I am an unabashedly huge Southern Living fan. I believe I first received a subscription to the magazine from my step-dad (who is probably the #1 fan of my cooking) when I was in middle school. I continued my subscription for years, even though one of my college roommates told me that the magazine was created to “keep housewives complacent”.
While I don’t doubt the veracity of her claim, I can’t help but love Southern Living. It paints the South as this idyllic, perfect place, and just reading through the recipes makes me hungry. I pretty much wish I could live inside the magazine.
SO when I recently found out that this Hummingbird Cake recipe, which was originally submitted by a woman from Greensboro, NC, is the most requested SL recipe of all time, I knew I had to make it.
I made the cake a couple of weeks ago when the Snowpocalypse hit NC, and I was snowed in with some family and friends. None of us had ever tried a Hummingbird Cake before, but it was a huge hit! It’s a dense, very rich cake, which I think makes it better suited for the cold, winter months–AKA Valentine’s Day!
The (slightly-adapted-from-the-original) recipe is below. Whip this up this weekend for a perfectly yummy Valentine’s Day treat.
Southern Living Hummingbird Cake
Yield: about 12 servings
What You’ll Need
- 3 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 (8 oz.) can of crushed pineapple
- 2 cups of chopped banana
- 1 cup of chopped pecans, plus a 1/2 cup to a cup more for decoration
What You’ll Do
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a large bowl.
- Add the beaten eggs and vegetable oil, mixing until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
- Stir in the vanilla, pineapple, chopped banana and chopped pecans. The batter will be thick–I thought it seemed more like bread batter than cake batter!
- Spoon the batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans, and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake layers in their pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans and cool COMPLETELY (about an hour).
- While your layers are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: about 5 1/2 cups
What You’ll Need
- 2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup of butter, softened
- 3 cups of powdered sugar (about 1 1/2 (16 oz.) boxes)
- 3 tsp of vanilla extract
What You’ll Do
- Beat cream cheese and butter at a medium-low speed until smooth.
- Slowly add in sugar and then vanilla, beating at a low speed, until blended.
- Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until fluffy.
Assembling the Cake–What You’ll Do
- Cakes typically rise in a dome shape, which can lead to uneven layer cakes. To prevent this, I use a bread knife and thinly slice off the raised center of the bottom two layers of cake.
- Place the first layer of cake on a serving platter. If you don’t have a raised cake platter, place a plate on top of an overturned mixing bowl–it’s easier to frost a cake that is closer to eye level.
- Spread about 1 cup of frosting over the layer of cake.
- Place the second layer of cake on top, and repeat the previous step.
- Place the third layer of cake on top, and spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake–this is your crumb coat. Place the cake into the fridge for about 30 minutes, or until the frosting is set.
- Now that the crumbs are sealed into the crumb coat, spread the remaining frosting over the rest of the cake. Use your remaining pecans to create a decorative pattern on the top of the cake, if you wish!
This was probably the most photogenic cake I’ve ever made–and believe me when I say that presentation has never been my strong suit!
Make this cake for your significant other, family or friends this Valentine’s Day, and prepare to impress! Enjoy, and happy V-Day!!