Finals are over, at last! Ahhh, it felt like this day would never come, but it finally did, and it was seriously about time. It's so nice to just sit back and just do nothing. Well that’s not entirely true I suppose. I got out of my last final exam this afternoon and did my last load of laundry and then watched more episodes of Mad Men than I’m going to admit (I’m attempting to catch up as quickly as I can, I only jumped on the Mad Men bandwagon a couple of weeks ago. I’m already up to the middle of season three!). I guess that’s not much to brag about, but hey, I just finished exams and I did a load of laundry...that has to count as productive right? I’m going to pretend it does. I should technically be packing right now too, as I’m moving back home tomorrow, but let’s just say that the process is going much slower than I would have hoped...I guess that fact that I have Mad Men playing on Netflix as I pack isn’t really helping things move along. But that’s ok, because school is over and it’s summer (sort of)! My things will just have to pack themselves; I’m sure they’ll manage.
I had a great junior year, and it’s a little weird to think that I’m technically a senior now, but I’m gonna just go with it and look forward to what senior year will bring. I’m so excited! But for now, I have summer to look forward to. I have a new job that I’m really excited for, and best of all, I’m going to have lots of time to dedicate to this little blog that I have going. I have so many ideas that I want to work on over the summer! I have a whole sticky note on my mac just full of all sorts of random ideas that I get, and I have to make sure that I write them down, otherwise I’m afraid I’ll forget them! In the meantime though, would you care for a hummingbird cupcake? It’s loaded with cream cheese frosting and topped off with a beautiful pineapple flower. Come on, you know you want one.
For some reason, hummingbird cake is an incredibly popular flavor for Mother's day. I have absolutely no idea what the connection between the two is, but that's perfectly ok. Hummingbird cake is too delicious for any sort of pondering about why we eat it on Mother's Day. Honestly, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't! I had never made a hummingbird cake before this, but I figured I would love it...and I did! But I mean, what's not to love about hummingbird cake? It's a delicious banana-flavored cake that's chock full of pecans and pineapple; picture a carrot cake with pineapple and banana instead of the carrots. It gets topped off with cream cheese frosting, and that combination is just amazing. Seriously, it's realllyyy good.
As much as I loved the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting, the thing that I think really stands out the most are the pineapple flowers that are used to top off each cupcake. They're a beautiful and simple way to decorate the cupcakes, and what I love most about them, is that the cupcakes are decorated with a decoration made from an ingredient that's actually inside the cupcake! To be honest, I think I got so tempted to make these cupcakes simply because I thought the dried pineapple flowers were such a lovely touch to add to the cupcakes. While they take a little time, most of it is inactive while the pineapple slices are in the oven drying out, so they're actually simple to make!
These cupcakes are a breeze to make, and they would make an excellent addition to your Mother's Day brunch or get-together this upcoming Sunday. Whip up a batch of these hummingbird cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and dried pineapple flowers; Mom's gonna love them (and you will too, of course)!
Hummingbird Cupcakes with Dried Pineapple Flowers
recipe slightly adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
For the Hummingbird Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups mashed banana
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canned, chopped pineapple (drained)
2/3 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
4 2/3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, cold
For the Dried Pineapple Flowers
very thin slices of fresh pineapple (peeled, and all "eyes" removed)
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 325 degrees F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners.
In the bowl of a standard electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, eggs, oil, mashed banana, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Mix all the ingredients together on medium speed until well incorporated (if the mixture looks like it's split and isn't coming together, don't worry, it will!). In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the mixer, and mix until everything is just incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chopped pineapple and chopped pecans (or walnuts), mixing until everything is evenly distributed.
Evenly divide the cupcake batter among the prepared cupcake tins. Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the tops are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool slightly in the cupcake tin before transferring the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes cool, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In the bowl of a standard electric mixer, beat together the powdered sugar and butter until the mixture begins to come together. Add the cold cream cheese all at once, and beat at high speed until all the ingredients have been incorporated, and the frosting is smooth, light, and fluffy.
To make the dried pineapple flowers, take the thin slices of pineapple and arrange them on a lined baking sheet so that they do not overlap (you'll have to work in batches). Bake the pineapple slices at a low temperature, about 225 degrees F for 30 minutes. Flip the slices over, and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the pineapple slices look dry. Remove the dried pineapple slices from the oven, and gently place into a cupcake tin so that they form a flower shape (I found that a mini-cupcake tin worked best; the regular sized cupcake tin made flowers that looked too open, and they looked slightly awkward on top of the cupcakes. The mini-cupcake tin made flowers that looked just the right size!). Allow the pineapple flowers to sit in the cupcake tins for a little while so that they retain their shape.
Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost with cream cheese (either spread it with a knife, or pipe it on, whatever you prefer!) and top with a dried pineapple flower. Enjoy!
Makes about 26 cupcakes.