Hummingbird…sounds kind of ethereal and magical, doesn’t it? Okay, I have to admit, it was the name and only the name that first led me to these cupcakes. I know, it’s a bit like judging a book by it’s cover I guess. Which is quite naughty. But who doesn’t want to try something with the word ‘hummingbird’ in its name?
Hummingbird Cupcakes were something that I had been lusting after for quite some time, and I finally followed my heart and tried one from The Cupcake Bakery in Melbourne when I was there late last year. You might wonder, ‘why did it take so long for Carla to try one?’. Sometimes I ask myself that same question (although, in first person, not the third). I guess that sometimes I get my favourite things to bake (and my family has favourite things that they like to eat), and trying new things gets pushed to the side. Like blondies for instance. Oh my goodness, I just need to go ahead and make them!
As I bit into that moist, delicious cupcake, I knew that it would the first time of many that this flavour of combination of banana, pineapple and mixed spice would be tantalising my taste buds. This was something that I had to make at home.
Previous to this recipe that I am going to share to you, I have made Hummingbird Cake, but this was the first time that I have made them in cupcake form. Although I love a big slice of cake, I like them this way the best. I guess I am a cupcake girl at heart. Plus, it’s quite easy to make the cupcake to frosting ratio 1:1! I have also been wanting to make these pretty dried pineapple flowers for a long time, and knew they would be PERFECT on top of these handfuls of cake and cream cheese goodness.
I promise you, there are NO hummingbirds in this cake, but just a magical combination of fruits and spices that take you away to a tropical land.
Cake recipe adapted from Sweet! 260 Little Slices of Heaven by Sally Wise
Dried pineapple flowers recipe adapted from marthastewart.com
For the dried pineapple flowers
1 large pineapple
For the cupcakes
1 1/2 C plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 C sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
160ml oil (light olive or canola)
125g crushed pineapple in natural juice, drained
For the cream cheese frosting
160g Philadelphia Cream Cheese (block, not the spreadable form)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1. Preheat oven to 110 degrees Celsius.
2. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
3. Remove the skin from the outside of the pineapple, and then using a small melon baller, remove the pineapple ‘eyes’.
4. Using a sharp knife, cut the pineapple crosswise into very thin slice (so that the core of the pineapple is in the middle of each slice).
5. Place slices on baking trays and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn pieces over and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until nearly dried out.
6. Transfer slices from the baking trays into a muffin/cupcake tray (to form the shape of the ‘flower’) and continue baking until the ends brown and the majority of the pineapple has dried.
NOTE: Time may vary from oven to oven. Martha Stewart suggests to bake for 30 mins and then flip the slice over and bake for another 25-30 minutes. My dried pineapple flowers took a lot longer than this, so you may need to be patient. I ended up turning the oven up to 130 degrees Celsius to speed up the process a bit, but you must make sure than you keep a close eye on the pineapple so that it does not burn.
7. Remove from the oven and let cool in the muffin/cupcake tray.
8. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days (if they last that long!)
9. Heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
10. Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, mixed spice, sugar and egg in a large bowl.
11. Fold in the banana, lemon zest, oil and pineapple with a metal spoon.
12. Mix well and spoon into cupcake cakes so that they are just over half full.
13. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cupcakes are golden on top and spring back when touched gently in the middle with your fingertips. Cool.
14. Place the cream cheese and vanilla essence in a deep bowl.
15. Using a wooden spoon (do not beat!), mix the cream cheese and vanilla until combined.
16. Gradually add icing sugar to the mixture (be careful not to over-mix) until the correct consistency for piping is achieved.
17. Using a round icing tip, pipe a generous amount of cream cheese frosting onto the top of each cool cupcake.
18. Place a dried pineapple flower on the the cream cheese frosting to serve.
Recipes yields 15-18 small cupcakes
I was so happy with how these little pretties turned out. Don’t you just love it when something that you make turns out exactly how you have envisioned it in your mind?
Please don’t be scared away by the number of steps in this recipe! Some of it may be a little time consuming, but it is not at all tricky. The end result is a delicious cupcake that will be sure to impress your family and friends. Make sure you get one to eat yourself!