So I recently had surgery on both my feet in order to straighten out my bunions (mmm a 24 year old with bunions, sexaaay). They now look super flash and I am about as stoked with them as a woman with a new set of boobs. The only problem is that they are sore and swollen AF and I have to waddle around in two moon sandals. I can’t walk very far and need to be careful so the three screws in each foot don’t loosen whilst they heal. Whilst I was stuck working from home for the first couple of weeks I started suffering from cabin fever. I stayed with Dylan for a wee bit but it still meant I was alone for around 12 hours per day. To prevent myself from going stir crazy I found myself one day making this delicious cake which was a more difficult feat (or should I say feet ha) than usual with all the hobbling around on my heels.
Dylan came home to this three layer tower that we didn’t know what to do with. It ended up being dropped off into his office where everyone could enjoy it the next day. I have to say it must be weird having someone’s girlfriend just send in towers of cake and treats just because she was bored at home. The benefit for me was that I didn’t have to eat a whole cake which I clearly am unable to run off currently whilst I got something new to blog about and fill in even more time. Woo!
So this cake I have sort of made before bout a year and a half ago. I fell in love with the salted caramel cream cheese icing on the rhubarb cake a few weeks back and thought it would go mighty well with a hummingbird. I also felt the cake itself needed a little more pizzazz so I upped the spices, added some coconut and threw in some raisins to plump it up. The reviews were raving and I think we are onto a winner here. Oh and I sandwiched the layers with salted caramel. How could people not be a fan?
I made this in three 15cm tins. There was a little too much batter so I made two large muffins as well so the cakes didn't spill over the edge. I tried a second time to bake three layers but reduced the mixture by a quarter. It worked well but the layers were thinner and the tower not as towering. My advise it to stick with the full amount for the wow factor and just fill your tins to 3/5 full and putting excess into muffin pans. Three fifths for my tins worked out at 550g each tin.
Salted Caramel Hummingbird Cake
Makes 3x15cm layers (plus two muffins)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (I usually use sunflower)
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup thread coconut
½ cup raisins or sultanas (optional)
4 medium sized ripe bananas, mashed
420g tin crushed pineapple, juice drained
1 cup walnuts (optional)
Cream cheese salted caramel icing:
200g cream cheese, room temp
1 cup salted caramel (recipe below)
1 ½ cups white sugar
½ cup water
Around 1 teaspoon of sea salt flakes (adjust to taste)
Toasted thread coconut
Freeze dried raspberries
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius and line and grease three 15cm cake tins. You can use 20cms if you want but the cooking time and the final height of the cake will be slightly different so keep an eye on it while it's cooking.
Beat together the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla until smooth and pale. Mix in the mashed banana and drained crushed pineapple. In a separate large bowl sieve together the plain flour, wholemeal flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg (tip the wholemeal bits that get stuck in the sieve back into the bowl) then mix together with the raisins, coconut and walnuts. Make a well in the centre of the dry mix then pour in the wet mix. Stir to combine.
Divide the batter between the pans, about 550g per 15cm pan. You may have a wee bit of left over batter, you can pop these in some muffin cases to make a mini cake to eat while you wait! Bake the cakes for 35 to 40 minutes until a skewer just comes out clean, you still want the cake to make sizzling sounds when you remove it.
Leave the cakes to cool fully in the tins before assembling the stack.
While the cakes cool you can make the caramel. Heat the sugar and water in a large saucepan on a high heat. Leave it to bubble and boil away without stirring until it all turns a dark amber colour. During this time heat the cream until hot in the microwave. At the point of amber, remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the cream in in about three lots, stirring well in between each addition. The caramel will bubble and boil up but that is why you add the cream bit at a time or else it would overflow. You can return the pan to the heat for a minute or so to darken the colour or help dissolve any chunks of sugar. Once the caramel has cooled for ten minutes you can start adding the salt to taste. You want a reasonable strong salty taste in order to help make the icing more robust in flavour. Leave to cool in the fridge.
Once everything is nice and cool you can assemble the cakes. Remove them from their tins and make sure they are level with a serrated knife.
Beat together the cream cheese and a cup of salted caramel (more if you fancy) until smooth, pale and fluffy. Sometimes you get lumps in it so just wait it out and keep beating until they disappear.
Place one cake down, smother a good dollop or three of icing and spread it to the edges. Make it thicker on the outer edge than the centre because you want to then place a dollop of caramel in the centre of the icing. Place cake two on top and repeat. Place the final cake and swirl it around until you like the look of it. Decorate the edges with toasted thread coconut, salted caramel, almond slices, petals and a sprinkling of freeze dried raspberries (I just really like their colour!). Store in the fridge if not eating immediately but don’t keep it there uncovered for more than a couple of hours.