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The Cake to Heal A Broken Heart... Hummingbird Cake! (REDUCED FAT & 366 Calories)

Posted Dec 23 2010 7:56pm

I believe this cake has special properties to heal a broken heart!  Trust me, just make this cake when you are feeling a little down, or make it for a friend who is a little down, and watch how this cake quickly transforms the sad individual into a much happier one.  In addition to just healing a broken heart, with Christmas just around the corner, I thought it was only appropriate to post a delicious, crowd-pleasing, and reduced fat recipe of Hummingbird Cake.  I'm sure a lot of you must be wondering what in the world is Hummingbird Cake?  Well, it is a southern dessert made with bananas, pineapple, and pecans, and I first learned about this cake at some random NYC bakeries.  Now don't confuse Hummingbird Cake with Banana Cake, in my opinion, Hummingbird is a LOT moister, and a LOT more delicious!  

I did some research on the history of Hummingbird Cake, in particular, how this cake obtained its name.  One theory is that while eating this cake, it makes you wanna hum in delight, so hummmmmmm-ingbird, no seriously, it's true.  When my family took a bite of this cake, everyone was like, "hmmmmm," and then I said, "innnnngbird."  LOL!  Everyone else laughed, too!  I know I'm silly!  I then proceeded to tell them how this cake obtained its name, and of course, no one believed me, but it's true people! 

I found this wonderful recipe on myRecipes featured in Southern Living Magazine - I believe the southerners would know best on how to make divine Hummingbird Cake.  I loved that this recipe used oil, and not butter.  I am not a fan of buttered cakes since they tend to be more dense, and baking with oil usually results in a moister and lighter cake.  While glancing over this recipe, I also believed I could lower the fat and did just that, very very successfully might I add.  For these reasons, I believe you should consider making this cake if you have extremely ripe bananas (or consider using banana baby food) on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or for someone who needs a little pick-me-up, I PROMISE you this recipe will NOT fail! 

TELL ME: How are you spending the holidays?  What desserts are on the menu?

NUTRITION: Bananas are a very good source of Vitamin B6. They are also a good source of Vitamin C and Fiber.  Pineapple is an excellent source of Vitamin C.  Pecans contain natural antioxidants and are heart-healthy nuts known to lower cholesterol.  Whole Wheat Flour adds fiber and protein to this cake.

  • The original recipe calls for a 3-layer cake, I used 2/3's of the recipe and made a 2-layer cake instead.
  • Modifying the cake to use 2/3's of the recipe called for 2 cups of all purpose flour.  Instead of using 2 cups of all purpose flour, I used 1 cup of white flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour.  This adds fiber to the cake and you can't tell the difference. 
  • Modifying the cake to use 2/3's of the recipe called for 2/3 cup of Vegetable Oil.  I lowered this further and used 1/2 cup of oil in the entire 2-layer cake.  I saved almost 3 tablespoons of oil or 42 grams of fat - HUGE!  In addition, I used Canola Oil which saved me saturated fat.  Next time, I could reduce the oil to about 1/3 cup.
  • Since I reduced the oil, I increased the pineapple content and used the entire 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple.
  • I used organic (unbleached) sugar for this recipe - worked like a charm, you seriously can't tell the difference.  You can use regular sugar as well.
  • For the frosting, instead of using regular cream cheese, I used Neufchatel Cream Cheese which is 1/3 less in fat than regular cream cheese.  Again, worked like a charm.
  • For the frosting, I used organic confectioners sugar, but you can use regular.  In addition, I didn't use 4 cups of confectioners sugar, I only used 2 cups.
  • The original frosting recipe calls for 1 stick (or 8 tbsp) of butter, I used half a stick (or 4 tbsp) which is still quite a bit, but I saved 44 grams of fat here and 28 grams of saturated fat.  I used my own Reduced Fat Cream Cheese recipe anyway.
  • I topped the cake with 1/4 cup of chopped pecans instead of 1/2 cup.  You really don't need so many pecans on top since we are already using 2/3 cup of pecans in the cake.   

I'm a little modest about my cake slices, I don't believe in eating huge slices of cake in each sitting.  I believe cutting the cake into 16 slices is a good amount, however you can take this even further and cut the cake into 20 slices which will lower the nutrition content even further.
  • Calories: 366 cals
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.8 g
  • Carbs: 58 g
  • Protein: 3.7 g
  • Fiber: 1.3 g

HUMMINGBIRD CAKE (REDUCED FAT) (adapted from myRecipes-Southern Living Magazine )
~ yields 16 slices @ 350 degrees using 2 round 9-inch baking trays
~ fat reduced by 15%; saturated fat reduced by 42%; calories reduced by 23% (these values are based on both the cake and frosting)

INGREDIENTS (recipe is based on 2/3 of the original and then modified):
  • All Purpose Flour - 1 cup
  • Whole Wheat Flour - 1 cup
  • Baking Soda - 2/3 tsp
  • Salt - 2/3 tsp
  • Sugar - 1 1/3 cups
  • Ground Cinnamon - 2/3 tsp
  • Eggs - 2 large 
  • Canola Oil - 1/2 cup
  • Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
  • Dole Crushed Pineapple , undrained - One 8 oz. can
  • Chopped Pecans - 2/3 cup
  • Bananas, extremely ripe - 1 1/3 cups (mashed/chopped - I mashed 4 medium size bananas)
  • Chopped Pecans - 1/4 cup (for top of the cake)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease 2 round 9-inch pans with butter/oil/cooking spray.

3. In a mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients... all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and ground cinnamon.  Combine. 

4. Add eggs and oil.  

5. Combine until well incorporated - do the best you can.  

6. Add the mashed bananas and crushed pineapple (with juice).  Combine.

7. Add chopped pecans.  Combine.

8. Pour batter into 2 9-inch round pans. 

9. Place both baking trays in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  I baked mine for 30 minutes.  

10. After 30 minutes, this is what you should have.  Allow this to completely cool before you frost. 

~ yields enough frosting for a 2-layer cake (may have some leftover) 
  • Neufchatel Cream Cheese - One 8 ounce bar (softened)
  • Unsalted Butter - 1/4 cup (or 4 tbsp)
  • Confectioners Sugar - 2 cups
  • Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
1. Combine cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.

2. Blend on high speed with an electric mixer and this is what you should have.

3. Add confectioners sugar, 1 cup at a time.  I started with 1 cup and went up to 2 cups.  You may need more or less depending on your taste.  Combine. 

FROSTING A CAKE - I learned by watching my favorite chef, Ina Garten :-)
1. Invert the first cake so the flat layer is facing up.  Place cake on a serving plate.  Place paper towels underneath the cake - just around the surface, this will prevent the serving plate from getting messy.  

2. Add frosting generously and spread.

3. Place the second cake over the frosting - make sure the ROUNDED portion is facing up.  Ina says this gives the cake a more old-fashioned look!

4. Frost the top of the cake generously and spread.

5. Now spread frosting on the sides - generously.

6. This is what you should have.

7. Gently pull the paper towel away from the cake.

8. See, no mess!

9. Top with pecans!  Yeah, I'm no expert, but a messy cake yields a yummy cake!  :-)

The frosting was unbelievably good, you really don't need crazy amounts of butter and regular cream cheese for this frosting.  In addition, I think 2 cups of confectioners sugar was more than enough, you can increase this to another 1/2 to 1 cup, if need be.

I have to say this was probably the best cake I have ever made in my life, it makes me want to go back and lower all the other cakes I've rated a 4 or 5.  Seriously, this cake has everything - flavor, texture, tons of moisture, not a tremendous amount of guilt.  It is just fabulous! 
Texture: The texture of this cake was light and spongy and super moist!  Just look at it.... you know what you are getting.
Moistness: The level of moistness is a 10, with a good amount of banana, pineapple and oil, this cake delivers so much moistness in every bite without it being too greasy.

TELL ME: How are you spending the holidays?  What desserts are on the menu?

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