My friend Jonna got me this fun cookbook called "sugar, sugar" where every recipe has a story.
They are all old fashioned recipes - things your grandma would make to take to a church picnic or fix when company was coming.
I haven't made many things from it yet, but there is one cake I've made twice - and will likely keep making given the response I've received from it.
It's called Hummingbird Cake. Nobody seems to know how it came to be called that, but the Joy of Baking online speculates, "it does seem plausible that it may have something to do with how sugary rich this cake is - just like the nectar that Hummingbirds love to feed on."
Sugary rich is the best way to describe it. It's too much for me to have more than a bite, but it has received rave reviews from others who have eaten one or more large slices. My friend Linda all but cussed me out at church once after I gave her family half of the cake, of which she swears she ate most of and accused me of ruining her diet. haha! On top of that, I just recently had a total stranger at a BB-Q tell me it was the best cake he's ever had!
This is what's left after the BB-Q. It makes one three-layer cake. It's quite the looker (though not quite so much anymore after being hacked into at a BB-Q)!
CAKE (ingredients only slightly altered to reflect Bakerella's recipe)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, liquid included
2 cups chopped ripe bananas
2 cups pecans, chopped and toasted (I omit these because I don't like nuts in sweet things.)
16 oz cream cheese
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
32 oz. confectioner's sugar
To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour 3 9-inch cake pans.
If using nuts: Prepare toasted pecans. Chop pecans in small pieces and place on a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes and keeping your eye on them so they don't burn. Set aside and let cool.
Whisk together flour, soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Place the sugar and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for about 1 minute, until blended.
Add eggs, one at a time, on low speed, blending well before the next egg.
Add the vanilla and blend.
Add the flour mixture one half at a time, mixing on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.
Add the pineapple, nuts (optional), and the bananas and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined.
Spread batter evenly among cake pans and bake for 22-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove and let cool.
For the frosting: In a mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add confectioner's sugar. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl often.
To assemble: Place first layer rounded-side down and spread frosting on top with an offset spatula. Continue with the remaining two layers and then frost the sides. Store in fridge.