Hummingbird Cake

A southern favorite, this recipe is from one of my all time favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver.

1 ½ cups extra olive oil, plus extra for greasing , Trampolini Black Label is best

1 ½ cup PLUS 1 tablespoon self-raising flour

1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 ½ cup PLUS 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Pinch of sea salt

4 medium-sized very ripe bananas

15 oz can (drained) pineapple chunks

2 large  eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup pecans

For the icing:
1 ¾ cup icing sugar

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, (at room temperature)

7 oz.  cream cheese

2 limes

For the brittle:
1/3 cup PLUS 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
¼ cup pecans

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line two 9 “ round cake tins. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a mixing bowl, then add the sugar and a large pinch of sea salt. Peel the bananas and mash them up with a fork in another bowl. Finely chop the pineapple and add to the bananas with the olive oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix until combined, then fold into the dry mixture until smooth. Finely chop the pecans and gently fold in, then divide the batter evenly between your prepared tins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until risen, golden and the layers spring back when touched lightly in the center. Run a knife around the edge of the pans, then leave to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, to make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a free-standing electric mixer, add the butter and beat until pale and creamy. Add the cream cheese, finely grate in the zest of 1 lime and add a squeeze of juice, then beat until just smooth – it’s really important not to over-mix it. Keep in the fridge until needed. To make a brittle topping, place the superfine sugar and a splash of water in a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Shake flat and don’t stir it, just swirl the pan occasionally until dissolved and lightly golden. Add the pecans and a pinch of salt, spoon around to coat, and when nicely golden, pour onto a sheet of oiled parchment to set . Once cool, smash up to a dust (you’ll need about half to top the cake – save the rest for sprinkling over ice cream.

To assemble the cake, place one layer on a cake stand and spread with half the icing. Top with the other sponge, spread over the rest of the icing, then grate over the zest of the remaining lime. Scatter over the brittle dust and decorate with a few edible flowers, such as violas, borage or herb flowers, if you feel that way inclined. With a cup of tea or coffee on the side, this will make everyone who eats it extremely happy.