17 August 2012

The Gracious South in the Hot, Hot Summer

Since I have recently returned from a month in the Deep South, I am full of visions of the old southern mansions and ways. Touring this stunning old plantation gives a window into that gracious way of life long, long ago, before air conditioning, even.

I love the screened porch with the high, high ceilings (heat rises) and the cool blue-green floor.. and that lantern! You can see the moss hanging from the trees outside. A luncheon on this porch would probably end with a delicious slice of Hummingbird Cake and a tall glass of Pomegranate Lemonade (recipes below!)

you know you are in for a lazy afternoon napping in a hammock somewhere after
lunching on this stunning porch in the heat of the summer

I LOVE these turquoise objets on the sideboard of the entry hallway

said to have come from Marie Antoinette's own home, this table takes
pride of place in the center of the parlor

I love this fretwork and chinoiserie design on the side of the
"Marie Antoinette" table

a close up view of the inviting setting for lunch

this stunning crystal punch bowl is ready for
it's debut at the next big bash.. filled with
Planter's Punch perhaps?

the most essential item found in all homes across the
Deep South in the sultry days before central air conditioning

the quintessential Hummingbird Cake, a must in the baking repetoire of every 
respectable Southern baker! This recipe from Joy of Baking

Hummingbird Cake Recipe:

1 cup (110 grams) pecans, toasted and finely chopped
3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour
2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup (180 ml) safflower, corn, or canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 - 8 ounce (227 grams) can crushed pineapple, do not drain
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium sized bananas)

Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound box (454 grams) (about 3 2/3 cups) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (55 grams) finely chopped pecans
Garnish: (Optional)
pecan halves

Hummingbird Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray two - 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with a circle of parchment paper. 
Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop finely.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon.
In another large bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, mashed bananas, and finely chopped pecans. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, and then cool completely before frosting. 

Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and cream cheese, on low speed, until very smooth with no lumps. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and then stir in the finely chopped pecans.
To assemble: Place one cake, top side down, onto your serving platter. Spread with about a third of the frosting. Gently place the other cake layer, top of cake facing up, onto the frosting, and spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Can garnish with pecan halves. Refrigerate the cake for about one hour so the frosting has time to set.
Serves 10 - 12 people.

THE essential ingredient for perfect
Pomegranate Lemonade.. spiked or not!
Buy yours HERE

ahhh... THIS looks refreshing.. non?


Stay cool my friends! Thanks for visiting...


  1. I love Monin syrups! They are actually hard to find at specialty shops... my favorite is Raspberry in lemonade (or, in a pinch just Raspberry in club soda!).
    Yes, it's been very hot down here.... but this week is just perfect with warm, sunny days and clear nights with lots of cicadas.

  2. Lovely post. Everything is so pretty!

  3. Beautiful post. I love the porch specially, so lovely and nviting.

  4. What a lovely afternoon you must have had. Love the porch - even if it was hot, it must have been very inviting.

  5. What a lovely lunch setting and the cake looks delicious!

  6. the summer porch is beautiful full of light, I also love the punch bowl.

  7. Lovely post!the cacke looks so delicious and yummy yummy....Template Design

  8. I just found you through Katherine's Corner. Enjoyed the view from the Southern Plantation house. I could kick back and love life from there quite easily! I'm your new follower. Hope you'll stop by at Quirky Vistas and follow as well, if you like.

  9. Love that painting in the entry hallway. That cake looks incredible.

  10. Gorgeous photos...everything looks so romantic, makes me long to be back in the US! Tuula

  11. I really wish I hadn’t seen this as I really want one now!
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I would love to hear what you think! merci!


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