This Very Well May Be the Prettiest Easter Cake of All Time
This classic spring cake not only tastes amazing, it's so lovely that it can double as a centerpiece on your Easter table or buffet. Who needs flowers when you have a cake like this? We updated our all-time most popular recipe, Hummingbird Cake, with a luscious cream cheese custard filling and rich browned butter frosting. The cake layers, flavored with ripe bananas, cinnamon, toasted pecans, and crushed pineapple, remain the same as they did back in 1978, when the original recipe (by reader Mrs. L. H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina) was published in Southern Living. They are moist, tender, and taste like a cross between banana bread, pineapple upside down cake, and a spice cake—a little something for everyone!
The gorgeous basket-weave frosting is a fun nod to Easter and is much easier to pull off than it looks. You'll need a pastry bag with a basket-weave tip, a star tip for the ruffle of frosting around the top of the cake, and two batches of the frosting recipe. Fit a pastry bag with a basket-weave tip, then fill it with frosting. Pipe basket-weave pattern around sides of cake, refilling bag as needed. Use a star tip to pipe ruffle around top of cake. If you've never tried this frosting technique before, practice with a little frosting on a cutting board or sheet of paper before you tackle the actual cake. (The folks at Wilton also offer step-by-step instructions.)
Best of all, you can make this cake in advance. Bake the cake layers and let them cool completely. Then freeze the cooled cake layers in zip-top plastic freezer bags up to 1 month before assembling and frosting. Make the frosting and custard filling up to 1 day in advance; store, covered, in the refrigerator. When assembling the cake, try this brilliant tip from our test kitchen: Pipe a ring of frosting just inside the top edge of each cake layer to hold the filling and prevent bulging. Add filling, and spread to edge of ring. Then, wrap the cake in plastic wrap after filling, and chill 8 to 24 hours to allow the layers to settle before you frost the cake.
Garnish with a few spring blooms and allow ample time for everyone to photograph the cake before you slice it up—this cake is Instagram-worthy, for sure.