Hey…ya’ll! Did I ever tell you that I could really see myself living in the South? Cold, dreary winters? None of that. People who smile and say “hello”, for no reason? Everywhere. People who call you “ma’am”, just to be respectful? All around. And, the likelihood of finding a house with a nice wrap-around porch, just begging to be sat on with a rocking chair? Very high. All in all, while I LOVE the seasons of the northeast, and occasionally thrive on the hustle and bustle up here, I would definitely consider a move to the South one day.
Another reason I love the South? Hummingbird Cake. For those of you who don’t know, Hummingbird Cake is very similar to a carrot cake in that it has kind of a spicy base, and it is filled with produce and nuts. But, in a Hummingbird Cake, instead of carrots, there are bananas, pecans, and pineapple! Oh, and it’s all topped with cream cheese frosting! Yes, please! For this bread, I’ve decided to take all of those wonderful flavors and use them to make a bread you could eat for breakfast (or dessert, because let’s be serious here…)
Now, you know I can’t help myself. Upon starting to think about this wonderful dessert, I wondered how in the world it got it’s name. Well, as legend has it, the origins of Hummingbird Cake can be traced back a Jamaican variety of the hummingbird. It was said that the cake was so sweet, it would easily attract this kind of bird to it, right away. Plus, the banana in the cake resembled the yellow streak found on the hummingbird’s beak. It became a southern classic when a (freaking wonderful genius) woman named Mrs. Wiggin submitted the recipe to Southern Living in the 1970s. At that point, a classic was born. A classic, that we will now turn into bread. Let’s get started!
In order to incorporate the banana component into the bread, we’ll be using a slightly spicier twist on my favorite banana bread recipe, as a base. With four whole bananas, this recipe is so rich in flavor and moisture. What’s even better about it, is that it’s flavor only gets better with time! We’ll start by tossing together our dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
Then, in a stand mixer, we’ll cream together our butter and sugar. We’re using brown sugar here, which definitely adds to the flavor of the bread.
Now, add in your eggs, one at a time. With the last egg, throw in that vanilla as well. Once all of those are incorporated, you can add your mashed bananas and yogurt.
Go ahead and add your dry ingredients to the wet, in batches. Do this on a slow speed setting so as not to overwork the flour, and to ensure that all of the flour stays in the bowl (and not all over your clean shirt…oops).
Last but not least, add in your pineapple and pecans, and mix by hand. You’ll want to make sure that your pineapple is not swimming in liquid here. If you’re using fresh pineapple, you should be good to go, and if you’re using canned pineapple, it should be drained well.
Here’s where this bread gets a bit interesting…remember we still need to incorporate the cream cheese! While your bread batter is hanging out for a minute, mix together what will become your bread’s “filling”. Cream together the cream cheese, sugar, and egg, until it’s smooth. Because of the egg making it pretty thin, the cream cheese will actually end up baking into the bread, leaving you with the cream cheese taste and a creamy texture, without feeling like you’re eating a brick of cheesecake in the middle. (BUT, if you want to have a cheesecake-like layer, just leave out the egg from the cream cheese mixture!)
To assemble, line a loan tin with parchment paper, and pour two-thirds of your batter into it. Smooth this out with a spatula. Then, pour the cream cheese mixture over this, and smooth that out as well.
Top it off with the rest of the bread batter and pop it into an oven, set to 350 degrees. Bake for about 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you find that the bread is browning too quickly, loosely cover it with a piece of tinfoil.
Once you have taken your bread out of the oven, let it cool in it’s tin for at least 20 minutes, and turned it out on to a cooling rack…you’ll have the best darn bread around!
This loaf has definitely become one of my favorites. Not only does it have that classic banana bread flavor, but it has that added sweetness from the pineapple and crunch from those pecans. OH, AND THAT FILLING. The middle portion of the bread is super creamy and has a bit of extra sweetness from that cream cheese. So, if you’re looking for a little southern hospitality, but can’t hop on a plane at the moment, whip up a loaf of this. It’ll do the trick, I promise.
Next week, guys, we’re standing up to the MAN. The peanut-selling man, that is. Curious? Well, I can’t give too much away…he might find out. Until then, stay tuned and stay hungry!
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 4 overripe bananas, mashed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 3/4 cup pineapple, diced
- 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 egg
- Cream together cream cheese, egg, and sugar with a hand mixer, and set aside.*
- To Make Bread
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Cream together butter and sugar, on a medium speed.
- Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla with the last egg.
- Mix in bananas and yogurt.
- In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice.
- Mix dry ingredients into wet, in stages.
- Fold in pineapple and pecans .
- Spread two-thirds of batter into the prepared loaf tin.
- Pour cream cheese mixture over banana bread layer, and spread evenly.
- Use the rest of the banana bread batter to top the cream cheese.
- Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes.
- * To make a filling that will resemble a cheesecake layer in the bread, leave out the egg.