FOOD NETWORK'S HUMMINGBIRD CAKE, adapted 6" version

Recipe courtesy of Judy's Kitchen (http://judyskitchen.blogspot.com)

Rating:  9.5 out of 10
CAKE:
2/3 cup toasted pecan pieces
2 ripe bananas, chopped 
1/3 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/3 cup + 1-1/2 cups  unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. Diamond kosher salt
2/3 cup vegetable or canola oil

Heat oven to 350F.  Butter two 6” x 2” round cake pans.  Line with parchment; butter parchment and dust sides of pans and parchment with flour. 

Toss pecans, bananas*, pineapple and 1/3 cup flour in small bowl.  Whisk remaining 1-1/2 cups flour with spices and baking soda in another bowl.

Beat eggs, sugar and salt* on high speed in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment till thick and light, about 5 minutes.  Gradually beat in oil.  Sprinkle flour mixture over egg mixture, then gently fold to make a thick batter.  Fold in pecan-fruit mixture.  Transfer to pans, dividing equally.  Bake 45-50 minutes, till cakes are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in center returns clean.  Cool in pans on wire rack 20 minutes, then invert onto rack to cool completely.  Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below) and decorate as desired.  Yield:  6-8 servings

*If you choose to mash the bananas, then mix them with the eggs, sugar and salt.

FROSTING:
12 oz. (1-1/2 blocks) Philadelphia cream cheese, very soft
4 oz. (1 stick or 8 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, very soft
1-1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest 
3/4 tsp. vanilla powder or extract (I used my homemade vanilla powder)

Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with a mixer until fluffy, then gradually beat in the butter until combined.  Sift confectioner’s sugar in three additions over the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth after each addition.  Add lemon zest and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.  Place one cake layer on a serving plate, bottom side up.  Spread with 1/3 – 1/2 of the frosting and top with second cake layer, bottom side down.  Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.

TIP:  Insert strips of wax paper at bottom of cake layer so that they are slightly under the cake with most of the wax paper on the outside.  This will catch drips.  After frosting the cake, just slip the wax paper out from under the cake and discard.