Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For this week’s Farm Kitchen/Icing on the Cake Intermediate Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, Andy was my sous-chef on All Things Cake. I mean, come on, this badge is about making (and thusly eating) cake. It’s not about making your bed, or writing a paper.
Andy was all over this badge.
In fact, the wild look in his baby blues kinda scared me, not gonna lie. I swear, at the mention of cake, his pupils started twirling and swirling, his eyes bugged out like a cartoon character, and he began bouncing up and down and climbing the walls. He needed a reality check (and maybe some fresh veggies or something).
“So,” I said, casually, “I was thinking Carrot Cake.”
The bouncing stopped and his pupils quit swirling. He stared at me, suspiciously. “Like, with carrots? A cake with carrots? I knew there was a catch to this badge!” He flopped dramatically on the floor.
“It’s delicious! But my other idea if you don’t like that one, is Hummingbird Cake.”
He rolled over with a grunt. “You’re sick, Aunty.”
“Not with real hummingbirds, Einstein!” I debated on whether now was a good time to let him know my dog-eared copy of To Kill A Mockingbird was not what it sounded like, either. At this point, he likely thought it was a cookbook.
“Hummingbird Cake is an old recipe …”
“Made with endangered fowl?”
“Hush, cretin. No, it’s made with yummy goodness like chopped bananas and chunks of pineapple, and covered in cream-cheese frosting.” I wiggled my eyebrows.
He flopped back over. “Idonkikecweemzeesh.”
Flopped back once again to glare at me. “I don’t like cream cheese.”
“Yes, you do, don’t be ridiculous. Cream cheese is a gift from the angels. Now, get up off the floor and wash your hands. Chop, chop!”
We got to work. And at the end of the afternoon, we had earned a badge and a newfound addiction to cream-cheese frosting. Also, my eyes might be swirling around like a cartoon character after the third piece, but I have not climbed any walls. Yet.
Hummingbird Cake (no hummingbirds were harmed in the making of this cake)
(recipe from Southern Living, 1978)
Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Karin Olsen
3 cups organic flour
2 cups organic sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil or coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups chopped bananas
1 cup chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, bananas, and 1 cup chopped toasted pecans. Spoon batter into 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually add sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in vanilla. Beat 1 to 2 minutes or until fluffy. Give beaters to small child to teach them that they do, indeed, love cream cheese.
Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup Cream Cheese Frosting over cake layer. Top with second layer, and spread 1 cup frosting over cake layer. Top with third cake layer, and spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Decorate with toasted pecan halves, if desired.