Weekend Baking Project

Weekend Baking Project: Hummingbird Pudding Cake

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[Photograph: Yvonne Ruperti]

When I bake on the weekend, it's often as a way to relax. Yes, believe it or not, I find making a twenty-step, multi-rise, or multi-layer dessert shenanigan to be relaxing. Well, with one big caveat: it's relaxing when I'm not making the dish for anyone in particular. If I'm just baking to bake, then I'll take on any project and make it into zen "me time." Add the element of strangers (or ok, even some friends) eating my food, and that relaxation all goes to hell.

That's why I often turn to low fuss dessert recipes for dinner parties. The last thing I need is to turn something I normally enjoy into a stressful experience, and thus rustic and simple is the name of the game. This Hummingbird pudding cake is a great example. It's made in just one bowl and its presentation—that old bake sale classic, the 9-inch square pan —immediately signals "this isn't a fancy dessert so...whatever."

But the flavors are there: it's moist, thanks to pineapple and banana in the crumb, crunchy, thanks to pecans, and features my favorite frosting of all time: tangy cream cheese.

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