Wednesday, April 10, 2013

HUMMINGBIRD CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING


Hummingbird cake – a banana-pineapple spice cake -- has been a southern tradition since the mid 19th century and is especially popular at Christmas.  The first known publication of the recipe was in the February 1978 Southern Living magazine.  It was elected the magazine's favorite recipe in 1990, and won the Favorite Cake Award at the 1978 Kentucky State Fair.  The cake typically has two or three layers with pecans, mashed bananas, crushed pineapple and cream cheese frosting.  I call it banana cake on steroids.


Last December, I made Food Network's version of Hummingbird cake to rave reviews.  Today's cupcakes are an adapted smaller version of Southern Living's enormously popular recipe, and I made them to celebrate the arrival of Spring.  These are very sweet with a moist, tender, almost velvety texture and everyone, but everyone, loves them.  (If you eliminate the cream cheese frosting and just sprinkle with powdered sugar, Hummingbird cupcakes are dairy free.)  


Hummingbird Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Southern Living
Rating:  9.5 out of 10
Click for PRINTABLE PAGE

CUPCAKES:

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda, scant
1/2 tsp. salt, scant
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 large egg, room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup mashed bananas
4 oz. crushed pineapple, undrained*
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans 

Heat oven to 350F.  Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.  In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon.  In medium bowl, whisk egg, oil, vanilla, bananas, pineapple and pecans till well combined.  Stir into dry ingredients, mixing just till barely moistened.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full, using about 3-1/2 Tbsp. for each cup.  Bake 15-18 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted near center returns with just a few crumbs. Cool on wire rack.  Frost with cream cheese frosting when thoroughly cool.  Yield:  12 cupcakes

*You can use fresh pineapple, finely chopped, in place of the canned crushed pineapple, if desired.


FROSTING:

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
4 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed of mixer till fluffy and smooth.  Gradually add sugar, beating till smooth after each addition.  Add vanilla and beat on high till fluffy.


TIP:  Believe it or not, these actually taste better as they age, making them a perfect make-ahead dessert.  Store in fridge, of course, for up to one week.  They also freeze beautifully -- thaw at room temperature for one hour before serving.



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