In the mid-1970’s I received a recipe called Dr. Bird Cake from my neighbor who was originally from Virginia. According to my neighbor Dr. Bird’s hobby was cooking and creating new recipes to share. There is only one difference between the two recipes. Instead of using nuts the Dr. Bird Cake has 2 cups of chopped apples, the bananas & pineapple are the same. Bundt cake recipes were hot during the 1970’s and a bundt pan was used for the Dr. Bird Cake. Later I baked the Dr. Bird cake in a 9 X 13 pan sprinkling lightly sugar/cinnamon over the batter before baking. Never, never frost or glaze this cake because the flavor of the fruit is overwhelmed by frosting or a glaze. Think moist muffin for breakfast or a snack instead of a sweet, sweet dessert. The Dr. Bird cake remains my adult children’s childhood favorite.
The problem I have with most cakes is that they are either too dry or the frosting is too sweet, or both.
That was, of course, until I discovered this particular cake, which is apparently a Southern institution, right along with sweet tea and pimiento cheese. It is a little like banana bread with frosting, but even better. The original recipe comes from a 1978 issue of Southern Living Magazine but cuts back a little on the oil and nuts and adds a little coconut as well. You could just as easily skip both the nuts and the coconut if those aren’t your thing. Also, it is a great way to use up those overripe bananas!
And the frosting. Oh, the frosting. I use my Browned Butter Cream Cheese Icing because, well, it is pretty much the yummiest thing on the planet, and the slightly caramelized flavor of the brown butter is the perfect compliment to the richness of the cake. Don’t skimp on the frosting, or flake out and buy the store bought stuff. Its not that hard, and it is totally worth the effort!