Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Amazing Banana and Pineapple Cake

 One of my favourite Christmas presents this year was the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, given to me by my friend Laura of Cakecuccino fame, who was probably sick of me borrowing hers every time I wanted to bake.  I borrowed it with good reason - while I've sadly never been to the Hummingbird Bakery itself, which is in London, everything me or Laura have made from their cookbook has turned out pretty good.  This cake was no exception, it may look daunting and expensive because of its many ingredients, but most of them are things you'll already have in the house if you've ever baked recently.  The only things I had to buy were cream cheese for the frosting and a tin of pinapple, which combined cost me just over a pound.  Perfect for students!

 One negative point about the Hummingbird Bakery is that basically all of its recipes call for an electric mixer.  I caved to the pressure and actually bought one (for £4 from Argos...), but for the sake of experimentation I decided to mix the cake mix with the electric mixer, and the frosting by the almost non-existant strength of my own arm.  Here's what you need for the cake:
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 300ml sunflower oil
  • 270g peeled, mashed bananas (I only had 2 bananas which was about 180g but it was fine)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (which I forgot to use)
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100g tinned pineapple, chopped into little pieces
  • 100g walnuts or pecan nuts (again, I had a lot less than 100g but the cake still tasted good, so if you want to save money you can skip adding nuts)
For the frosting:
  • 600g icing sugar
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature (I never remember to take the butter out of the fridge beforehand, you could try microwaving it for a few seconds)
1. Firstly chop up the nuts and pineapple and mash the banana.  I chopped the pinapple really finely so my boyfriend Tetley didn't realise he was eating fruit, but larger chunks would work too.  Switch on the oven to 170 degrees.

2. Next, put the sugar, eggs, oil, banana and cinnamon in a bowl and mix with your fancy £4 mixer or with a wooden spoon.  Try not to think about how much oil you will be consuming when you eat the cake.

 3. Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda and vanilla extract in a bowl or container and add bit by bit until everything is mixed together.  Then stir in the pineapple and nuts, do this part by hand if you're using an electric mixer.

4. Line two cake tins with baking paper and pour half of the mixture into each.  I actually only have one cake tin so I had to do this part in two halves.  Hummingbird suggests you split it between three cake tins, if you have three cake tins then feel free to do this if you like.

5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  Both my cakes took about half an hour, you can tell they're ready if you touch them and the cake bounces back.  Leave to cool.

6. Make the frosting.  Beat the icing sugar and butter together until well mixed then mix in the cream cheese.  I didn't read the recipe properly at this point and added everything in one go but it was fine.

7. Put the bottom half of the cake on a plate and cover the top and sides with frosting.  Then put the top half on and do the same.  A knife is probably best for spreading the frosting on.  Then decorate the top - I used pecan nuts and cinnamon, but if you're not using nuts, pinapple rings or slices of banana might look nice.

 Here is the finished cake - it looked better in real life than my questionable photography skills can achieve...

Here is a view of the inside. I would conclude from my mixing experiment that an electric mixer isn't neccessary, but to mix by hand you may need either a stronger arm than me or a couple of friends/flatmates/family members to take turns with you.  As you may have gathered from the amount of mistakes I made while making the cake, I'm not the best baker in the world, but hopefully this proves that you don't need to follow a recipe exactly to make something that tastes good!


  1. It looks yummy! Was it for movie night?
    We never had the electric mixer in Roseangle so I am a firm believer that you don't need one, but it's always nice to use when your arm is dead!

  2. It was, though I'm thinking I should have saved it till everyone gets back as it's so big! I think your mixer is better than mine, mine makes a terrifying noise when I use it :(