Gabriel's language neurons have connected and he over the past few months has become very adept at saying one word - "cake." And with reason - there has been a lot of cake at my house as of late. Birthday season ends always on a bittersweet note. I end up missing the cake baking and party planning, but it is nice to have it all done and especially see the faces of my kids at the celebration.
Gabriel has always loved sports and balls (rather amusing given the number of times football or any sports has been on the TV at my house lately). Plans for a ball cake were scrapped though when he developed a complete obsession for trains. His cake was all him, at least in decoration. The caboose, a hummingbird cake with cream cheese and pecan filling, was "filled" with chocolate sports balls. Gabriel felt that unwrapping them was an unnecessary time suck. The middle car was a brown butter almond cake with a lemon syrup, lemon curd, and white chocolate cream cheese frosting. The engine, a mixture of the two cakes, and topped with a monkey (George as Gabriel called him) for my little banana loving, always moving, and very curious monkey.
It was so hard for Gabriel to wait to eat the cake, and he tried plenty of marshmallow fondant before the cake was completed. You can even see his fingernail marks in parts of the cake or the loose engine cylinder where one of us turned our back at the party! He was so excited to get his plate, with cake and the modeling chocolate monkey just for him. Three minutes later, Gabriel came running back, mouth full, a small stream of chocolate coming out both sides of his mouth, with sparkling eyes he asked, "More George?" Apparently the monkey was tasty.
Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake
Adapted from Southern Living Magazine
- 3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 2 - 2 1/2 cups finely chopped bananas
- Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9x13 baking pan or 3 8 inch round pans by buttering and lining with parchment.
- Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk together eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Pour into flour mixture.
- Fold until just wet, then add pineapple with juice, pecans and bananas.
- Pour into pans (dividing the batter evenly if baking in round pans).
- Bake for 25-30 minute if in round pans and 45-55 minutes if in the rectangular pan, or until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs, and the middle springs back when pressed.
- Cool for 10 minutes in pans, then cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
- 12 ounces white chocolate
- 1 lb cream cheese (two pacakages), room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter, softened (two sticks)
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- Melt white chocolate and cool to room temperature.
- Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy.
- Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time and stir until combined. The beat on high until fluffy.
- You can chill, but bring to room temp and beat to fluff up before frosting a cake.