Hummingbird Cupcakes

I’m going to apologize right off the bat for the short post. After a few days of feeling blissfully healthy in the middle of last week, my cold returned with a vengeance and brought with it tinnitus, pressure, extreme sensitivity, and a heat sensation in my right ear. I’ve never had an ear infection before, but something tells me I should go to the University clinic tomorrow…

BUT you don’t want to hear about it and I don’t want to write about it. In fact, I want to take another ibuprofen, crawl back under my comforter, and watch the Oscars online. However, these cupcakes I made at Brad’s request were just so good I feel obligated to share the recipe on time – you just have to know about these! (those of you who’ve known about them for years, feel free to gloat).

I adjusted this recipe only slightly to better suit our tastes. I halved the sugar in the batter and subbed a bit of honey in for confectioner’s sugar in the frosting. The result was an almost savory cake (think banana nut bread with highlights of pineapple) and a just-sweet-enough cream cheese frosting. In fact, I reduce the sugar in the frosting twice: some of my “guinea pigs” reported back that the initial frosting, while yummy, was still a tad too sweet. Keeping in mind that honey is one of the sweetest sugars there is, I reduced the powdered sugar a bit further for the final round of cupcakes given to the birthday boy. He agrees that these are one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever made (rivaling even my Cookies ‘n Cream Vegan Cupcakes) and has already put in an order for next year, haha. 

Hummingbird Cupcakes (adapted slightly from Bake or Break)

*makes 35 normal or 18 jumbo cupcakes *

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes…

3   C   AP flour

1   t   baking soda

1   t   salt

1   C   granulated sugar

1   t   cinnamon

3   large eggs, beaten

1   C   vegetable or canola oil

1½   t   vanilla extract

8   oz.  crushed pineapple w/ juice*

1   C   chopped pecans

2   C   chopped very ripe bananas

finely chopped pecans for garnish

* Note: If you can find an 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, just dump the whole thing in. If you’re like me and can only find larger sizes, just make sure to include some juice with the pineapple (I did roughly 2 parts pineapple chunks to 1 part juice).

For the Frosting…

8   oz.   cream cheese, softened

½   C   butter, softened

1   t   vanilla extract

1   T   honey

8   oz.   sifted confectioner’s sugar, plus more to taste

Procedure:

1) Preheat oven to 350°F and prep cupcake pans with paper liners (or grease and flour pans if not using liners).

2) In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the eggs and oil, stirring until the dry ingredients are moistened (it will be tough, the batter is very dry here, but just keep stirring until it’s as homogeneously moist as you can make it). Stir in vanilla, pineapple, pecans, and bananas – mushing the bananas as you go to thicken the batter. I left quite a lot of larger chunks in mine because I love lots of texture, but my batter also turned out baking somewhat unevenly. Either mash your fruit up well or be careful how you divvy up the batter.

3) Pour batter into prepared pans, filling cups nearly to the rim (these don’t rise much). Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow cupcakes to cool in pans for at least 5 minutes before removing them to cool completely.

4) As cupcakes are cooling (you want them completely cool before frosting), prepare the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter until creamy before adding the honey and vanilla. Add sugar gradually until frosting is light and fluffy. Give the frosting a taste-test (you know you want to) and add more sugar if desired.

5) Once cupcakes have fully cooled, frost them (I’m still using a ziplock freezer-bag, myself) and top with finely chopped nuts. Serve immediately or store in fridge if they have to sit a while or else the cream cheese frosting will turn gooey.

Beezer’s Notes:

When I first bit into one of these hummingbird cupcakes I immediately thought, “Oh man, my mother would LOVE these!” followed quickly by “…and my grandmother…” then “…and my Dad…” and I continued to list off nearly everyone I knew. That’s the magic in these cupcakes: their unique flavor combination of fruity/nutty/sweet-yet-savory can please almost any pallet. While all of the ingredients are key, I’m starting to believe the pineapple provides that secret something that takes the flavor over the top. I kept hearing, “Wow, it’s just like banana bread…but better!” and that’s also given me the idea to make this recipe into mini-loaves next time. Brad ate a cupcake without the frosting and declared it just as good, so there you are. As far as cupcakes go, these cuties are on the healthier side already (what with the fruit base, nuts, and reduced sugar) but bake them up as loaves and serve without frosting if you’re looking to cut back just a bit more.

Overall Enjoyment:   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

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8 Comments

  1. K, these look AMAZING!! I am going to try to make the GF and i’ll report back 🙂 Lot’s of rest, warm lemon water, and some antibiotics should have you back on your feet quickly!

    Reply
    • Thanks Bren! I have a 20 oz. genmaicha w/ lemon sitting in front of me and going to make the hike (no buses running due to strike, grr) to pick up the antibiotics in a few hours. Luckily the sun is actually shining so fresh air and sunshine should help, too.

      Definitely tell me how your GF version turns out! It really isn’t all that different from banana bread so I’m confident the substitution will go fine. Oh and this honey-cream-cheese frosting is a new favorite of mine. You’ll have to share that GF brownie recipe of yours so I can try this frosting on it, haha. Those were really good!

      Reply
  2. Lee Orlando

     /  March 5, 2012

    Hey KB, I decided to use my last afternoon before going back to work baking these! I only wish I had some really ripe bananas because I know that they are much more flavorful. Still, they came out great! I didn’t add the nuts because I’m the only one who likes them in baked goods. I’m also glad you described how to mix all the dry ingredients with the beaten eggs and oil. Definitely looks too dry and thick until you add the pineapple and bananas.

    Glad you are getting antibiotics and are resting.

    Reply
  3. Lee Orlando

     /  March 5, 2012

    P.S. The honey cream cheese frosting was perfect – sweet, but not too sweet. How do you use a freezer bag to frost them, though?

    Reply
    • Glad they came out well! Brad still has his nice metal tips from culinary school that he never uses (he’s not much of a baker) so I cut a small amount off one lower corner of the bag, popped a star tip in, and used it. Only problem is the plastic tends to stretch as you push the frosting through so you have to keep a hold of the tip to keep it from popping out. The bag is also quite stiff and difficult to twist/manipulate, but it works for the time being.

      Reply
  4. This article has inspired me to continue working on my own blog

    Reply
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