Let us eat cake!

hummingbird-cake-whole

I am so excited to be back in the kitchen!! Actually, I’m so excited to be anywhere other than the couch. Baby Allie has made her debut and all is slowly getting back to normal in the Purvis house.

After a brief stint in the NICU which resulted in one extra day at the hospital for us both, we came home on a sunny Monday afternoon. It was a really wonderful wheelchair ride through the hospital with my baby in my arms. When Kellan was born I was wheeled out in tears as I was forced to leave him behind in the NICU. I literally went home, showered, and immediately returned to the hospital to be with my baby. It was depressing. This time I was wheeled out in tears again, but they were tears of joy that my prayers had been answered and we were all heading home together. To God be the glory!

We were greeted at the driveway by both grandmothers and Kellan jumping up and down and cheering for us. There were balloons and flowers; quite the little celebration, and boy was I ready to celebrate! I knew friends and family would be coming to the house to see our new bundle and I wanted it to be a party…and no party is complete without cake.

So yes, 5 days post cesarean section and 1 day post hospital discharge, I baked a cake. It was awesome. The cake and the actual baking process, that is. If you’ve never had Hummingbird cake you need to remedy that as soon as possible. It is perfect for this time of year, overflowing with banana, pineapple, pecans and decadent cream cheese frosting. I can see it on the dessert table at Easter and Mother’s Day, or even at your Memorial Day festivities.

For me, it was the perfect cake to celebrate our sweet little girl’s arrival. It’s delicate in flavor, but makes a strong impact. Delicate and strong, just like a hummingbird and just like our little one.

Enjoy!

hummingbird-cake-slice

HUMMINGBIRD CAKE

For the cake:

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fresh pineapple, crushed (see below)
2 cups very ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 4 large or 6 medium-small)
1 cup chopped pecans

For the frosting:

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, chilled
3, 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, chilled
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 ½ cups finely chopped pecans

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel bananas, place in a small mixing bowl and mash. Set aside. Leave the oven heated to 350 degrees.
  3. Butter and flour 3-9 inch round baking pans. Trace the bottom of the pan (for all three pans) onto parchment paper, cut out circle and place in the bottom of each pan.
  4. In a sifter over a large mixing bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Sift into the bowl. Set aside.
  5. In a second large mixing bowl combine the granulated and brown sugar; stir to combine. Add the eggs and stir briskly by hand to combine all ingredients into a smooth mixture.
  6. Whisk the oil and vanilla into the sugar/egg mixture until combined and smooth.
  7. Add the flour mixture all at once and hand stir (do not beat) to combine the mixture fully.To crush the pineapple: Place 1 cup of finely diced fresh pineapple in a medium mixing bowl and using a potato masher, crush the pineapple. Add the fruit and juice to the batter. Also add the mashed banana and the pecans. Stir just until combined; do not over stir.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. Tap the pans on the countertop to release any air bubbles and place in the 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until cake bounces back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool in pans on racks for 5 minutes then turn out onto cooling racks to fully cool before frosting. Be sure to peel off and discard the parchment paper.
Instructions for Cream Cheese Frosting:
  1. Cut sticks of chilled butter into 1 inch pieces and place in the bowl of a standing mixer (can use a hand held mixer if needed). Beat on low speed, gradually increasing speed to medium until the butter is still cool but has softened together (about 3 minutes).
  2. Cut the cream cheese into 1 inch strips and add to the butter. Mix at medium speed until fully combined, and smooth.
  3. Add the vanilla and slowly add the sifted powdered sugar. Beat until well blended, increasing speed to beat on medium-high for 3 minutes or until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.
  4. Fold in pecans by hand.
Instructions for Cake Assembly:
  1. Place the first layer of cake upside down (the bottom of the cake will be frosted) on the serving plate. Cover with 2/3 cup of frosting. This will be a thin covering.
  2. Place the second layer of cake right side up (flat cake bottom onto the frosting) and frost the top of this layer with 2/3 cup again
  3. Place the last cake layer with cake right side up and use the remaining frosting to cover top of cake and the sides.
  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!

Adapted from Boulder Locavore

 

Lemon Blueberry Cake with Raspberry Filling

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake with Raspberry Filling

I love a good themed dessert, especially on the Fourth of July. When I was a teenager it was a store-bought cake mix topped with icing-in-a-tub and decorated like a flag with sliced strawberries and blueberries. I was so proud! A few years later it was a red, white and blue trifle with layers of sponge cake, vanilla custard, whipped cream, and of course, the standard strawberries and blueberries. Good stuff. Last year my sister came to visit on the 4th and we really went all out- Rice Crispy treats with red and blue sprinkles. Whatever, they were good.

This year I’m lucky enough to have stumbled upon my new favorite blog for all things sweet. Sally’s Baking Addiction is an awesome resource for satisfying your sweet tooth. Her recipes are super easy to follow with great baking tips and tricks tucked in along the way. She also has beautiful photographs of her treats throughout the cooking process, making each recipe hard to resist. Check it out!

I’ve been wanting to make the Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake from her website for a while. I don’t know what it is about dessert with fruit in it, but I’m always drawn to those recipes. I like to pretend that a cake, fruit, pie, or muffin laden with fruit, is healthy. Not just healthier…healthy.  So a layer cake bursting with plump blueberries and bright lemons? I might as well be eating salad! Yeah- I know I’m dreaming, but I don’t crush your dreams so please don’t crush mine. There has to be some sort of evidence to support this, right? Fruit is obviously more nutritious than chocolate so surely there’s some merit to my claim. Oh well.

Regardless, this cake has been calling my name for weeks and meets almost all of my July Fourth criteria.  White and blue. Now for the red. I could have easily just thrown some raspberries on top and called it a day, but that seemed like a little bit of a cop out. It makes sense and would have totally tasted fine, but it doesn’t really tie together with the rest of the cake. So maybe an actual raspberry filling? Whenever my Oma baked a layer cake she always used a fruit filling to go along with the buttercream filling. It was the perfect combination of sweet-tartness to go along with the super sweet buttercream. I decided to do the same and I am really happy with the way the cake came out. The spongecake has a very subtle lemon flavor that provides the perfect base for this decadent dessert and pairs well with both berries. The icing is probably the best buttercream I’ve ever made and will likely be my icing of choice from here on out. It’s so easy and delicious, and like Sally describes, tastes like “spreadable cheesecake.” YUM!

I hope you’ll try this recipe out for the 4th…or any time for that matter. It’s sweet, it’s fruity, and it’s super healthy- right? 🙂 Happy Fourth of July!

Sliced Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake with Raspberry Fililng

For the cake:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
zest + juice of 3 medium lemons
1 and 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or non-thawed frozen
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

For the raspberry filling:

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons cornstarch

For the frosting:

8 ounces (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners’ sugar
1 – 2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray three 9×2 inch cake pans with nonstick spray or butter and flour them. Set aside.

Make the cake. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy – about 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.

In a large sized bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then add the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Remove from the mixer and stir lightly until everything is just combined. Toss the blueberries in 1 Tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter. Batter is extremely thick. Do not overmix at any point.

Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. If only using 2 cake pans, your bake time will be longer. Bake the three layers for about 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took 21 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Make the raspberry filling. Add raspberries, lemon juice and sugar to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until berries begin to release juices and the sugar has dissolved. Pour into a small food processor and pulse until pureed. Add back to saucepan and bring to a low boil. Make a slurry using 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water. Mix well and stir into raspberries. Continue to cook over low heat until mixture has thickened and appears glossy, stirring constantly. Let cool completely.

Make the frosting. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, 1 Tablespoon cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add 1 more Tablespoon of cream to thin out, if desired.

Assemble and frost. First, using a large serrated knife, trim the tops off the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with as much raspberry filling as desired, being sure to leave a 1/4 inch border around the cake so that the filling doesn’t ooze out when you top it with the 2nd layer of cake. Top the raspberry filling with the 2nd cake layer and spread frosting all over the top, letting it spill over the sides. Secure with a few toothpicks to keep the layers from sliding off one another.  Add the 3rd layer and secure with a few more toothpicks if needed. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. Top with blueberries, rasperries or lemon garnish if desired. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting or else the cake may fall apart as you cut. Don’t forget to let people know that the cake is secured with toothpicks so that they are on the look out while digging in.

Check out the cookbook, Sally’s Baking Addiction: Irresistible Cookies, Cupcakes, and Desserts for Your Sweet-Tooth Fix

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