18 Nov Hummingbird Bread Pudding
Humming Bird Cake… Doctor Bird Cake…Doctor Byrd Cake…whatever you want to call it, its hugely popular in the southern United States.
If you’re not familiar with Hummingbird cake don’t feel bad. Being from New Jersey originally, I had never heard of it either. When I moved to Savannah I was told I had to try this southern staple and that I was missing out. But when I’d ask people what it was or what it tasted like I’d get all kinds of answers; “carrot cake but better”, “kind of like applesauce cake but with banana”, “I don’t know but it’s the best”. It took a while but I finally got a taste and boy were they right! Sweet and spiced like a carrot cake but with a tropical feel that was hard to describe. So what is Humming bird Cake and what does it have to do with this bread pudding recipe?
A LITTLE HISTORY
So how did a spiced banana and pineapple cake with pecans, coconut and a cream cheese frosting become the most popular cake in the south? In 1968, Air Jamaica was established and their logo was the local Jamaican doctor bird. The Jamaican tourism board put out press kits that included Jamaican style recipes designed to attract Americans to the island. This included a “Doctor Bird cake made with bananas”. A decade later, in 1978, a more southern version of the cake topped with pecans and a cream cheese frosting won the Kentucky State Fair. That same year it was featured in Southern Living Magazine and the south went crazy over it.
THE BREAD PUDDING
I’ll be honest, I’m great at eating cake but I’m not much of a cake baker (you can’t be great at everything). However, I make a mean bread pudding, also one of my favorite desserts. So I thought; “why not combine 2 of my favorite desserts into one for the holidays”. Here it is…I hope you like it!
10 cups unflavored, soft bread/rolls torn into 1 inch pieces
(Stay away from onion, poppy seed rye etc.)
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups very ripe banana, mashed
1 cups toasted & chopped pecans
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
½ cup desiccated coconut
5 each eggs
1½ cups heavy cream
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon canola oil
½ cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, cut into 1-ounce pieces and chilled
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except bread.
- Add bread and let soak for 10 minutes the divide mix evenly between the both pans.
- Place in oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- With electric mixer on medium, beat together softened butter and powdered sugar, adding powdered sugar gradually. Add vanilla extract and salt and mix until smooth.
- Begin to add 1 piece of cream cheese at a time and mix until incorporated.
- When all cream cheese is incorporated and mix is smooth, spread frosting over top of pudding.