This is an old recipe that I got from one of my first cookbooks many, many years ago. Hummingbird Cake is basically a banana-pineapple-nut cake. It’s moist, delicious, and absolutely addictive. I usually bake it in a bundt pan and serve it plain, but you could also bake it in three round cake pans and frost each layer with a cream cheese frosting. Either way is delicious and will have you humming with delight!
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups ripe bananas, mashed
1 can (8 ozs.) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a bundt pan.
In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon with a wooden spoon.
Add the eggs, oil, vanilla, bananas, pineapple, and nuts, and stir together well.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (In my oven, 50 minutes is perfect, but depending on your oven, this could take up to 70 or 80 minutes.)
NOTE: If desired, cake may be baked in three 9-inch round cake pans. If using three cake pans, bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then frost with cream cheese frosting.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
2 pkg. (8-oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup salted butter or margarine, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
With an electric mixer set on medium-low speed, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
Add powdered sugar little by little, beating at low speed until blended.
Stir in vanilla.
Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
My mom used to make this cake for us all the time when we were growing up. Pineapple Upside Down Cake is an old-fashioned cake that sort of died down in popularity over the years. It’s delicious, though, and definitely deserves a comeback. I’ve altered my Mom’s original recipe to make the cake more moist and added more pineapple to it, but the basic recipe is still hers. It’s easy to prepare and my family loves it judging by how quickly it disappears every time I serve it!
PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
⅔ cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 20-oz. can pineapple slices, drained and juice reserved
1 8-oz. can pineapple slices, drained and juice reserved (optional)
1 jar maraschino cherries
2½ cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
16 Tbsp. reserved pineapple juice from the cans
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup butter, softened
1½ cup white sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place butter in a 9×13-inch cake pan and put it in the oven to melt the butter.
When butter is melted, remove pan from oven.
Sprinkle brown sugar over melted butter. Spread evenly with a rubber spatula.
Arrange pineapple slices over the butter-brown sugar mixture in any pattern you want. You can leave the slices whole or cut them in halves or quarters to make a fancier design.
Cut a few maraschino cherries in half and nestle them, cut side up, around the pineapple slices in the cake pan. You can leave the cherries whole if you want, but my mom always cut them in half. Probably to save money.
In a medium bowl, stir flour, baking powder, and salt together.
In a small bowl, stir pineapple juice and vanilla together.
With an electric mixer, beat softened butter and white sugar on high until thick and light colored.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well-combined.
Reduce speed to low and beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the pineapple juice mixture until just incorporated.
Pour cake batter evenly over the pineapple slices in the cake pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cake springs back when pressed down lightly on top.
Allow cake to cool for 10-15 minutes, then turn it out onto a rectangular plate. If a pineapple gets left behind in the pan, just pick it up with a metal spatula and flip it over onto the spot it came from on the cake.
NOTE: You only need one 20-oz. can of pineapple, but if you want to completely cover the top of the cake with pineapple rings like I have pictured, you’ll find one can is about 2 slices shy. My family likes a lot of pineapple so I add the second smaller can, but if you don’t want to bother with that, you can make do with one 20-oz. can and just space the slices farther apart so they’re evenly distributed. Bear in mind, if you do decide to use just one 20-oz. can of pineapple slices, you might be a little short on the pineapple juice. Different brands have different amounts. If you’re short, just add enough water or cooking oil to make 16 tablespoons.
Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day which is actually on September 16. Supposedly, Cinco de Mayo actually marks the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Whatever the case may be, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a pretty big holiday in the U.S. and even though we don’t have any Mexican blood in us, it’s become a tradition for me to fix a big Mexican dinner for the family every year on the 5th of May.
One of my family’s favorite Latin desserts is Empanadas de Piña or Pineapple Empanadas. I think traditionally, the pineapple used for these empanadas is fresh pineapple that is cut into little chunks and cooked with sugar, but I find that pineapple jam is a great time-saver and works just as well. If you’ve never tried dessert empanadas, you should give this recipe a go. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!
EMPANADAS DE PIÑA
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks butter, cut into pieces
1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, cut into pieces
1 10-oz. jar pineapple preserves
white sugar for rolling the empanadas
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Place flour, butter and cream cheese into the bowl of a food processor and process just until the dough comes together.
Turn dough out onto work surface and gather into a ball.
Roll out to about 1/8-inch thick and cut out circles with a biscuit cutter or an overturned glass.
Place 1 teaspoon preserves in center of each dough circle.
Moisten along edge of half a circle with water and fold dough over to form a half moon.
Press down all along edge with tines of a fork to seal well.
Bake 25-30 minutes or till golden brown.
Remove from oven and roll in sugar until completely coated, shaking off any excess sugar.
Transfer to a platter to cool completely.
(Makes about 24 empanadas, depending on how big you cut out your circles of dough. I usually cut out 3-1/2 inch circles. This recipe can easily be doubled to make more.)