Sugar and Butter Free
My little brother is a strange boy when it comes to food. When he was little whenever there was a food platter, I remember he would be the one reaching for the olives and sun-dried tomatoes, whilst all the other babies ate the jatz biscuits and cheese cubes. When we ate pasta he would refuse plain tomato sauce and cheddar cheese, but absolutely love marinara sauce full of squid and mussels with parmesan flakes. I knew for his twelfth birthday he wouldn’t want a plain chocolate or vanilla cake. That’s not his style. So I decided to try making a Hummingbird Cake, which is probably the coolest cake recipe I’ve ever read.
It’s kind of like a carrot cake in that it has a cream cheese frosting and warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. But instead of carrot it’s filled with bananas and pineapple and sometimes passionfruit. I used this Valli Little recipe from Taste.com, changing things up to make it more my style of cake. Instead of butter there is oil and plain yogurt, and replacing the sugar is dates and maple syrup. I also used half wholemeal flour and changed up the icing to make it a little lighter. The result is a really cool cake! It’s so moist, and so flavoursome, and so cool. And my brother loved it, which is the ultimate test.
Making this cake was actually really easy, although a little time consuming. For some ungodly reason I bought the ‘ringed’ pineapple instead of the ‘crushed’, meaning I had to do it myself. I literally looked at both tins and thought “crushing pineapple sounds fun”. What is wrong with me. The hard part came later though. As many know I am technologically challenged but today took that to all new extremes. To begin with I couldn’t even get the photos off my camera, then whenever I tried to move them from editing into a new folder they shrunk to 79 Ks! And then the editing I’d done all reversed, and then I deleted the folder they were all in, and now I have to put them on my desktop and upload them from Iphoto, so apologies for the complete lack of editing. Technologically. Challenged. Anyway hours of computer-ridden angst aside, in the end there was cake, and it was really good. So you should give it a try. And we should all leave photographing to the professionals.
Hummingbird Maple Cake: Adapted from here
125g (1 cup, 4 ounces) self-raising flour
125g (1 scant cup, 4 ounces) wholemeal flour
60g (1/2 cup) walnuts
1.5 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp nutmeg and ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 bananas, mashed
100g (1/2 cup) dates, seeded and mashed (or blended)
30ml (2 tbsp) maple syrup
1 x 440g (1 pound, 15.5 ounces) tin of crushed pineapple
100ml (1 cup) olive oil
100ml (1 cup) plain yogurt
Preheat the oven to 170C. Line a 23cm tin with baking paper and put to one side. Sift the flours and spices in a bowl and set aside. Mix the mashed bananas, pineapple, dates, eggs, oil, yogurt and maple syrup until combined. Sift over the flour and stir together until just combined. Stir in the walnuts. Bake for 40 minutes until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.
For the icing:
Mix 250g cream cheese with 100ml of runny honey. Either pipe or spread over with a spatula on to the cool cake. Lasts un-iced for 4 days or iced for 1 day. Yum.