Earlier this month, I took a call at the office from a lady who lives in the South Lowell community about seeing a number of hummingbirds in her yard for the first time this spring. Her call reminded me that I had not put up my hummingbird feeders yet, so as soon as I got home that evening I got busy.
It would be days before I would finally catch a glimpse of one of the tiny creatures checking out nectar I had place in my feeder.
My husband, Rick, and I were sitting outside enjoying the beautiful weather we have been having lately when I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. When I turned my head, I saw a beautiful ruby-throated hummingbird floating just over Rick’s head near the tree where I had hung the feeder.
I told him the little bird was just above his head, and he said that would have made a good picture. As usual, I didn’t have my camera with me.
I loved sitting outside and taking pictures of the birds and squirrels that come to our feeders. That just made me that much more determined to get a picture of a hummingbird.
I decided I would practice using the new camera I had just ordered by stalking the hummingbird feeder. Tuesday afternoon, I finally caught one of the tiny creatures flying around the feeder and took a picture of him.
When I got to work on Wednesday and was searching the web to make sure I had correctly identified the hummingbird in the picture, something else popped up.
It was the recipe for a Hummingbird Cake.
I remember my mother, Ala Faye Watson, making this cake one time while her and my dad, Theron “Ted” Watson, were managing Big Bridge Marina in Cullman County back in the late 1980s. Mother took care of the restaurant and motel and Dad took care of the marina.
Mother found the recipe in a magazine and decided to make the cake and add it to the desert menu for the restaurant’s Sunday lunch. It was a big hit with all the customers.
I never knew what magazine mother found the recipe in, and it has been well over 30 years since I’ve even seen a recipe for Hummingbird Cake. But while I was looking for hummingbirds I learned the original recipe was published 35 years ago in Southern Living magazine.
It was submitted to the magazine by one of their readers, Mrs. L.H. Wiggins from Greensboro, N.C.
I fell in love with the cake when mother made it back then. I remember the cake was so delicious and moist and it featured my most favorite cake icing, cream cheese with nuts. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
There are numerous versions of the recipe for Hummingbird Cake online, but I managed to find a copy of the original recipe which ran in Southern Living in 1978, and I can’t wait to give it a try.
I decided to feature a recipe for Hummingbird Cake in this week’s column as a way to pay homage to the beautiful hummingbirds that have visited my home this past week.
I hope you enjoy your Hummingbird Cake as much as I enjoyed one my mother made 30-something-years ago.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups salad oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts, divided
2 cups chopped bananas
Cream cheese frosting (recipe below)
Combine dry ingredients in large bowl; add eggs and salad oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup chopped nuts, and bananas.
Spoon batter into 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pans for 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely.
Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with remaining chopped nuts.
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 (16-ounce) packages powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine cream cheese and butter; cream until smooth. Add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. Makes enough for a 3-layer cake.
Elane Jones is a reported at the Daily Mountain Eagle. She can be reached at (205) 221-2840.