A Very Succulent Treat

Spring brings warmer temperatures, blossoms on fruit trees and the joy of watching hummingbirds visit my front yard feeder once again. The spirit of spring reminds me of the famed Hummingbird Cake. With origins in Jamaica and made popular in Kentucky, I unfortunately did not learn of this succulent cake until recently, but the first time I made it I was hooked on the moist, tender texture and the complex intermingling of fruit and nut flavors. Pecans, coconut, bananas, pineapple and cinnamon meld together resulting in a delicate and delicious cupcake that tastes like a mild spice cake married a fruit cake. Topped with buttercream succulents, these cupcakes are as fun to eat as they are to decorate to match the garden.

Succulent Hummingbird Cupcakes
Yields 24 cupcakes | Prep time 45 minutes. Total time 1 hour.

Succulent Hummingbird Cupcakes
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cane sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups very ripe, chopped bananas
8 oounces crushed pineapple in pineapple juice, undrained
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup coconut

Beat eggs separately. Mix flour, baking soda, salt, cane sugar and cinnamon. Stir in the beaten eggs and oil until just incorporated. Add vanilla extract, bananas, canned pineapple, pecans and coconut and mix until well blended. Bake in a lined cupcake pan for 17 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a knife inserted in a center cupcake comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool before decorating.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter
8 ounces cold cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon milk

Beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until combined and smooth. Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar and begin beating slowly. Increase speed to medium until it begins to aerate. Add milk and beat again. Color frosting as desired and decorate.