Light and Sweet

[Note: wrote this post back in June but for some odd reason failed to publish!  Ah well, here she is!]

Wow!  It has been a few weeks, hasn't it?  It's okay- I'm here.  Don't be worrying 'bout me.
Just in case you were.  Doubt it but thought I'd allow your mind to rest at ease anyway.

It's summer, things are a little more laid back.  Enjoyable.  Carefree.

I had a great weekend.  Mr. K and I celebrated doubly- our anniversary and my birthday- with a three day staycation, sans-child, doing things that we just don't do much of these days.

Eating out,
watching movies,
long walks without the stroller,
more eating out.
You know, those kinds of things.

Due to the vast amounts of restaurant-consumption I have not been utilizing my own kitchen lately.

For shame, I know.

Oh but it's lovely not having to cook sometimes, wouldn't you agree?

Yes, indeed.

However.  This little recipe brought my oven back to life.
I had a craving.  A monstrumental craving for something deep and rich, yet light and sweet.  Something that was healthy enough to make me not feel too badly about eating two large pieces in one sitting- but decadent enough to make my tastebuds swoon.

Yes, this is that thing.

And really, I suppose I had to use some beyond-their-prime bananas.
So, you know, naturally I chose to make something that would revive those suckers.

What is this thang?

It's Hummingbird Cake, my loves.

And it is mighty fine.

Hummingbird Cake:
Unsalted butter
parchment paper
2 1/4 C flour, divided (you can do part whole wheat, part white if you like- I did!)
1 C toasted pecan pieces
3 ripe bananas, finely chopped
1/2 C fresh pineapple, finely chopped
1/2 C shredded coconut (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C vegetable oil

2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened to room temp
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed, room temp
2 C powdered sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Butter two 8" cake pans, line with parchment paper.  Butter and flour parchment.

2. Toast pecans in oven by placing them on a cookie sheet and popping them in your preheated oven for 6-8 minutes- don't burn them!  Toss bananas, pineapple, coconut, and a half cup flour in a small bowl.

3. Whisk remaining ingredients (2 1/4 C flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, and salt) in a bowl.  Beat the eggs, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla in a stand-mixer (or with a handheld) on high speed until thick and light, 5 minutes.  Gradually beat in oil.

4. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture, add banana mixture & nuts, then transfer batter to pans.  Bake until firm and toothpick comes out clean, 50-55 minutes.  Cool 25 minutes then invert cakes onto rack to cool completely.

5.  Make frosting.  Beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy, gradually beat in butter until combined.  Sift sugar over cheese and beat until smooth.  Add zest and vanilla.

6.  Frost and serve.  Optional:  you can toast extra pecans, or save some for placing on top and sides of cake, like I did!  Makes it look purdier ;)  

So...normally I show you all the ingredients in a neat little 
group, all tidy and proper-like.
Not today.
This is the real deal.
Welcome to my (typical) beautiful mess:

Just keepin' it real, folks.

Line your buttered pans with parchment.
Butter and flour the parchment.
I feel like Ina every time I say "parchment".
This makes me tingle inside.
[tingle, tingle]

Toast your pecans.
There is nothing more  heavenly than the smell of toasted nuts.
Except maybe onion and garlic sauteing.
Or granola baking in the oven.
Mmmmm, love it all.

Mix up your dry ingredients in a bowl.

Chop up those elderly bananas.

Mix 'em with a the coconut, pineapple, and a 
bit of flour in a separate bowl.

Turn to your lovely KitchenAid
What would life BE like without my mixer?
Or basically akin to my entire African experience...
but that's another story, or twenty, for another day.

Mix up those eggs, sugar, and honey.

Mmmm, all good things begin with eggs and sugar.
I'm reminded of this little beauty.
Just made that one this week.
I won't divulge how much I've eaten so far.

After the eggs and sugars are well-mixed, add in
the dry ingredients, mix well, then incorporate
your bowl of fruit, flour, & coconut.
Lastly, add in the pecans.

Divide and pour the batter into your two prepared pans.

Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in
the center of each comes out clean.

Pull those bad boys out of the oven, let cool a bit, then invert
onto a rack to cool completely.
While they are cooling, make your frosting.
Sorry- no photos on frosting prep.  Forgot!  It happens.
Once the cakes are cool, grab your frosting and start
assembling the cake.

Top it all with more toasted pecans, 
if you so desire.
I desired, therefore, I did.
Do as I do.
All the cool people are doing it.

Oh my.

Yes, yes indeed.

Light.  Sweet.  Desirable.

The perfect way to revive bananas.

The ideal way to spend a summer evening.

Or afternoon.
Or morning.

I promise I've NEVER had this for breakfast.
What?  It has nuts...and fruit.
And eggs.

It's justified.