Humming a Springtime Tune













Happy Sunday,
I hope everyone has enjoyed the past week. My week has been pretty busy and I apologize for waiting until today to post something. Anyhow, spring is upon us and with Easter fast approaching I thought I would share one of my all-time favorite desserts with y’all. I first discovered a delicious Hummingbird Cake at one of my favorite tea rooms, The Pear Tree. I believe I have praised this place once before in another blog post. While their lunch plates are to die for, The Pear Tree really satisfies my sweet tooth, especially with this cake. Now, the first time I had this cake at The Pear Tree it just so happened to be my birthday, I believe around two years ago. I had just finished a “light” tea room lunch with my grandmother, mother, and aunt, and was feeling quite stuffed. I soon began to feel as though I wouldn’t be able to look at food for days, much less even think about ordering dessert. Nevertheless, just as I was loosening the top button on my jeans for a little breather, the charming older waitress came barreling through the kitchen doors carrying a gorgeous three layer cake. I could actually feel my mouth begin to water as the cake sat elegantly on the cake stand, peering into my soul beneath the glass dome that encased it. It was as though it were a famous portrait in a museum with a warning sign reading “Please look, but don’t touch!” At first glance I assumed that the cake was one of my faves, Italian Cream Cake, but I soon learned that this cake was something greater beyond my imagination. Apparently the “I want that one” expression on my face was obvious because in less than a minute my grandmother had ordered two slices of the stuff. Before digging in I analyzed the glorious masterpiece sitting in front of me. The cake was iced with cream cheese and covered in chopped walnuts and pecans, and with a name like “Hummingbird” I just knew I was in for a real treat. With first bite I fell in love, the cake was super moist with a lovely combination of banana and carrot (gotta love a cake with fruit and vegetables…getting my daily serving). Then came the tropical flavors of sweet and flaky coconut accompanied by the real kicker to this cake, pineapple. Suddenly I felt as though I were on the island of Hawaii, basking in the suns rays and sipping on an ice cold pina colada. Not to mention, chopped pecans and walnuts were nestled in the cakes dense layers, giving it a real crunchy/nutty factor. All this and did I mention the cream cheese icing? Oh my lanta! This cake is out of this world, and lucky for you I have decided to share with you the “bite sized” version of this cake, Hummingbird Cupcakes. Now, because I have a sister with food allergies and I want her to be able to enjoy the cupcakes too, I have included a gluten-free option within the recipe that uses almond flour. However, normally I would use cake flour or all-purpose flour with this recipe. However, surprisingly the cake tastes the same all together. Absolutely delicious! I can hear the hummingbird’s humming their sweet tunes with each mouthful of this stuff.

Hummingbird Cupcakes with Honey-Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 c. cake flour or all-purpose flour (use almond flour for the gluten intolerant)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. almond oil (you can also use vegetable oil)
2 eggs
2 medium-sized mashed bananas
1/2 c. shredded coconut
1/2 c. shredded carrot
1/2 c. canned pineapple, with juice
1/4 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. chopped walnuts

For the Honey-Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing:
8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
3 Tbs. honey or agave nectar
2 tsp. Mexican vanilla

Directions:

For the cupcakes:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
3. Using an electric mixer, combine the sugar and oil.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the sugar/oil mixture.
5. Add the bananas, coconut, carrot, and pineapple to the mixer and combine until fully incorporated.
6. Transfer the wet ingredients in the mixer to the flour mixture, folding the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a spatula.
7. Fold the pecans and walnuts into the mixture.
8. Pour the cupcake batter into a muffin pan lined with individual cupcake liners, the recipe makes 12 cupcakes exactly.
9. Bake the cupcakes for 18-25 minutes or until risen and slightly golden brown.
10. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

For the Honey-Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing:
1. Using an electric mixer, beat all of the ingredients together on high speed until fully combined.
2. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, core the center of the cupcakes using a cupcake corer (you don’t have to do this step, you can just simply ice the cupcakes on the top…but I like to fill them with icing on the inside and continue to cover the top of the cupcake with icing as well).
3. Fill the cupcakes with icing using a piping bag (or you can fill a plastic sandwich bag with the icing and cut off a tip of the bag to distribute the icing).
4. Finish icing the tops of the cupcakes, sprinkle the cupcakes with chopped pecans, walnuts, and coconut.

I would serve these cupcakes with some hot tea, coffee, or a nice big glass of cold milk! FYI: You can find a cupcake corer at Williams-Sonoma for around $5.

MANGIA!!!

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