Hummingbird Cake

pecan brittle

Sometimes a recipe just catches my eye and and I think to myself, ‘I’d like to have a go at that’.

Hummingbird cake is such a wonderful name for a cake I just had to try it.  Today, having spent a lovely few hours with a friend tackling a mountain of damsons and jamming them up, I came home and decided the moment had come.  So, I assembled all the ingredients and set off.

Everything was going wonderfully well, step one was accomplished with absolutely no hiccups, ingredients combined and mixture divided into the cake tins. Step two: making a brittle topping.

Now I have often seen people on the television heating sugar in a pan, and to be honest, it never looks that difficult, so I duly measured out the sugar, added a splash of water and waited.  As explained in the recipe, I shook, and did not under any circumstances, stir the sugar until it began to melt and go a golden brown.  All good.  I added the pecans and a pinch of salt, using a spoon to coat the pecans, and poured the concoction out onto a piece of greaseproof paper. Once again, it seemed fine.  And then I made the mistake of scraping out the last few bits and a small globule of molten sugar jumped out of the pan and landed on my thumb knuckle.

Mistake number one.  Blimey, it’s hot hot hot.  I now have a glorious blister emerging despite shoving said knuckle under warm water.  Yes, warm water.  I always thought it should be cold water, but, as someone explained to me not so long ago, warm water takes the heat out of the burn.  And do you know, they’re right.

Moving on, I prepared the zesty cream cheese icing.  Which brings me on to mistake number two.  The recipe states 400g of icing sugar.  It turns out I only had 359g so decided that this wouldn’t be a problem, I’d adjust the other ingredients accordingly.  Which I promptly forgot to do.  This left me with a slightly liquid zesty cream cheese icing.  No problem, I’ll pop it in the fridge to solidify slightly.  It should be fine.*

And then I hit mistake number three.  My oven is not big enough to take two round tins on one shelf.  Normally I squeeze them together and hope for the best.  This time I decided to put one on the shelf underneath the other.  Good plan, I hear you cry.  Well yes, in theory.  However, I hadn’t factored in the cake rising, so when I looked in the oven, cake number two was beginning to seep over the edges of the tin as it had nowhere else to go.  In my attempt to rectify the situation I had to move tin number one from the upper shelf to the bottom of the oven, put tin number two onto the upper shelf, and move shelf number two down, before placing initial tin number one back onto it and closing the oven door.

I managed all this juggling, but singed both forearms in the process.

It can be quite hazardous this baking malarkey.


*I ended up having to go out and buy more icing sugar


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