|Hummingbird muffins with cream cheese glaze. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
There's a lot of buzz over the name Hummingbird Cake, a classic Southern layer cake made with bananas, pineapple, pecans and cinnamon, frosted with cream cheese icing. For many years, it was the most requested recipe at Southern Living magazine, but their website doesn't offer an explanation for the whimsical name. I did find two plausible possibilities - the cake is so good that folks gather round the cake like hummingbirds to nectar. Or, my favorite, banana and pineapple are native to Jamaica and its national bird is the hummingbird.
Either way, it's a delicious cake and well worth the effort if you're looking for a showstopper cake for the holiday table. Here's the link to Southern Living's original recipe.
I decided to take the small view and make hummingbird muffins - moist banana muffins with chopped pecans and chopped dried pineapple. Can't forget the frosting, in this case, a sweet cream cheese glaze. Give this a try and tell all partakers that no actual hummingbirds were harmed to bake these muffins.
Hummingbird Muffins with Cream Cheese Glaze
Yield 1 dozen muffins
1 cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cup (3 medium) bananas
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup pecans, finely chopped
¼ cup dried pineapple, finely chopped
Cream cheese glaze
1. Heat oven to 375. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat sugar, oil and eggs until light colored and foamy. Add mashed banana and beat well, batter will have a few lumps.
2. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add pecans and dried pineapple. Stir dry mixture into wet mixture and mix until just combined, less than 12 strokes needed.
3. Use baking spray or liners (or both) in a muffin pan and fill each cup just to the top. Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes. Muffins are done when the tops spring back after gently pressed, or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Glaze with cream cheese glaze. Store leftover muffins in refrigerator, bringing to room temperature before serving.
Cream cheese glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temp
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
1. Using a whisk or an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese until it is soft and smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar, whisking until it is free of lumps. Add vanilla, then milk, until the glaze is the proper consistency.
2. Glaze hummingbird muffins. Store leftover muffins in fridge, bring to room temperature before serving.
Text and images copyright 2012, Lucy Mercer.