Hummingbird Cake is a Southern classic, and rightfully so. This is an incredible cake. I adapted from the original cream cheese frosting recipe by making a creamy goat cheese & crème fraiche frosting infused with chamomile tea to add a decadent yet subtle compliment to the rich, moist, tenderness of the cake.
I apologize for the late posting. I’ve been out of town all weekend attending the Breadsense summit for Aunt Millie’s in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which was a complete success! It was my first time at Aunt Millie’s, so it was exciting being able to meet all the creators, marketers, and individuals involved with the Breadsense program. We toured the Aunt Millie’s plant, talked about audience and market segmentation, and even got to play with puppets. All I can say is that there are some exciting new things coming in 2017 that I cannot wait to share with all of you. Plus, on my way back home, I got to stop in Indianapolis and have lunch of Lauren (of the Saveur-nominated food blog Harvest and Honey), which was absolutely delightful! We ate at this adorable little brunch café Eggshell Bistro, which was outstanding, to say the least. Over cups of coffee, we talked about all things blogging, food, and photography. We gawked over our favorite bloggers as we chowed down on plates of shakshuka and rosemary & ham tarts. It was so wonderful being able to meet a fellow blogger who is just a stone's throw away regionally. Being able to connect with other content creators like Lauren makes me appreciate this little food community even more than ever.
Anywho, let’s talk about this cake! I had very specific reason for making this cake…well, technically two reasons. 1). After taking two-weekend trips in the South over the summer, I knew I needed to pay homage in some way, & 2). I am going to be a featured story on EIU360!! EIU360 is a video series my university has which captures stories on students, faculty, and alumni that are doing some pretty cool and exciting stuff. My friend Nicci was one of their featured stories last semester (which is/was super cool!) For my particular feature, it is going to encompass the entire creative process of running a food blog; from the gathering of ingredients, to the development of recipes, photographing, and writing the blog posts which accompany them. The video is not quite done yet, but I will be sure to share it on social media when it is (so keep on the lookout for that!)
Being filmed for the EIU360 feature and going to the Breadsense summit gave me time to think about my stuttering and what I have been able to accomplish with it. Looking back just three years ago, I was 18, fresh out of high school, and so unsure of myself and where I wanted to end up in my life. I am amazed at the sheer change of direction of my life and the man I have become. I am now 21 years old, a senior in college, and going to business summits, rubbing shoulders with CEO’s and VP’s of large companies, all the while growing this little food blog called TermiNatetor Kitchen. It is weird to think about. It is also kind of terrifying.
Sitting in front of the camera to be interviewed or in a boardroom with fellow team members, I, at times, felt defeated. Being a person who stutters, I am constantly reminded every time to open my mouth that I stutter. It is hard. It is infuriating. It is emotionally draining. My mind has created this underlying pressure, whenever I have to use my voice, to speak eloquently, intelligently, and in some cases “perfectly” (or in my mind at least). I want to come across to people that I am all of that and a bag of chips! Though when I stutter, I sometimes feel as if I have failed as a communicator. In my mind, if I stutter, I have let myself down, and that’s such a dangerous way of thinking. A hard lesson I have had to learn is that fluency does not equal effectiveness. What I have to keep reminding myself time and time again is that me just using my voice and communicating, stuttering or not, is a feat of courage. It should not be how I say something, but what I say it. When I notice myself getting fearing my stuttering or being afraid to speak, the words of Momma Crawford come trickling into my ear. She says “Nate, the things you have to say are worth sharing”.
So I share. I share my voice, in a conference room, in an interview, or online. I share my recipes to connect people and ideas together. I share my stories because I want to inspire others. I want to share how stuttering has not stopped me in dreaming.Whatever it is for, our stories matters. Never be afraid to share it.
Now let’s have some cake.
Hummingbird Cake with a Goat Cheese & Chamomile Tea Frosting
Original recipe adapted from Southern Living
For the cake
3 cups (384 g) all-purpose flour
2 cups (402 g) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups (12 oz.) vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
8 oz. crushed pineapple, undrained (I just used canned pineapple)
2 cups (600 g) crushed bananas
1 cup (125 g) pecans, roughly chopped
For the cream cheese frosting
4 oz. goat cheese
4 oz. crème fraiche
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup (227 g) butter, softened
2 cups (256 g) confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2 bags of chamomile tea
For the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 177 C. In a stand mixer with the beater attachment, hand whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and ground cinnamon. Add the eggs and oil and beat until the wet ingredients are incorporated into the dry ingredients. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, bananas, and 1 cup chopped toasted pecans. Divide the batter into three buttered and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
For the cream cheese frosting. In a stand mixer with the beater attachment, beat together the goat cheese, crème fraiche, cream cheese and butter at medium-low speed until smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat on a low speed until blended. Stir in vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high,and beat 1 to 2 minutes or until fluffy.
To assemble. Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread one cup frosting over the cake layer. Top with the second layer, and spread 1 cup of frosting over cake layer. Top with third cake layer, and spread top and sides of cake with. Top with toasted pecan, roughly chopped, and chamomile buds (optional).