Young Cultivators Merit Badge: Icing on the Cake, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,200 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,226 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

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.

  1. Nielsen,Winifred T. says:

    Hummingbird cake is one of my all time favorites. I used to work with a colleague who made this cake for every pot luck event we had. She knew she better show up with it or there would be a riot among all of us devotees!!!

  2. Karlyne says:

    I’m so glad that no hummingbirds were harmed. Or, for that matter, mockingbirds…

  3. Krista says:

    I would love to try this cake out. It sounds delicious with the pineapple and bananas! I would like to try with almonds instead of pecans though.

  4. Bonita Bosch says:

    I have to make this it looks great!

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