Yellow Bird

I’ve been messing about in the kitchen again.

This time, I’ve made an adaptation of a cake known to many of you as Hummingbird Cake, and recently featured by Jamie Oliver on the Comfort Food series. Obviously, mine’s gluten free, and I’ve made a few other adjustments too. So rather than pretend it’s ‘proper’ Hummingbird Cake, I’m calling it Yellow Bird Cake, after the tune they play on steel drums in all movies when they want to indicate a Caribbean setting. After all, what could be more tropical than bananas, pineapples and passionfruit? And these are the flavours of Yellow Bird Cake, together with dark brown sugar, cinnamon and a touch of allspice. It’s filled and topped with a creamcheese and passionfruit blend which is delicious enough to eat by itself with a spoon.

Screen shot 2014-10-24 at 5.47.19 PM

Probably the least glamorous cake shot of all time, but oh Lord, the flavour!

Screen shot 2014-10-24 at 5.47.44 PM

This slice lasted ooh, let’s see, 10 whole seconds after the photo was taken and then it was GONE. The Husband’s slice lasted an extra 5 seconds….

Yes, alright, there are sticky crumbs and smears on my plate. And yes, I did fairly extensively lick the bowls and spatulas. And yes, the cake won’t win any prizes for looks because I went a little crazy with the topping and filling, so it’s extremely oozy, but it’s sooooo goooood!


350g (12oz) gluten free self raising flour (or use all purpose with 2 tsp baking powder)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
large pinch salt
1 tsp baking powder
250ml (8 fl.oz) vegetable oil (I used olive, but sunflower or a nut oil would be nice too)
350g (12oz) soft dark brown sugar
4 small very ripe (even black) bananas, mashed
440g (15oz) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
2 large eggs, at room temperature

250g (8oz) cream cheese at room temperature
Pulp of 2 passionfruit (you can sieve it if you want. I didn’t)
300g (10oz) icing (powdered) sugar

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas 4/350ºF.

Grease and line the bottom of 2 springform 23cm cake pans.

Sieve and blend together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Mix the mashed bananas, oil, eggs and pineapple in another bowl till thoroughly blended, then gently fold them into the dry ingredients until there are no dry bits or flour showing. Don’t over mix. Divide the batter between the two cake pans, and bake for 35 – 40 mins until golden and springy. Run a knife around the outside, cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool completely on wire racks.

To make the filling, in a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese till smooth, then add the passionfruit pulp and icing sugar, and beat until it’s just smooth. Refrigerate till needed – it will firm up a bit more in the fridge. You could consider adding the passionfruit pulp a bit at a time, in case yours are very large, you don’t want the filling to be quite as squidgy as mine… a firmer filling will be tidier.

When the cake halves are cool, sandwich together with the filling and spread the remainder over the top.

Then get stuck in!



21 thoughts on “Yellow Bird

  1. tialys says:

    Should I see some passion fruit down the market this morning (unlikely but who knows) I’m definitely going to grab a couple.

    • katechiconi says:

      You only need them for the filling, and you could use a good squeeze of lime juice and some zest instead…?

      • tialys says:

        That’s good ‘cos I’m just back from the market where, forgetting that passion fruit has a smooth orange skin, I bought some ‘figues barbaries’ which Mr. T has informed me are prickly pears!!

      • katechiconi says:

        Passionfruit actually have wrinkly hard black skin… They look like they’re past being edible till you slice them open. I don’t think prickly pears have a strong or tart enough flavour to work as a foil to cream cheese. Go with lemon or lime: all the zest and a bit less than half the juice.

  2. Yummy isn’t sufficiently appreciative (the word, not the sensation) for this recipe!

  3. mihrank says:

    yummy & delicious – this is truly considered a healthy recipe!

  4. claire93 says:

    ooooh, when I finally have a house and an oven, I’m going to try this!

  5. Clare says:

    Why is it that the most delicious cakes always look the worst in pictures? We have a special cake where I’m from (St. Louis, MO, US) called “gooey butter cake” and it looks very, well, oooozy in pictures but will knock your socks off with yumminess.

    • katechiconi says:

      Exactly! Moaning and plate licking! I’m sure I could have made my cake look much tidier if I’d used less passionfruit in the frosting, but then it wouldn’t have tasted quite as good. The only downside is that I’ve been humming Yellow Bird all day. Can I please have the gooey butter cake recipe…?

  6. EllaDee says:

    I watched J.O.’s Hummingbird Cake episode and it looked good but this, Yellow Bird Cake (love the name) looks divine… hmmm, I have a few frozen bananas in the freezer and a pack of GF flour, and the other key ingredients are easily obtained. I like that it is made of simple ingredients but the end result is stunning… and a little sticky 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      It doesn’t have to be GF, of course. And I’m pretty sure the cake by itself would be pretty damn nice, but that drippy sticky frosting just took it to another level!

  7. Jen Gardener says:

    Oh wow, my mouth is watering. This looks ah-mazing!

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s not at all hard to make, and it is really, really good. I have to work quite hard at not having inappropriately vast portions. It doesn’t keep terribly well, though, so I have the perfect excuse: it really does need eating up!

  8. rutigt says:

    Oh, it looks superdelicious!!! I love these cakes with creamcheese on, but some years ago I realized I can´t eat them. The cheese gives me migraine, all those welltasting cheese are forbidden fruit for me 😦 Makes you wanna cry, don´t it!?! I just had to face the facts 🙂
    Gun, Sweden

    • katechiconi says:

      I think maybe you could use heavy cream instead, beaten so it’s thick and stiff, and then add a little passionfruit. I do hope you can still eat cream? Life would be very sad for me without cream…

  9. Kirsten says:

    Looks yummy. I’ve never thought of adding passion fruit to it before though. May have to try that out, although not right now as it seems like a summery cake to me and, well, we are heading into the depths of winter over here . . .

    • katechiconi says:

      It is a very yummy cake, but you’re quite right, it’s not really wintery. Bring on the chocolate! I shall have a go at that other cake this week. Dates and chocolate are much more the thing…

  10. Lynda says:

    Kate, your cake is beautiful, and made all the more so because I can make and eat it too! Thanks for the workaround for the filling (no passion fruits here)! HA, when you first told about what’s in it I thought it would be too difficult. Then I read the ingr. list and method and it seems much easier. Can’t wait!

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