This month's challenge for #cocinARTE was to create a dish inspired in the following painting from John Constable of Salisbury's Cathedral.   

I envisaged the couple going for a walk in the countryside and admiring the cathedral and its peaceful surroundings. Afterwards, back at the comfort of their own home, what could be best than sitting in the garden and listening to the birds while having a nice cup of tea with a bit of homemade cake; Hummingbird Cake!


250ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
350g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
350g golden caster sugar
4 medium very ripe bananas
1 x 425g tin of pineapple chunks
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g pecans
400g icing sugar
150g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
200g cream cheese
2 limes
100g caster sugar
50g pecans

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 23cm loose-bottomed cake tins.

Sift the flour and cinnamon into a mixing bowl, then add the sugar and a large pinch of sea salt. 

Peel the bananas and mash them up with a fork in another bowl. 

Drain and finely chop the pineapple and add to the bananas with the oil, eggs and vanilla extract. 

Mix until combined, then fold into the dry mixture until smooth. 

Finely chop the pecans and gently fold in.

Divide the batter evenly between your prepared tins. 

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until risen, golden and the sponges spring back when touched lightly in the centre. 

Run a knife around the edge of the tins, then leave to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, to make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a free-standing electric mixer, add the butter and beat until pale and creamy.

Add the cream cheese, finely grate in the zest of 1 lime and a little squeeze of juice. 

Beat until just smooth - it's really important not to over mix it.
Keep in the fridge until needed.

To make a brittle topping, place the caster sugar and a splash of water in a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. 

Shake flat and don't stir it, just swirl the pan occasionally until dissolved and lightly golden. Add the pecans and a pinch of salt, spoon around to coat, and when nicely golden, pour onto a sheet of waxed greaseproof paper to set. See the video below.
Here is the link to see how it is done: video

Once cool, smash up to a dust (you'll need about half to top the cake - save the rest for sprinkling over ice-cream).
To assemble the cake, place one sponge on a cake stand and spread with half the icing. 

Top with the other sponge, spread over the rest of the icing, then grate over the zest of the remaining lime. 

Scatter over the brittle dust and decorate with a few edible flowers, such as violas, borage or herb flowers, if you feel that way inclined. 

Serves 14.