Hummingbird Cake & things I love...

After my recent trip to Texas, I decided to make a dessert in the "spirit" of the deep South.

I can't remember exactly why I got hooked on the idea of a Hummingbird Cake.  But when I found this recipe on Martha Stewart, I printed it out and placed it in my "when I get around to it" file.  When a recipe for Hummingbird Cake was featured in the April copy of Food Network Magazine, it was a done deal.  This cake was going to have to be made .  Besides - I needed to find something other than banana bread to use up those black bananas sitting on my counter. 

Funny side note relating to my not-so-latent tendency to not be able to let go of an idea when it gets stuck in my head:  A recent "personality" tendency profile I took at work rated me very high on persistence... Also known as stubborn?  I guess the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree - or in my case, the apple is so close to the tree that the tree can't even begin to deny that the apple fell off of it.  And I think we all know which father tree in the orchard I am talking about. 

Apparently, Hummingbird Cake first came on the scene of popular culture in 1978 when a version by one Mrs. Wiggins was published in Southern Living magazine.  Some theorize that this cake originated in Jamaica and was adapted to "southern tastes".  I just knew that the recipe was simple and offered a break from all of the butter cakes I seem to have been stuck on lately.  (And it was simple!). 

I used above-linked Martha Stewart recipe, which instructed one to "cut off the tops of the cakes to make even layers"... NOT!!!!!  The price for not following directions was a lop-sided cake, but since the cake wasn't leaving the house I could justify being "un-fussy" about it (like I would have been precise anyway).  In my defense, I have found that "lopping things off" also tends to leave crumby exposed areas and despite my best attempts at "crumb layers" ultimately results in cake disasters. 

Of course, I always am pro-child labor helpers in the kitchen. 

Ok - just so everyone is clear, precision is so not my thing.  So to all the perfectionists out there, please accept my apologies for the off-kilter cutting you are about to see...

Here is one of the things I have discovered recently that I love and here's why:

1) It's a really good vanilla
2) It has these really cool vanilla bean particles in it (gives a neat gourmet effect to frostings, cookies, etc.)
3) A portion of the proceeds from every bottle sold are donated to the Susan G. Komen Fund to support breast cancer research (see the pink ribbon at the bottom right side of the bottle)

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