It seems ages since I last made a cake, as in a round with frosting cake. I thought it was about time. Especially after this weekend, which can be summarised thus:
- Broken – one silicone spatula (wedged in a batch of cookie dough) and one cat food fork (which flew across the utility room leaving a trail of tuna flakes in its wake).
- Steam Burns to Left Index Finger – Two (it probably thinks I have something against it now).
- Lacerated Right Knee and Top of Shin – One.
- Small Yet Deep Puncture Wound to Left Thigh – One.
- Number of Cakes Made – Two.
It you are a cat owner, you probably have some idea how points 3 and 4 came about. There I was, sitting down for 30 minutes of mindless television watching in the afternoon, one cat curled up, fast asleep, on my lap. The pesky sun creeps round and is in my eyes. I carefully reach out and place my hand on the curtain, ready to pull it closed a little bit, only for the cat to wake up with what could conservatively be called a ‘startle’ which caused her to leap with much force and vigor from my lap, impaling me in the process. My right knee now looks as if I have fallen off my bike (all red, scratched and scabby). Just as well the weather has turned chilly and I can hide it under thick opaque tights.
I couldn’t stay angry with her for long, because, well, look at her. How could you be cross with that? I just wish she hadn’t jumped quite so ferociously.
Hummingbird cake is apparently a relation of carrot cake. I’m not sure why, other than it contains cinnamon and nuts (unless you sprinkle them on the top, like me). However, it is a cake I have been wanting to make for a while.
The first attempt didn’t turn out quite as expected. The taste was fine, but it had a peculiar texture – almost like under-baked cake batter with an outer crust.
Can you see how squidgy it looks? I put it down to the fact that I doubled the quantity of fresh pineapple, because I wanted it to taste of pineapple. Don’t do that. Please. It won’t work. Squidgy slightly gummy textured cake will ensue.
Reducing the amount of pineapple to the correct quantity, plus a couple of other little tweaks, and all was right in the world of cake.
But what was a real revelation, was the frosting. I didn’t want to go with the usual sugar-loaded buttercream / cream cheese frosting. During my travels on the internet I have come across frosting made from whipped coconut milk. I was dubious about whether it would really work, but it does! It’s amazing. It has all the velvet texture of fresh whipped cream, but with none of the dairy. I honestly am not sure whether I ever want to put anything else on my cake because this is so good. I’ve seen a chocolate version and I suspect I will be trying that before long. Admittedly you can’t really pipe with it, and yes, you have to remember to put the can of coconut milk in the fridge the night before, but it’s a small amount of effort for maximum results. I could have quite happily eaten it straight from the bowl.
I flavoured it with a little coconut flour and coconut sugar blended together. I wanted the coconut flavour to come through in order to complement the (small amount of) pineapple and banana in the cake. I wanted it to have a tropical feel in order to bring a little sunshine to a grey day.
Hummingbird Cake with Whipped Coconut Frosting
- 70ml Carotino oil, or rapeseed oil
- 40g coconut sugar, or soft light brown sugar
- 30g honey
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk, or whichever milk you prefer
- 45 – 50g fresh pineapple
- 1 small ripe banana
- 50g rice flour
- 50g buckwheat flour
- 25g coconut flour, sifted
- 25g ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 400ml can of coconut milk
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 20g pecans, roughly chopped
- The night before you want the cake, place the can of coconut milk in the fridge the right way up.
- Pre-heat the oven to 190 Celsius / 170 fan / 375 Fahrenheit. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin with non-stick baking paper.
- Place the oil, sugar, honey, egg and milk in a bowl and whisk together.
- Puree the pineapple and banana together in a blender / food processor and add to the oil, sugar and egg mixture. Stir to combine.
- Add the flours, ground almonds, baking powder and cinnamon and mix until combined.
- Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until it is golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
- While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. Start by grinding 2 tbsp coconut flour and 2 tbsp coconut sugar together until they form a fine powder (it may clump a little due to the moisture in the flour). Take the tin of coconut milk out of the fridge and turn it upside down. Open and drain away the liquid (you can keep this to use in smoothies). Scrape the solid coconut cream into the bowl of a free-standing mixer and whip for a couple of minutes on the highest speed. Lower the speed and add the coconut flour / sugar powder a teaspoon at a time, increasing the speed and whisking well in between each addition. Scrape down the sides if needed and whisk one last time. Scrape the frosting into a bowl and place in the fridge until needed.
- When the cake is fully cooled, slather the frosting on the top and scatter over the chopped pecan nuts.
NOTE – the cake needs to be kept in the fridge or a cool room in order to prevent the frosting from warming up too much and running.