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.