The Comfort of a Hummingbird Cake

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Triple-layer Hummingbird Cake, Cream Cheese Filling, and an Ombre Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

Hummingbird Cupcakes with double swirls of Cream Cheese Buttercream


This is still one of my very favorite cakes: Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream.  Yes, it does seem more like a Fall/Winter cake, but the pineapple, banana, and cinnamon flavor profile is as delicious in the heat of the June as it is in the crisp of November.

Perhaps it has something to do with a taste and texture that feels like comfort food.  Those foods that return us to a season of life or even a meal that once finished left a feeling of “all is right with the world in this moment.”

Growing up in the vast swath that constituted the middle class of the Midwest, comfort food still looks like a plate filled with a hotdog/bun/mustard and a pyramid of tater tots.  A serving of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese next to fried bologna on pillow-soft sandwich slices of Wonder Bread says “Saturday afternoon lunch” to me.  These comfort foods are almost always welcome, especially when needing a smooth, culinary landing pad.

A Hummingbird Cake is the cake that, for me, signals a special event or holiday.  It marks the time between celebrations like the pencil-ticks near the door frame measures who’s getting taller than an older sibling.  It’s a solid reminder of what’s important and this simple cake has been woven into the dialogue of family.

How this cake came together.

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I love a good crumb coat – it keeps the crumbs in and serves as a terrific jumping off place for decorating.  It’s the blank canvas.


Before tinting the cream cheese buttercream, I kept some white back as the top of the ombre to ensure enough remained to finish what I had in mind.


I separated out several sections of buttercream and tinted them from light to dark green.  Not much is needed of each color – maybe 1/2 cup?

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To blend, I heat the off-set spatula in hot water than lightly run it over the surface of the cake.  The heat melts the buttercream into a smooth finish and helps blend the colors.

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These pink blooms are AMAZING.  The HLC Fiesta Dinnerware Vase is just the right piece to showcase the ruffled edge tulips.  The reproduction milk glass cake stand is a favorite.

I try to save a small bit of batter to make a few cupcakes that coordinate with a cake – just to see how they look together.

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And how about a slice of cake?  Maybe a slice of cake that takes a person back or perhaps creates a new history of “this is good right here.”

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Each bite that is cutaway with a fork lands on a pecan or a small chunk of pineapple.  Part of the joy – sweet and savory, crunchy or creamy… all the mystery served on a dessert plate; a shared experience with friends and family.

It’s a great day when I wake up sober.  It’s even more great when my life partner and I spend time together.  The fun is punctuated with a text from one of our people.

Food for thought: What is the food in your life that brings people together?


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1 Response

  1. Shelby Vaught says:

    GORGEOUS! !#

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