This hummingbird cake is a wonderfully moist cake that has a wonderful mix of pineapple, pecans, coconut and spices and a silky vanilla and lemon cream cheese frosting (I also add a layer of pineapple curd to it!). It has a wonderful texture to it and remains soft and moist for days! This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader. I called her Alouette.
Hummingbird Cake is a popular cake that is said to have originated in Jamaica in the 1960's. In Jamaica it is called the Doctor Bird cake as it is named after the national bird the Red-billed Streamertail (which some say is the world's most beautiful bird). In the 1960's the Jamaican tourism board promoted the island nation by sending out press kits containing Jamaican recipes including this Doctor Bird cake. It was picked up by writer L.H. Wiggins and was published in the February 1978 issue of Southern Living and remains the most requested ever recipe in the magazine's history.
Hummingbird Cake's Jamaican origins makes sense when you see the ingredients of pineapple, banana, coconut and brown sugar. Pecans or walnuts are popularly used in hummingbird cake and taste-wise it's like a cross between a pineapple cake and banana bread cousin of a carrot cake. Sometimes coconut is used, sometimes not. I used it in this recipe and also added dates for a wholesome sweetness.
We were headed off to Hawaii just after I made this so I gave some to our neighbours Sally and Brian. They're a really nice couple and Brian often mows our front lawn for us. Our neighbourhood is on the most part quiet (apart from two houses) and everyone is really friendly. Mr NQN meets most people when he takes the dogs for their morning walks because I like to sleep in.
One morning he brought me a cup of tea in bed as he does every morning and casually said, "I met the Consulate General of Malta today - he lives here! We ate some mulberries together."
I was still waking up so I wasn't sure if I was mishearing. "You shared a what with who?"
"The Consulate General of Malta. Mulberries in Malta are better by the way," he said and then got up to leave.
"Hang on, I need more info," I said. Although he is most definitely an introvert, Mr NQN has met and chatted to all of our neighbours whereas I have only met a few of them. Maybe it's a morning sort of thing. On the odd occasion that I've been up early I find that people greet you with a bright "Morning!" in an almost compulsory fashion whereas there's rarely an afternoon equivalent. So apparently that morning he met the Consulate General (whose name he didn't even get) and he told Mr NQN that was trying to grow raw chickpeas to eat (I mean who knew you could eat them raw, this conversation was clearly a beacon of information). It was all too early for me to comprehend most of what he was saying so I sipped my tea and marvelled at my favourite introvert's ability to talk to people early in the morning.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you have random conversations with people? Can you talk to people early in the morning? And did you know about the hummingbird cake's Jamaican roots?