Friday, April 20, 2007
A week ago, I had some bananas that were well beyond overripe. I didn't get around to using them for anything until yesterday. The sad banana peels had become almost leathery, but they were so intensely ripe that I figured they'd make for good flavor in a cake or bread.
I'm not sure what drew me to Elinor Klivans's Fearless Baking, but flipping the pages of that book turned up a recipe for Hummingbird Cake, which I'd never made before. This cake is a banana-flavored confection with pineapple and pecans, slathered with a cream-cheese icing. Bananas are tropical, so I figured Hummingbird Cake would be good for Lost Lunch Thursday.
I've just done a little online research to try to find out a little more about how Hummingbird Cake got its name. Unfortunately, that is going to remain a mystery because there's nothing definitive as to how that name got stuck to this cake. It is regarded as a Southern treat.
One big difference between the recipes I read online and the one I used is that Elinor's recipe uses butter rather than cooking oil as the fat. All in all, I like using butter rather than oil when I can. The cake layers turned out great, but when I was transferring them to the cake dome, I perceived that they were pretty heavy -- so much so that I was enormously, pleasantly surprised to discover how light the cake tasted. Once again, I've unearthed a recipe from a veteran cookbook and am left wondering why I haven't made this cake before. All I can think is this: so many recipes, so little time.