Frosting: Use 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, 1-2 drops of vanilla until a paste forms.  Using a new kid’s toothbrush (purchased mine from the dollar store) Sprtiz the cake with the vanilla/cocoa paste.  PRACTICE on a piece of parchment before trying on the finished cake.  Be sure you are happy with the consistency and pattern of the spritzing. You can also purchase a food-safe brush to apply-found in the cake decorating section of most craft stores.

Bird’s Nest:
Toasted Kataifi dough, (finely shredded phyllo dough) found in international grocery stores, Greek grocers.
In Cincinnati, I purchased mine in the frozen section of Halal Grocery in West Chester, Ohio.  For sale at Jungle Jim’s also.
Thaw dough, keeping dough moist while working. Form into nests on a lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with melted butter and sugar cinnamon if desired.  Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned.  Allow to cool completely before topping with candies or placing on a finished cake.

Baby Candy Birds:
Jordan Almonds
Royal Icing:
2 Tablespoons meringue powder
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon water, adding ½ teaspoon at a time until a flow able paste forms.  Add food gel coloring.
I purchased small candy eyes- from Cincinnati Cake and Candy, Reading, Ohio.




THE DETAILED HOW-TO:

Pre-heat the oven, 350 degrees. …It’s always a great place to start. 
Cakes are always baked on the center rack…so look inside and if you need to adjust your racks.  Adjust them before the oven is hot.
If you’ve ever had a cake get over done, or dried out…it might have been because the cake was baking too close to the heat…on a lower rack.

Prepare your pans.  Use parchment to line the bottom…why?  The cake might not come out of the pan if you try to skip the parchment...this cake has plenty of sticky goodness in it…
I took a photo of the pan just after I removed the cake…if the parchment paper wasn’t in there…there is a pretty good chance that the little bit of sticking would have been a whole lot…
Good news… they sell pre-cut parchment rounds.  If you can’t stand the thought of cutting out parchment rounds…consider picking some up… I do!
If cutting rounds out, old school style, simply lay the pan on the parchment paper, trace the pan shape and then cut.  If you are new to parchment paper, it is usually found in the aisle at the grocery near the aluminum foil and plastic wraps.

Get your ingredients ready…
Toast the pecans.  Wondering about toasted vs. raw nuts?? …toasting nuts for any recipe add tons of flavor and makes everything taste better…
 If you don’t believe me…  taste a walnut that is raw, untoasted and then try one that has been lightly toasted for 7 minutes… the taste is dramatically different and often is the difference in baking competitions.  Toast the nuts 5-7 minutes in a 350 oven.  Let cool and then chop.

Tip: You can carefully toast pecans in the microwave.  Toast for 1 minute at a time until the smell nutty.  Be careful to not go too far and over-toast them with this method.  I like to use a microwave safe plate, and gently move the nuts around between heatings. I’m usually happy with 2 minutes of toasting in my microwave.  (All microwaves are different—so know your appliance)

Carefully measure flour, spices and baking soda…set aside.

Measure sugar in a separate bowl.  Set aside.

Did you know??  Baking is basically like chemistry…so if you measure correctly…your product will have at least half a chance of turning out amazing…. Adding too much or not enough, often spells disaster when baking… Don’t’ worry... You can do it!!

Measure buttermilk and oil.  Set aside.

No buttermilk in the house??  Don’t worry.  I often don’t have buttermilk on hand either.  A quick fix: using milk, (whole and 2% work best for this trick)… Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice OR vinegar… It sours the milk and gives you faux buttermilk in a pinch.

What kind of oil should you use??  Great question!!   Vegetable or canola oil is a great choice because those oils are flavorless…meaning they don’t impart any unusual flavors that some other oils (like olive oil) might.

Beat eggs, sugar, banana, vanilla and pineapple with juice, using the electric mixer.

Add the flour mixture, a little at a time. Stop to scrape down the sides once. Alternate adding the flour with the oil/buttermilk mixture. Stop mixing once the flour is incorporated.
Fold in the toasted, chopped pecans.
Pour into prepared pans.
Bake 27-30 minutes.

Remove cakes from the pans after 5 minutes.  Remove parchment paper and let cool.

Frosting the cakes:

Add frosting in between each cake layer.


Give the cake a crumb coat… lightly frost the whole cake.  Then put the cake in the refrigerator for about an hour… go relax… letting the cake firm up in the refrigerator makes frosting it much easier.

After an hour the frosting is a little chilled and acts like a glue holding the cake together better… which helps the layers to not slide around and you will be able to add the nuts without the cake falling off the plate…


Finish the cake with a final frosting and coat the sides with chopped toasted nuts.

To add nuts, hold the cake at a slight angle over a rimmed baking sheet that has the chopped nuts waiting.  Gently press the nuts onto the sides of the cake.  Nuts that do not adhere to the cake will fall back onto the baking sheet.  Repeat and rotate the cake until the sides of the cake are coated with chopped nuts.



Bird’s Nest:
I used shredded Phyllo dough, known as Kataifi Dough.
It comes frozen, thaw in the refrigerator, keep it moist with a damp paper towel white working with it.
On a parchment lined baking sheet, I made small and medium sized “nests”.
Taking 6 inch lengths of the shredded phyllo, I made them into what looked like nests.
I wanted them to look realistic, so I lifted/fluffed them with a fork.  Drizzled with melted butter mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar and a pinch of cinnamon.  Bake in a 350 degree oven on the middle rack, checking after 10 minutes, and then every 2-3 minutes until the desired toasty brown-ness is achieved.  They made the cutest little nests.  Small one’s for cupcakes and large as a cake topper for the hummingbird cake.



Baby Birds and Frosting:

For Robin’s Egg Colored Frosting: Add one drop of blue food coloring gel at a time, until desired color is reached.

For the Speckled Egg Frosting: Use 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, 1-2 drops of vanilla until a paste forms.  Using a new child-size toothbrush (purchased mine from the dollar store)  Sprtiz the cake with the vanilla/cocoa paste.  PRACTICE on a piece of parchment before trying on the finished cake.  Be sure you are happy with the consistency and pattern of the spritzing. You can also purchase a food-safe brush to apply speckles, found in the cake decorating section of most craft stores.

Baby Candy Birds:
Jordan Almonds
Royal Icing:
2 Tablespoons meringue powder
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon water, adding ½ teaspoon at a time until a flow able paste forms.  Add food gel coloring.
I purchased small candy eyes- from Cincinnati Cake and Candy, Reading, Ohio.

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon water, adding ½ teaspoon at a time until a flow-able paste forms.  Add food gel coloring.

I purchased small candy eyes- from Cincinnati Cake and Candy, Reading, Ohio.

Using a disposable decorator bag,
Yellow for beak- small leaf tip
Black for eyes- I used super-black gel coloring, small 1 writing tip…I did not have to squeeze, simply dotted the eyes, with the tip.

I used uncolored royal icing like glue to adhere the store-bought candy eyes... I cannot decide which bird eyes I prefer...they're both pretty cute.





 If you are visiting from Fox19...Welcome!! Below are the caramel recipes...more on that tomorrow on National Caramel Day!!


Bulls-Eye Caramel Pecan Pie

Karri Perry, BlueRibbonKitchnen.blogspot.com
Blue Ribbon Kitchen


Baking temp: 350
Time: 50-55 minutes
Yields: 9-inch pie

Pie Dough—or use a store-bought pre-made crust
2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp Crisco-either butter flavor or original is fine
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup- plus 2 Tbs ice cold water and vodka mixed 50/50


Filling
15-20 unwrapped Goetez ‘s Bull’s-eye Caramels
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup dark corn syrup
4 TBS butter melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
¼ tsp salt
½ cup chopped toasted pecans
2/3 cup un-toasted whole-unblemished pecans for edging pie-decoration is optional

Step 1: Mix together flour, sugar and salt, set aside.  Make pie dough by cutting in (using a pastry cutter or food processor) butter, shortening and lard into the flour, sugar and salt.  Add liquid a little at a time…Once dough comes together, shape into 2 equal disks and let rest, covered tightly, at least one hour in the refrigerator. (Only one disk of dough is used for this pie)

Step 2: Roll out 1 dough round to ¼ inch thick, fill pie plate. Place Bull’s-eye caramels in the pie shell in one even layer.

Step 3: Whisk eggs, sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, extract, salt and vanilla together.  Fold in chopped toasted pecans.

Step 4: Fill pie shell, covering the caramels  with pecan mixture.  Top with whole pecans around edges.  Add dough cut-outs in decorative shapes if desired.

Step 5: Bake in preheated 350-degree oven, on the lowest rack for 55-60 minutes or until filling is set.  Allow to cool before serving.




Caramel-Filled Cupcakes

Karri Perry, BlueRibbonKitchnen.blogspot.com
Blue Ribbon Kitchen


Baking temp: 350
Time: 50-55 minutes
24 cupcakes

Make 24 yellow cupcakes.  Boxed mix is fine.

Caramel Filling
20 unwrapped Goetez ‘s Bull’s-eye Caramels
2 Tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 Tablespoon evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

Topping:
Vanilla Frosting (store-bought) OR:
2 sticks softened butter
5-6 cups confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1-2 Tablespoon heavy whipping cream- more or less to reach desired consistency.
1 tsp vanilla extract
Prepared Caramel Corn

Step 1: prepare cupcakes, let cool.

Step 2: In a small, non-stick skillet, add corn syrup, evaporated milk and salt.  Add the unwrapped Goetze’s Bulls-Eye caramels.  On low heat, begin to melt the candies.  Stir often.  Once caramels are melted, remove from heat to cool.  If mixture is too thick, add 1-3 tablespoons of evaporated milk to thin.

Step 3:  Using an apple corer, remove a small amount of cake from the center of each cupcake. 

Step 4: Fill a piping bag with the cooled caramel sauce.  Fill each cupcake with 1-2 teaspoons of caramel sauce.

Step 5: Make Frosting: Beat the butter on high for 3-4 minutes.  Slowly add the sugar, salt and vanilla.  Thin the frosting with the heavy cream.  Frost cupcakes with vanilla frosting add caramel corn to the top of each cupcake and drizzle with extra caramel sauce.




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