Dinner Party + RECIPE: Hummingbird Cake

My sweet little Carrot man decided a few days ago (post schnitzel dinner) that we needed to have a dinner party.  And we needed to make that schnitzel!!  Mr.Carrot was so amped about it because it was something he could make and something he could make well. (I’m always the one cooking for people and I love it but I think he really loved the idea of helping me and picking out part of the menu himself, knowing it would impress everyone because hello, it’s fried pork cutlets!!!!).  Plus, we have a freezer full of pork chops (thanks mom and dad!) which = affordable dinner party!

So he called up everyone.  And everyone could come.  So that was that.

It was a perfect lingering meal with old friends and their new wives (and a couple new friends and one adorable 2-year old) around a table, excited about new flavors they’d never had before.  Talking about food and asking questions to me and Kyle like we were professionals, because I suppose, as farmers, we kind of are food professionals.  We got to eat great food.  And get people excited about food.  And talk about family and relationships and life.  And play ridiculous party games as the wine kept flowing.  I absolutely adored every second of it.

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MENU
Mixed greens with a selection of Annie’s dressings
A variation on my Indian-spiced carrots
A variation on our favorite warm potato salad
A repeat of Monday’s Schnitzel with that perfect mushroom gravy
SWEETS
The Kinfolk Table’s Hummingbird Cake (recipe below)
Tiny Tahini Chocolate Cake

all good things begin this way my first successfully frosting layer cake!

Out of all the food, I have to share the recipe from our dessert because this Hummingbird Cake was not only the first layer cake I’ve ever made (successfully, and without tears), it was also a massive hit for sweets-lovers and sweets-avoiders alike.  Apparently its “like super charged banana bread.”  (It totally is).  But I can’t take the credit. Aside from a couple very minor adjustments all the credit goes to Christa Freeman & Jess Eddy of The Kinfolk Table.  P.S. If you love the beauty of having different types of people around a dinner table and the relationships that emerge around food, read this Kinfolk Table book.  It’s beautiful.

-Leek

HUMMINGBIRD CAKE
Barely adapted from Christa Freeman & Jess Eddy’s recipe in The Kinfolk Table

Takes 1 hour of active time, but I let the cake layers sit overnight before frosting to make sure they were thoroughly cooled and would highly recommend this.  I have a history of warm cake layers melting frosting and slippy slidey unpresentable cake messes.  Letting the cake cool thoroughly before frosting is what you want to do.
Makes a massive cake serving probably anywhere from 12-20 (All 12 of us had a piece after dinner and then more late night drunken schnibbles and there is still some left) 

1-2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 1/4 cups of flour, divided
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 large eggs, beaten and at room temperature
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups finely chopped bananas (I used 2 1/2 large bananas)
One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple (in pineapple juice), not drained
1 cup chopped pecans
Frosting:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 pound confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Topping:
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Use melted butter to grease two 9-inch round cake pans.  Dust with 1/4 cup flour, shake to coat and knock out any excess.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Add the eggs, oil and vanilla to the dry ingredients and stir until all the flour is just moistened.  Fold in bananas, pineapple and pecans.
Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans.    Bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes come out clean and the tops are golden brown.  Allow the cakes to cool completely and then invert them onto racks or plates so any “doming” goes away (this will help you to have flat, straight layers).
When the cake is fully cooled (1-10 hours later), prepare the frosting.  Beat the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixture on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until smooth, light and fluffy.  Decrease the speed to low and add the confectioners sugar and vanilla.  Continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
To assemble, center one layer on your platter or cake stand.  Frost the top and add the second layer.  Continue spreading the frosting on the top of the cake and then the sides.  Sprinkle entire thing (or just the top) with chopped pecans.  Getting the chopped pecans on the sides is very tricky and messy.  I just kind of threw them at the sides of the cake while the frosting was still wet.  It worked, but definitely made a huge mess and wasted a little bit of pecans…  Use your discretion 🙂
Enjoy!!

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