I'm normally adverse to pineapple in anything other than a pina colada and a fruit salad. I must be permanently traumatised by the era of tinned pineapple on everything from burgers to pizza; but I retract all those sentiments when faced with a piece of hummingbird cake. Oh glory be there is nothing finer.
This is one of those unassuming cakes, no airs and graces until this version gets its game on – it is topped with an unreasonable amount of pineapple curd, fresh pineapple and lovingly encased in a solid hug of cream cheese frosting. Call people you love and demand their presence to eat this cake. I dare say its dangerous to be left alone with this number for too long.
3 large organic, free-range eggs
200ml grapeseed oil
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
380g plain flour, sifted
1 tbsp baking powder, sifted
300g caster sugar
150g shelled pistachios, lightly toasted, roughly chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
275g fresh pineapple, pulped and reserved with juice
3-4 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbsp pineapple juice
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
¾ cup caster sugar
80g butter, softened
1 1/3 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
500g cream cheese, chopped
Toasted mix nuts
Fresh pineapple pieces
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line 2 x 20cm round high-sided cake tins.
Beat the eggs, grapeseed oil and vanilla in a bowl. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, pistachios and cinnamon. Once combined, stir through the egg mixture and beat until well incorporated. Add the pulped pineapple and juice as well as the mashed bananas and stir to combine.
Divide the batter between the pre prepared cake tins then bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. The cooking time can vary depending on the ripeness of your bananas and pineapple so be patient and keep checking on your cakes after 25-30 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before assembling.
For the pineapple curd, whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth then place the pan over a low heat. Add the butter and pineapple juice and whisk continuously until thickened. Strain through a sieve into a bowl, cover and cool in the fridge until ready to assemble your cakes. Pineapple curd will keep covered in the fridge for 2 weeks.
To make the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese and crème fraiche in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and lump free. Slowly add the icing sugar until well incorporated. You may want to keep tasting, adding the sugar slowly as you don't want the frosting to be mouth cloyingly sweet.
To assemble your cake, place one cake on the bottom of a serving plate or board. Spread with an indecently thick layer of pineapple curd and then a layer of cream cheese frosting. Carefully top with the other cake. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the assembled cake – this is the crumb coat – you just want a thin layer to stop crumbs mixing into your icing when it comes to the last hurrah. Place in the fridge to firm up for about 45 minutes. Finish the final layer of frosting, using swirls of pineapple curd on top if you feel like it. Garnish with optional topping elements and serve.