One of my favorite things about having a kitchen garden, just off our patio, is the morning walk through the space with my coffee. It is a daily check-in that soothes my soul. We have a hummingbird living somewhere very near who flutters about just on the edges playing hard to get. In previous gardens, I have managed to make friends with the hummingbirds and they will be quite bold in visiting flowers while I am tending the plants. So far, my current birds have not gained that level of trust with me. I keep trying and most days I will tell them to come join me - but no luck so far.
Inspired by my desire to befriend the local hummingbirds and it being the citrus season, I am baking a rift on the old southern treat, hummingbird cake. I love all the flavors of pineapple, banana, nuts and cream cheese frosting but I don't love all the work. My version replaces an orange from our own tree for the usual pineapple and bakes the simple batter in loaf pans. Instead of cream cheese frosting, I add buttermilk glaze.
The other key flavors are the over-ripe bananas, sweetened coconut and pecans. By putting the pecans on top of the batter there is no need for pre-toasting. What's not to love!
Once baked, I have a sweet treat for my morning garden ramble. Do you think warm banana bread will tempt my shy hummingbird? I hope so! In the mean time, I will be the one walking around the garden in my slippers with a hot cup of coffee, a warm slice of banana bread and carrying on a conversation with a tiny little bird.
Send Me a Hummingbird Banana Bread
Adapted from Joanne Chang's, Flour's Famous Banana Bread.
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk (low fat is fine)
- 4 medium sized over-ripe bananas
- 1 medium fresh orange - zest and pulp
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 handful sweetened coconut
- 1 handful chopped pecans (for loaf tops)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Prepare to 2 4"x6" loaf pans with oil or butter.
- Peel and mash the bananas until they are slightly liquid and set aside.
- Zest the orange. Slice off the remaining orange peel and supreme the segments. Break the segments into bite sized pieces. Set zest and broken segments aside.
- Stir together all the remaining dry ingredients, except the pecans, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and light brown sugar until they are light and fluffy.
- Add the rum and buttermilk to the egg mixture and stir until combined. Mix in the oil by slowly pouring in. Stir in bananas, orange segments and orange zest.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until incorporated. Depending on how liquid your bananas are, you may want to add a little more buttermilk here if the batter seems too thick.
- Pour into prepared loaf pans and top with the chopped pecans.
- Bake for about 40 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan and allow bread to completely cool.
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- Make glaze by adding buttermilk to the sifted powdered sugar. Stir vigorously to remove any clumps. Pour glaze on top of each loaf.
Notes: A large loaf pan works fine, just increase your cooking time.