Looking to wow your Thanksgiving crowd with something other than the standard pumpkin pie? Present them with this southern cooking classic, a Hummingbird Cake! It’s probably my favorite thing — ever. Really. Of Jamaican origins, it’s a banana-pineapple spice cake — that’s its very broad definition — but this recipe ups the ante, with not just any banana, but BLACKENED bananas (yes, that’s a thing!), as well as grated sweet potatoes (giving it a carrot cake vibe), peanuts, and black currants, topped, of course, by a classic cream cheese frosting and more peanuts! It’s really the best!
4 ½ c. flour
1 ½ t. baking soda
1 ½ t. kosher salt
2 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
2 c. vegetable oil
1 28-oz. can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 T. vanilla extract
1 c. dried black currants
2 c. roasted, unsalted peanuts
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
32 T. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 ¾ c. powdered sugar
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
Make the Cake!
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Place the unpeeled bananas whole onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the bananas until they are softened and turn black, about 20 minutes. After they’ve cooled, remove the peels, and place the bananas into a food processor. Purée, and set aside two cups full.
3. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees. Spray three 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cinnamon.
5. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and banana purée. Fold in the pineapple, vanilla, currants, and peanuts. Now mix in the grated sweet potatoes.
6. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir well. Divide the cake batter equally between the three pans and bake until the cakes are firm and light golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let the cakes cool for about 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.
7. Make the frosting: With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and mix on low speed, and then add the sugar, salt, and vanilla until combined well.
8. Place the bottom cake layer onto a cake stand. Spread a layer of frosting. Add the middle layer of cake, and repeat with another layer of frosting. Set the top layer in place, and use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake.
9. Press roasted peanuts onto the side for garnish (or instead, you can place some between each layer).
10. Serve at room temperature. Mmmm!