This Cake Will Have You Humming Holiday Melodies!

Every Christmas for about the last 8 years  I say I’m going to make a Hummingbird Cake. But I never do. I always end up buying some other cake. A Hummingbird Cake is a scrumptious spice cake made with bananas and pineapples, typically with pecans and sometimes coconut.

This year, to hold myself to making one, I called up my mother-n-law who lives in another state 14 hours away.  I asked for her oh so delicious Humming Bird cake recipe, and that simple act alone pretty much binds me to turning one out this year.  I can’t disappoint her with “oh well, I decided not to make it.” She’s always so excited whenever I call to ask for a recipe that I refuse to let her down. I HAVE to tell her how wonderful it turned out, right? So it’d better, or else I’m sure hubby might accidentally let it slip to her that either I didn’t make it or it turned out atrociously.

Even so, naturally, I want to add something different to make it my own. Sort of.  So I went online to get a few ideas. I came across two that I like: 1. Paula Dean’s version looks super yummy.  Plus the video of Paula and son Jaime whipping up this southern layered favorite is quite comical.  I just had to share it. 2.  I found a version that is pretty close to my mother-n-law’s.

I still haven’t decided what twist I’m going to add if any to my first Hummingbird Cake ever, but I’m posting what I found below courtesy of foodnetwork.com.

Do you have a better Hummingbird Cake recipe? Post it on our facebook page or tag @etudelife on Pinterest or Twitter.

Paula Dean’s Version

Although in the video they don’t quite stick to the written recipe, I’ve posted it below.


paula dean hummingbird vid link

Ingredients
Nonstick baking spray
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 4 medium)
One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple
Frosting, recipe follows
Optional garnishes: sweetened flaked coconut, chopped macadamia nuts
Frosting:
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 9-inch baking pans with nonstick baking spray.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar and vanilla at medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Add the bananas and pineapple, beating until combined.

Using a measuring cup, spoon the batter into each of the three prepared pans, one scoop at a time to ensure an even distribution. Slam the pans against the counter to get any air bubbles out of the batter.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Spread some Frosting between the layers. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with coconut and nuts if desired.

Frosting:
Beat the butter and cream cheese together with a handheld electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar in increments. Lastly beat in the lemon juice and vanilla.

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/hummingbird-cake-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Food Network’s Version

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Ingredients
  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 3 ripe bananas, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • For the Frosting:
  • 2 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each), at room temperature
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment and dust with flour.

Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake until fragrant and toasted, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, then roughly chop. Toss with the bananas, pineapple and 1/2 cup flour in a small bowl.

Whisk the remaining 2 1/4 cups flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Beat the eggs and granulated sugar in a separate bowl with a mixer on high speed until thick and light, 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the vegetable oil.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg mixture, then gently fold to make a thick batter. Fold in the pecan-fruit mixture, then transfer the batter to the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are firm and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool in the pans on a rack, 25 minutes, then invert the cakes onto the rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with a mixer until fluffy, then gradually beat in the butter until combined. Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread about half of the frosting on top, then cover with the other cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

Photograh by Stephanie Foley

Say ‘Yes, MAAM’ to Classical Music

You may not be a die-hard classical music purist, but the Mississippi Academy of Ancient Music (MAAM) can make you feel like one. The organization’s 2014-2015 concert series consists of seven performances and marks its 30th season of presenting early classical music the way the composers intended it to sound.

People like Bach and Handel sound very different when played on the kind of instruments they intended to be used. (Pictured left to right) John Holloway, Lars-Ulrik Mortensen, Jane Gower.)
“People like Bach and Handel sound very different when played on the kind of instruments they intended to be used.”

When it comes to music from the 18th century or earlier, Dr. Richard McGinnis, a MAAM founding organizer, says  the problem is “we play it the same way we would play [songs that were written] today.  It turns out that’s not remotely what was expected. So people like Bach and Handel sound very different when played on the kind of instruments they intended to be used as opposed to what we do today.” McGinnis says even when we have similar instruments we play them differently.  Luckily there are an elite few dedicated to replicating sounds that are truer to early music.  Beyond authentic instruments, they’ve studied old instruction books on how to properly play those instruments.

Some would-be concert goers may be put off by the term “ancient” but they shouldn’t be.  McGinnis says that by “ancient” they are not referring to music from biblical times. He explains that in the 18th century there was a group called Academy of Ancient Music and “apparently at that time “ancient” meant 20 or 30 years old.” Based on this, Mississippi Academy of Ancient Music was methodically named because its acronym, MAAM, happened to play on the southern term ma’am, used to show a woman respect.  In comparison, the often times difficult classical pieces showcased by the organization merit such respect as do the skilled musicians who interpret them.

Delving further into the origins of MAAM, McGinnis credits former Tougaloo College colleague Dr. Ernst Borinksi for bringing everyone together. Borinski who passed away in 1983, was a Jewish sociologist who fled Germany as a result of the Holocaust. Upon moving to the South he strongly opposed prevalent Jim Crow laws. “Borinksi was very well known in the civil rights period back in the days of freedom summer,” McGinnis says. It was at one of Borinski’s annual birthday bashes that co-founders McGinnis, John Paul and Max Garriott first performed together.

Dr. Ernst Borinski
Dr. Ernst Borinski

After 30 years, MAAM, Jackson’s undisputed official curator of ancient music, continues to show strong support for outstanding local talent while drawing internationally acclaimed artists to the city.  This season’s opening performance on November 20th 2014 featured an über-talented trio made up of John Holloway, violin; Jane Gower, dulcian (baroque bassoon); and Lars-Ulrik Mortensen, harpsichord. Holloway and Mortensen have produced works together for nearly thirty years. One of their most significant recordings is “Corelli’s Op. 5 Sonatas,” the only recording to use the instrumentations specified by Corelli. According to the group’s bio Holloway and Mortensen had the trio sonatas for violino and fagotto by Castello and Fontana on their repertoire wishlist. That wish came true when Jane Gower appeared. Gower is one of the very few bassoonists in the world capable of playing this spectacular music.

(front to back) John Holloway, Jane Gower, Lars-Ulrik Mortense
(front to back) John Holloway, Jane Gower, Lars-Ulrik Mortensen

The next performance will showcase Taylis Fernandez- cello and John Paul – piano on Thursday, February 5, 2015. The duo will perform Beethoven sonatas for ‘cello and piano. Get all show dates, time and locations at ancientmusic.org. You’ll also find a full list of performers and prices.

Taylis Fernandez and John Paul perform together February 5, 2015.
Taylis Fernandez and John Paul perform together February 5, 2015.

A version of this article first appeared in Jackson Free Press November 19-26, 2014 issue.

Beat Funktion- Beating a Path from the Seventies

In 2007 Daniel Lantz was approached to play some live jazz for a club in Sweden’s largest college town, his hometown of Upsala. He said yes but didn’t think much of it. “I just felt that…playing traditional jazz for 20 to 25 year old students would be a total failure” Lantz confesses. He had no idea the gig would eventually land his band, Beat Funktion, on music charts in Canada and the United States.  Continue reading Beat Funktion- Beating a Path from the Seventies

Native American Fashion Trends- What’s acceptable and what’s offensive?

Pharrell Williams recently joined the growing list of celebrities who’ve offended not just Native Americans, but Natives. Period. To the dismay of many, Pharrell wore a war bonnet on the July 2014 cover of Elle UK. He later apologized, but not all offenders do. While some things are blatantly offensive others might not be so obvious, especially if the reason its offensive hasn’t been thoroughly explained.

Continue reading Native American Fashion Trends- What’s acceptable and what’s offensive?

November is Native American Heritage Month

Thanksgiving and Veteran’s Day garner all of the attention during the month of November when the entire month is actually Native American Heritage Month.

Okay, sure Thanksgiving plays in schools across the nation give a small nod to Indians regarding the “feast”; and Natives serve in the military and are thus honored as Veterans, but can you name one without a quick internet search? Besides the foods feasted on by the Pilgrims and Indians, what other contributions have Natives made that you can name off the top of your head?

My point is that Native Americans don’t receive the recognition they deserve.

Continue reading November is Native American Heritage Month

Wish Look #OOTD: Sleek Purple Passion

Sleek Purple Passion

Satisfy your buckle fetish and your passion for purple at the same time.  This outfit of the day features a Precis Petite purple sweater and Giuseppe Zanotti Lace up platform Booties. Accessorize with a touch of cool blue to rev up the wow factor on this smoldering look.  Continue reading Wish Look #OOTD: Sleek Purple Passion

Video – Mississippi Roads: Fondren, Food Trucks, Peaches Restaurant

If you didn’t know by now, the Fondren district in Jackson Mississippi is experiencing a renaissance of sorts. From the nostalgic face of the buildings to the allure of walking-distance hot spots, and an even hotter music scene, the area is garnering lots of attention. Mississippi Roads (MPB/PBS) featured Fondren in an episode which originally aired on October 9, 2014. Continue reading Video – Mississippi Roads: Fondren, Food Trucks, Peaches Restaurant

Wish Look #OOTD 10.23

#OOTD 10.8
Get inspired by this outfit of the day which features a green double-breasted blazer in time for the nippy fall weather. Yes, the Balmain jacket, Vivienne Westwood booties and Irene Neuwirth bangle (that I’m pretending is a ring) are astronomically priced. That’s why I only use them as a visual then find affordable alternatives. Except for the jewelry, I’ve already added this look to my wardrobe. Shop pieces below or scour the web and local spots for budget friendly alternatives of your own.
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