Hummingbird Cake with Pineapple Flowers Recipe

With pineapple, golden syrup and a pinch of cinnamon, this beautiful cake can be created with just a little time and effort.

Serves 12 - 10 mins to prepare and 3 hrs 25 mins to cook, 10 mins to cool - 470 calories / serving

1 small ripe pineapple, skin and eyes removed
150g (5oz) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
160g (5 1/2oz) light muscovado sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 large eggs
300g (10oz) plain flour
1 tsp allspice
good pinch ground cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml (3 1/2fl oz) milk
50ml (2fl oz) natural yogurt
3 ripe medium-sized bananas, mashed
For the icing
100g (3 1/2oz) unsalted butter, softened
150g (5oz) cream cheese
175g (6oz) icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

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 Preheat the oven to gas 1/4, 110°C, fan 90°C. Using a mandolin or sharp knife, cut 8 very thin slices from the top of the pineapple (set aside the remaining fruit for later).

Put the pineapple discs on a baking sheet lined with nonstick baking paper and bake for 30 minutes. Flip them over and bake for a further 30 minutes. Repeat, turning every half hour or so, until the pineapple has shrunk a little, and is dry but not brittle. Transfer to the holes of a muffin tin to encourage the edges to curl into flower shapes and return to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin.

Turn up the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Grease and line a 1kg (2lb) loaf tin.
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisk, until light and fluffy. Beat in the golden syrup, followed by the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the flour, allspice, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda, then add the milk, yogurt and mashed bananas. Finely chop 160g (5 1/2oz) of the reserved pineapple and fold it into the cake mixture.

Spoon the cake mixture into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the top browns too quickly, cover with foil. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the icing. In a large bowl, beat the butter, cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla with an electric whisk, until light and fluffy. Once the cake has cooled, thickly spread the icing over the cake and top with the pineapple flowers.

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