Granny’s Hummingbird Cake

Granny’s Hummingbird Cake V1

1 box Duncan Hinds (Duncan Hines) white or yellow cake mix*
1 20 oz can crushed pineapples (save 1/2 cup for glaze)
1 cup chopped bananas (2)
3 egg whites (1 yoke)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons self rising flour

Mix and bake in a 12″ x 9″ pan. I would guess at the degree and temperature on the cake instructions

1/2 cup pineapple (reserved from above)
2 1/2 cups conf. sugar
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup chopped pecans to sprinkle on top
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

It does not specify but I assume you bake the cake, then pour the glaze on top. 

Granny has always been a creative  but also pragmatic cook, and this version** of her Hummingbird Cake shows two things. First, how to adapt an off-the-shelf cake mix. Second, the fact that most of her recipes fit on a 3 x 5 index card largely because you should know what to do with a box of cake mix. Or I suppose, the fact that she knows her audience (herself, her children, and her grandchildren) should know how to do that at least.

Hummingbird Cake is one of those recipes I associate very strongly with my Granny; for any big trips down to Mississippi around the holidays, it was always on the table. As a child, I thought it had something to do with my Granny’s love of hummingbirds that were exemplified not just in her cooking but also as she had several hummingbird feeders on her back deck. I have many fond memories of watching those hummingbirds, and less of the cake (not liking pecans as I do). Or maybe it is because the cake was sweet enough for those hummingbirds.

As I got older, the Hummingbird Cake just seemed odd to be a southern institution. Mississippi is not a state known for its pineapple plantations. Turns out, the Hummingbird Cake was popularized in the southern United States, but its roots are in Jamaica. 

*If you want to be true to how many others view this style of cake, I’d use a spice cake mix, which may not have been available when my Granny made this recipe? Or maybe she doesn’t like cinnamon, which is often associated with Hummingbird Cake
**I assume it is a version; I have not gone through all my recipes but this, along with her biscuits, come up a lot.

I am going to start putting these recipes under a Creative Commons license. This is a license used to protect creative and intellectual works, and often used in scientific and art fields. It is a license built off of giving credit and attribution, but also in authors of works being able to control adaptions of their work. The culture of these forms of family recipe very much fit into this ethos — in many of the recipes I have inherited, my Granny has been very particular about noting who she originally received the recipe from. A lot of time and effort went into the curation (by my Granny) of these recipes, and it is important not to brush over those efforts — as so often happens with women’s work.

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