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My annual ode to Hummingbird cake, with a figgy twist

Posted by Sue Heward on

Now I'm not totally sure I can still call it a Hummingbird cake if there is no pineapple. Probably not but its still delicious and this is my recipe for our annual ode to this family favourite.

Humming bird cake with a figgy twist

Hummingbird Cake with a figgy twist

Servings: 12 

Ingredients for the Hummingbird Cake

3 cups flour – my current local favourite is 85% light from Four Leaf Milling. I’ve also made this recipe regularly using Caputo Fiore Glut gluten free flour)

2 tspn ground cinnamon

1 tspn bi-carb soda

1 tspn salt

1 cup raw sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs, if you remember room temp does help

1 cup olive oil

2 tspn vanilla

1/2 cup White Smyrna figs finely diced

2 cups roasted bananas, mashed (approximately 4 large with peel left on then roasted; instructions below)

1 cup chopped pecans

Ingredients for cream cheese icing

½ cup of unsalted butter, at room temp

250g pure icing sugar

250g cream cheese, at room temp

1 tspn vanilla

1 cup of whole pecans to decorate

Method for baking the cake and preparing the icing

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Butter and line your cake tin(s). For this bake I used just one love heart pan filled quite full (which can be risky that it doesn’t cook fully in the middle but its all I had). Alternatively prepare a couple 20cm cake tins.
  3. Place bananas on a baking tray with peels left on. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes until the skins are black (the bananas may leak which is fine). Remove and let cool until they can be handled. Peel bananas, place in a small mixing bowl and mash. Set aside to cool. Leave the oven heated to 180 degrees Celsius.
  4. Sift into a large mixing bowl the flour, cinnamon, bi-carb soda and salt.
  5. In a second large mixing bowl combine the raw and brown sugar; stir to combine.
  6. Add the eggs to the sugar mix and stir briskly by hand (I don’t use a mixer at all in baking the actual cake) to combine all ingredients into a smooth mixture.
  7. Whisk the oil and vanilla into the sugar/egg mixture until combined and smooth.
  8. Add the flour mixture all at once and hand stir to combine the mixture fully.
  9. Add the finely chopped figs, mashed bananas and then the pecans. Stir just until combined; do not over stir.
  10. If you are using a couple pans divide the batter evenly at this point or alternatively fill your one tin.
  11. Cook for 25-30 minutes until cake bounces back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  12. Allow to cool in pans on racks for 5 minutes then turn out onto cooling racks to fully cool before icing.
  13. While you wait for the cake to cool, beat the in the bowl of a standing mixer (or a hand held mixer). Beat on low speed, gradually increasing speed to medium (doesn’t take long if the butter is a room temp otherwise about 3 minutes).
  14. Break pieces of the cream cheese block and add to the butter. Mix at medium speed until fully combined, and smooth.
  15. Add the vanilla and slowly add the sifted icing sugar. Beat until well blended, increasing speed to beat on medium high for 3 minutes or until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.

Cake assembly

  1. Place the first layer of cake upside down (the bottom of the cake will be iced) on the serving plate. Cover with a thin covering of your icing. Alternatively, if you have used one tin, like I did on this bake, carefully cut the cake into two layers and continue below.
  2. Place the second layer of cake right side up (flat cake bottom onto the icing) and icing the top of this layer.
  3. Use the remaining to cover top of cake and the sides. Decorate with pecans.
  4. Allow cake to stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving and store any uneaten cake in the refrigerator. Cake best when made the day prior to serving!


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