Hummingbird naked cake

I love doing takes on hummingbird cake, just because the combination of banana, cream cheese, and pecan is a lot of fun to play around with. Sometimes pineapple and coconut can be added in too, but for this variation, I just wanted to keep it down to those core three flavors. I mentioned. I also introduced cardamom to the mix, just because cardamom and banana is actually a great combination, with the fragrant floral notes of the cardamom adding a layer of complexity to the starchier, sweet banana. For this cake, we have a Korean banana milk chiffon cake, a banana milk-cardamom soak, cardamom cheesecake mousse, brown sugar-pecan cookie crunch, and a roasted banana pudding. In a way, this cake is as much hummingbird as it is banana pudding, which makes it twice the fun for half the cake!

For the banana milk chiffon cake:
2 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup banana milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons canola oil
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Whip the egg yolks with half the sugar, the banana milk, vanilla, and canola oil. In another bowl, whip the egg whites with the remaining sugar. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Fold your three mixtures together. Pour and spread the batter into a lined half sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes. Cool the cake down completely before unmolding and cutting out two 6-inch rings and two 6-inch half rings.

For the banana-cardamom soak:
2/3 cups banana milk
a pinch of cardamom
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix to form your soak.

For the brown sugar-pecan crunch:
1/2 cup crushed pecans
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine ingredients to form a dough. Crumble into smaller, thumbnail-sized pieces and bake at 375 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes. Allow the crunch to cool before using.

For the roasted banana pudding:
3 bananas that have been in your freezer for at least a day
1/4 cup banana milk
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Throw the bananas into a 350 degree F oven until they are completely thawed and warm to the touch. Peel them and transfer to a blender with your banana milk.

For the cardamom cheesecake:
1/4 cup water, in two parts
1 teaspoon gelatin powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 oz cream cheese

In a bowl, mix the gelatin with half of the water. Melt the gelatin in a pot with sugar, cardamom, salt, and the remaining water. Reduce that by half. In a bowl, whip the vanilla with cream cheese. Pour the reduced cardamom syrup into the cream cheese and whip until combined and smooth.

For assembly:
Start by lining a 6-inch ring mold with acetate. Place the two half circles down first, then 1/3 of your soak. Spread on a thin layer of 1/3 of the banana custard, then 1/3 of your crunch, then 1/3 of your cheesecake. Repeat for the second layer. For the third layer, do the soak, then a thin layer of your cheesecake first, then the custard on top. Freeze the cake for about 4 hours then unmold it, removing the acetate. Finish with the last 1/3 of your crumb on top and some whole pecans for garnish to finish.

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