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Hummingbird Coffee Cake and Over-Cognition

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I am an over-cognitor. That doesn’t mean I’m intelligent, it means I can’t get out of my head and think too much about things that needn’t be thought about that much. I have difficulties reading some novels because I can’t finish the novel without writing it in my own way in my head. I will read a description, a quote, or even a wonderfully used vocab word and my mind will take off running at a hundred miles per hour in the exact opposite direction that the author was going.

I love bookstore sales where they have pile after pile of books, used and sometimes new, for a mere dollar or less. I get extremely carried away and buy any novel that looks like it might hold any hint of a well-written plot full of mystery and/or historical fiction (my two favorite genres), but more often than not, I end up with a book that I can’t finish reading, so instead I dissect it. I take out lines, ideas, words, and let my mind wander off with them.

Over-cognition, my friends, is not that great of a trait. It involves spontaneous creation of poetry, supposedly witty lines, situations, and stories in my mind at the most random times. Today at work in my research lab, I received a new sample from a patient to study and I spent my entire lunch break spinning up a (now that I look at it) rather boring medical mystery. That is what I do. I don’t know if that makes me insane, a mad writer, or simply someone who is constantly lost in the many thoughts in my head.

Maybe I’m meant to be a mad writer…like the 21st-century female version of Ernest Hemingway. But I honestly don’t think anything I have is worthy of publication. I only write down what I believe to be great. The rest I store away in my little noggin (yes I just used that word) for when I am sitting in an orthodontic office and the only things they have to read are brochures about gum disease and then I can lose myself in some story I created once in my head.

That being said, here’s a delicious recipe for a hummingbird bundt coffee cake that I made for Father’s Day last weekend. My Dad absolutely adored it and so did my family. The cake is so wonderfully moist and the glaze and coconut on top made it look so nice. Enjoy!

Hummingbird Coffee Cake (Adapted from Annie’s Eats)

Yield: about 16 servings
For the cake:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
8 tbsp. (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract (optional)
1 cup low-fat plain greek yogurt
2 mashed bananas (about a scant 1 cup)
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1 cup finely chopped pineapple

For the glaze:
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed

To finish:
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, macadamia nuts, or pecans


  • Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Thoroughly grease a bundt pan with butter.  Coat the inside with flour, tapping out the excess.  In a small bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Whisk to blend; set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla and coconut extracts.  Beat in the yogurt until well incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.  Beat in the mashed bananas and then the remaining dry ingredients, again mixing just until incorporated.  With a silicone spatula, gently fold in the coconut and chopped pineapple.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan and smooth into an even layer.  Bake, rotating halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes.  Let cool 20-30 minutes in the pan placed on a wire rack.  Gently loosen the cake from the sides of the pan with a knife, and carefully turn out onto the cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely.
  • To make the glaze, whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.  If the glaze is too thin, whisk in more confectioners’ sugar.  If the glaze is too thick, whisk in additional milk 1 teaspoon at a time.  Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cooled cake.  Sprinkle with shredded coconut and chopped nuts for garnish.  Let glaze set before slicing and serving.