The Hummingbird Cake has been hugely popular in the South, toted to picnics and holiday parties and shared at supper clubs and family reunions. Most of the time the cake is baked in layers, slathered with a cream cheese frosting, then sprinkled with chopped pecans. But it was originally intended as a Bundt.
Back when the recipe originated it included mashed bananas, crushed pineapple, and cinnamon, and it was baked in a Bundt pan like this recipe. Because these ingredients are available any time of the year, it is the perfect cake to bake and slice for the holidays. It can be made ahead and the flavors improve after the cake rests for a couple of days. To glaze a Hummingbird Bundt cake, reserve a portion of the pineapple juice in the can and whisk together a speedy glaze with a little powdered sugar. Or just dust with powdered sugar for the simplest and most festive look of all.
Hummingbird Bundt Cake
Makes 12 to 16 servings
Prep: 20 to 25 minutes
Bake: 45 to 50 minutes
Vegetable shortening or butter and flour for prepping the pan
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
8 ounces (1 cup) vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple packed in juice, drained
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 medium)
2 teaspoons powdered sugar, sifted
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Shake out the excess flour, and set the pans aside.
2. Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine well. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, and blend with a wooden spoon or a mixer on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and blend until well combined, 1 minute. Or stir more briskly until well combined. Fold in the pineapple and the bananas. Turn the batter into the prepared pan, and place the pan in the oven.
3. Bake until the top of the cake springs back when lightly touched, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake, and give the cake pan a gentle shake to loosen it. Invert the cake onto the rack to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
4. Sprinkle with the sifted powdered sugar. Slice and serve.
Brown Sugar Shortbread
A sturdy shortbread that packs and ships well, this shortbread can be made in a large pan and cut into bars or squares. The brown sugar adds a more old-fashioned flavor, and this is how shortbread was made in the South.
Makes 16 bars or squares
Prep: 10 to 15 minutes
Bake: 35 to 45 minutes
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
Cinnamon topping (optional):
1 teaspoon granulated sugar mixed with dash of cinnamon
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Place the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Cut the butter into tablespoons and scatter in the processor bowl. Pulse 15 to 20 times, or until the butter is incorporated and the dough starts to come together but is still crumbly.
3. Press the dough into the bottom of an ungreased 8- or 9-inch square metal baking pan. Prick the dough about 12 times with a fork. Place the pan in the oven.
4. Bake until the shortbread is golden brown, from 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. If desired, sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar over the top. Cut the shortbread into squares while warm. Let cool completely before packing or serving.
Makes 8 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Bake: 25 to 30 minutes
1 large egg
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons for the skillet
- Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the cornmeal in a large bowl, and stir in the egg, buttermilk, and 1/4 cup oil until just combined.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, pour the batter into the skillet, and place the pan in the oven. Bake until the top is firm to the touch and the sides are well browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Turn out onto a board and slice into wedges. Serve warm.
For a 12-inch skillet – bake 20 to 25 minutes