Sunday, March 29, 2009

Toasted Pecan Hummingbird Cupcakes

This month's Iron Cupcake: Earth Challenge is Nuts and Seeds. While, the Iron Cupcake Challenge both appeals to my need to bake and the fiercely competitive side of my personality, this month's ingredients, nuts and seeds, compliment the Toasted Pecan Hummingbird Cupcake perfectly! This cupcake screams "Spring" from the tops of melting snow capped mountains! (Vote here for Baker's Cakes!!!)

I first discovered Hummingbird Cake at a restaurant in Stowe, Vermont and found it delightfully sweet and refined. I'm not exactly sure what they put in their cake (theirs as I recall, seemed to be more of a butter based cake), but the general premise of Hummingbird Cake, is a sweet fruity cake, that might appeal to the hummingbird itself.  I must have mentioned this sensational cake in passing to one of my dearest friends, and as luck would have it, her mom had a recipe for it! See how handy it can be to always talk about cake? My friend's mother emailed me her recipe, it was less refined than the one I had tried, but none-the-less delicious. It called for five mashed bananas, applesauce, and a small can of crushed pineapple in it's juice. Her Hummingbird Cake is actually not that much different than a carrot cake, minus the carrots. I began a quest to meld her deliciously moist recipe and the elegant sweet cake from my Vermont Ski Weekend memory! Here's what I came up with:

Toasted Pecan Hummingbird Cupcakes

Non-Stick Spray
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5-6 bananas
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup pecan pieces toasted in 375' oven 8-10  minutes
Extra pecan halves for decorating cupcakes

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat oven to 350' Spray pans with non-stick spray or line cupcake pans (this recipe makes about 18 average sized cupcakes).

Sift together: cake flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Whisk together with sugar in a large bowl.

This recipe can be made just as easily with all purpose flour and whisking the dry ingredients instead of sifting, but I'm going for "refined" here!

In the bowl of the food processor add: the eggs, applesauce, bananas, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Puree until smooth.

Add to the dry ingredients and combine just until dry ingredients are moistened.

And here they are, just combined!

I ground the pecans in the food processor to make the cupcake less "chunky," but you can keep yours in whatever size pieces make you happy!

Fold the toasted pecans into the batter.

Now you are ready to scoop them into your prepared cupcake pan!

I like to use an ice cream scoop. One level scoop, just fills the cupcake pan about 3/4 of the way.

Bake for 18-20 minutes in 350' oven or until a toothpick comes out clean.

If you are still reading this post, I really appreciate it! I am going to reward you with my SUPER, TOP SECRET, Amazingly Delicious White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe! This is probably the best frosting I have ever had and it is probably the easiest to make!

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces white chocolate chips
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)

There are only two things that you need to know about making this frosting! It is IMPERATIVE that the cream cheese is room temperature. Secondly, it is very easy to scorch white chocolate in the microwave, check it often! Ok, here we go! Place the white chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl. Microwave at high power for one minute and stir. Continue to microwave at 20 second intervals stirring until all the chips have melted. (In my microwave it takes only one additional 20 second pop in the microwave, at 25 seconds I scorch, so WATCH OUT). Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of the stand mixer with the paddle for about 30 seconds. Slowly add the melted white chocolate chips. (If your cream cheese is at all cold your white chocolate will solidify and make your frosting chunky, it tastes fine, but isn't very smooth). And that's it! Isn't that easy? This frosting is divine on carrot cake and of course on hummingbird cake!

When your wooden pick comes out clean, place the pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Then unmold the cupcakes and let them cool completely on the rack. Frost with cream cheese frosting and enjoy!

Now here's the most important part! VOTE! VOTE, VOTE, VOTE for ME!!! Here's what I'm competing for:

The March ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:

A Bunnycake Easter Plushie by DOGBONEART,

A whimsical piece by CAKEASAURUS,

A pair of cupcake earrings from LOTS OF SPRINKLES at

A collection of all new printed cupcake liners, 200 in all from Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Cupcakery,

PLUS, IronCupcake:Earth can not forget our good friend, CAKESPY,, who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice - sweet!

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: 
HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS,, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson,, JESSIE STEELE APRONS; TASTE OF HOME books,; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, . And as a special thank you, we would like to once again thank DIANAEVANS -

Voting will begin no earlier than Sunday, March 29 at 8 p.m. at NO ONE PUTS CUPCAKE IN A CORNER, and will be open through Friday, April 3 at 12 noon.


  1. I voted for ya! Good luck and thanks for the white chocolate cream cheese recipe -that sounds like an amazingly decadent combination!

  2. Thanks Sweet Things!!! I appreciate everyone's votes... I'd love to win (mostly because I hate to lose) but it would be fun to do a give-away with some of the prizes!!!

  3. I work at Bass Pecan Company we are having a pecan recipe contest.
    Enter in a chance to win $1000 at our website