Continuing with honoring mothers during the month of May, it is my pleasure to introduce Robbie Cheadle and her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton. Both mother and daughter are writers and co-authored a book called While the Bombs Fell. It is the story of Elsie’s experience living through the bombing of England during WW2.
Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with ten children’s books and two poetry book.
The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions that children can make under adult supervision. Robbie has also published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.
Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.
Robbie writes two monthly posts for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms and Treasuring Poetry and one monthly post, under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle, called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends. Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.
What follows is Robbie’s story:
My mom turned 80 three years ago. She has never had a party and so I decided to throw a party for this ‘big’ birthday. She chose a flower theme and everyone in the family helped with different aspects of the arranging. One sister sent out the party invitations and coordinated the responses, another brought the fruit punch, and my dad went with my mom to choose flowery material and made all the overlays for the tables. I hired the outside tables and chairs, organized the food, and made the birthday cake.
This cake was a big undertaking. One of my younger son, Michael’s, favorite stories when he was three, was about a witch called Winnie who through a huge birthday party for herself. Winnie creates a 10-layered birthday cake, and each layer was a different flavor. I remembered this story (which I had read many times) and decided to make a five-tiered cake with each cake a different flavor. The theme of the cake would be flowers.
I set about making 30 hibiscus flowers from fondant (sugar dough) to decorate this cake. I used a variety of colors including pink, purple, yellow, orange, and red. I baked the four layers: the first and largest was a fruit cake, the second was a hummingbird cake, the third was a vanilla and chocolate marble cake, the fourth was a chocolate pudding cake, and the fifth was a strawberry jelly cake. Each cake had a different icing. I used royal icing for the fruit cake, cream cheese icing for the hummingbird cake, dark chocolate ganache for the third and fourth-tiers, and strawberry flavored buttercream for the top layer.
The day before the party was a marathon of icing and assembly with the hibiscus flowers being added to the final product. I was pleased with the final cake and mom was thrilled.
Recipe for hummingbird cake
Ingredients: 3 cups (1 cup = 250 ml) white cake flour, 1 1/2 cups white sugar, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon, ground cinnamon, 4 eggs, lightly beaten, 1 1/2 cups sunflower oil, 1 can (400 grams) crushed pineapple with the juice, 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecan nuts, 5 large, mashed bananas, and 2 teaspoons vanilla essence.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a deep 30 cm cake tin (must be deep as this cake is soft and will break if it is thin). Mix the sifted flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, and cinnamon together. Add the oil and combine. Add the beaten eggs and mix well. Stir in the pineapple with its juice, nuts, bananas, and vanilla essence. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. The cake will be firm and not move when you move the tin back and forth. Allow to cool and turn out onto a cake board.
Recipe for cream cheese icing:
Ingredients: 250 grams firm cream cheese, 250 grams butter (softened) 2 cups icing sugar, sifted, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence.
In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy and combined. Add the icing sugar slowly and beat between each addition. Finally, stir through the vanilla essence.
Thank you, Bernadette, for this opportunity.
52 responses to “HUMMINGBIRD CAKE – a very special birthday cake for a very special mother”
That’s a really beautiful cake…a work of art!
Thanks Angie. It is high praise coming from a woman of your talent.
What a lovely story Bernadette!
Thanks Dorothy. It is quite a cake, isn’t it.
Amazing! All those fondant flowers! Truly a task of love.
Hi Dorothy, I am pleased you enjoyed this memory.
A beautiful story with a gorgeous cake! A really piece of art! 🥰
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You are too funny!
What a wonderful thing to do for your mother, Robbie. You are so talented. I’m sure she was delighted. Thanks for sharing the Hummingbird Cake recipe.
Hi Darlene, Thank you, it was a lovely party.
Pretty, pretty cake! Tasty looking, too, which of course is the important part. Thanks!
It was a delicious cake, I agree the taste is king.
I agree, taste is the most important part.
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Wow, Robbie that’s some cake I’m sure your mum was absolutely delighted its beautiful 🤗… I have never made hummingbird cake will definitely give it a try thank you for sharing the recipe😘x
Hi Carol, this is a very nice tasting cake and it was fun to make something special for mom.
It does sound delicious, Robbie.. 😘
Hi Bernadette, thank you for hosting this post. I will share it on Monday for my recipes from around the world post.
It was my pleasure to host this post. A beautiful cake and an even more beautiful story to accompany the recipe. Thank you for sharing it.
That cake is a showstopper!!! I love how playful your friend made this cake to celebrate her mom. I’d have a tough time choosing just one slice from this masterpiece. Hummingbird cake is a BIG deal here in the South, and I just love it.
I am pleased to know you also love hummingbird cake. Thank you.
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Oh wow Robbie, what a wonderful cake and such a special birthday for you mum.
Everyone helping and all pulling together.
Including Michael with his idea of the layered cake..
Thank you for sharing. 🍰
Hi Sue, I am delighted you enjoyed our novel cake for mom. It was such a terrific party.
I remember when you were making this cake, Robbie – what an undertaking! Hard to believe it’s been three years. I bet you mom loved both the cake and the party!
Hi Teri, We had a lovely party and this cake was amazing. So much has happened during the intervening 3 years.
I’ve eaten hummingbird cake, but I’ve never made it. The picture of Robbie with her mom is just lovely (as is the birthday cake). It must have been hard for guests to choose what flavor they wanted for their piece.
Hi Liz, some people had a sliver of each flavour of cake. It was a great party. I have an idea for this year’s cake.
I look forward to hearing more, when the time comes.
I just loved that picture too, Liz. There smiles tell it all.
They certainly did!
Your cake IS a work of art, as readers exclaim. I am so glad hummingbirds are not baked into your cake, which sounds like a dark nursery rhyme.
It is obvious creativity is looping through the generations. Your mother is precious!
HI Marian, both my mother and father are creative. My mother knits the most wonderful jerseys and hats and my father makes quilts with gorgeous designs. I was brought up in a creative house.
I will keep that in mind if anyone ever offers a post that calls for 4 and 20 blackbirds as ingredients.
such love here
Thank you, Annette.
I literally just finished filling our hummingbird feeder when I saw this post. Awesome timing! Robbie and her mom look fabulous. And that cake is a true work of art!
Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed.
It is a work of art. You should see what she does on her blog for children. It is such fun and so creative.
Of course, I love the cake, but the best part for me was that it was in your mom’s honor.
We threw a 90th birthday party for my mother-in-law. On the day of the party, we discovered she was actually 91. At that point, there was no turning back and we pretended she was 90.
Thanks for sharing this story. It put a smile on my face this morning.
Hi Pete, that is a funny story. Some of the very elderly black folk in SA don’t know their birth dates, so they just pick one and celebrate on that day.
What an amazing cake and such a beautiful mother and daughter. Toni x
It is an amazing cake, Toni. Thanks for your kind comment.
Hi Toni, I am glad you enjoyed this post. My mom is very supportive of my artwork and writing.
Such a beautiful story and cake, Robbie. My mom loved hummingbirds, so I’ll have to try this cake in her honor and memory. Wonderful photo of you and your mom, too. 💕
Hi Lauren, hummingbird cake is delicious. I use the same recipe for carrot cake but substitute carrot for the banana.
Oh I love a hummingbird cake😍
And the cake looks so pretty!🌹🌼
It is a beautiful cake, isn’t it. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.