Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hummingbird Cupcakes - Full of delicious fruits and hearty with whole wheat

Did I already mention I love Bananas? And my all-time favourite cake is the Carrot Cream Cheese Cake from Cedele. Every time I think of the cake, I feel like having 1 huge slice immediately. Carrot cakes don't always taste strongly of carrots. What I love about carrot cakes is generally the crumbly, slightly coarse texture that provides bite, an earthy flavor that goes so well with a tangy sweet cream cheese frosting. Ooh and the generous doses of walnuts! So good.

Then I came across the Hummingbird. It's like my 2 loves in 1. It has the crumb structure of a carrot cake, the ooh la la sweet fragrance of ripened bananas and as an additional bonus - the juiciness of crushed pineapples. Made these 4x so far and it has always received good reviews from my kind audience. I've adjusted the recipes from the original in a few ways and also tweaked it in my first 3 attempts, finally arriving at a recipe that has a crumble that gives bite but wouldn't totally collapsed upon cutting, is not too sweet from being sugar-laden and has defined tastes of both bananas and pineapples.

I forgot to also add that it's very easy to make. ITS A CAKE EVERYONE SHOULD TRY TO MAKE! =)

2 cups cake flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup castor sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3.5 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh crushed pineapple
2 cups mashed roasted banana
1 cup roasted walnut pieces

1. Prepare the bananas and pineapples ahead of baking. Roast 6 mid-large ripe bananas at 200C for 8 minutes, flip and roast another 5 minutes. The skin will turn black, the banana will be mushy and your house will smell wonderful. Mash and keep 1 side. Peel and cut a ripe pineapple, chop 1 cup of pineapple into fine pieces and keep both the fruit and juices. Roast the walnuts at 200C for 5 minutes, be careful not to burn them.
Let the bananas and walnuts cool to room temperature.
2. Sift the flours together and add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, soda and salt to it. Mix well.
3. In another bowl, mix the sugars together and add the eggs. Whisk well. Add the oil and vanilla, whisk to emulsify.
4. Add the flours into the sugar/egg mixture and stir lightly to just combine. Do not use electric mixers.
5. Stir in the pineapples, then bananas and walnuts.
6. Pour into 26 cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes or 2 8-inch lined round pans for 30 minutes at 170C.
Note: Cakes will dome slightly so use less batter if cupcakes are not meant to be too high or use more to make into muffin style cakelets. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
I used a mixture of cream cheese and swiss meringue buttercream, added a good dose of lemon and vanilla bean paste, mixed well and piped a round dollop then added a dried pineapple flower piece on top. Or, just stick a whole walnut piece atop for simplicity sake.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMB) from Sweetapolita.
5 egg whites + 250g fine grained sugar- in a clean mixer bowl over simmering water, whisk constantly until sugar has melted. Using the electric whisk, beat at high speed until mixture is thick, glossy and the bowl has cooled to room temperature. Switch to paddler attachment.
Add 340g unsalted butter (cubed and softened) gradually at low speed until buttercream is silky soft.
Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (or up to half a lemon), 2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste and a pinch of sea salt. Mix well to combine.

Weigh the above amount of SMB and measure out cream cheese equivalent to 80% weight of the SMB. IE: if the SMB weights 500g, the amount of cream cheese should be 400g. Beat slightly softened cream cheese (removed from fridge for about 3 to 5 minutes only) until light and fluffy, then add the SMB and mix well to incorporate.

Note: The above SMB will yield much more than the amount needed for this batch of cupcakes but I generally make this amount and take the amount needed, then freeze the rest. It can keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

For pineapple flowers, refer to this site for step-by-step instructions.

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