Sweet Enough for Birds
Southern cuisine includes many famously sweet things, from tea to pralines to sorghum syrup and fried pie. Sweetest of them all is hummingbird cake, a spice cake that includes mashed banana, crushed pineapple, and chopped pecans and is layered with cream cheese frosting. Culinary genealogists trace it back to the Doctor Bird, a swallow-tailed hummingbird that lives only in Jamaica, and a Jamaican banana cake that was its inspiration.
Where it’s Best
Our favorite version is baked by a lady in Marshall, Virginia, who brings one a couple times a week to the town’s Orlean Market, where it is served by the slice. If it is on the dessert table at Peaches ‘n’ Such in Monetta, South Carolina, it will be necessary to order it as a companion to the essential house-made peach cobbler. Also in South Carolina, it is almost always on the menu at the Triangle Restaurant and Manuel’s Bread Cafe. If you are a cake connoisseur, hummingbird cake is a must!
A century-old country store in rural Virginia, the Orlean Market serves excellent, from-scratch meals. Locally baked layer cakes are to die for.
A farm-stand cafe surrounded by South Carolina orchards, Peaches 'n' Such serves breakfast, lunch and, of course, peach ice cream and peach cobbler.
Loyal customers come to the 1961-vintage Triangle Restaurant for steaks at supper and meat-and-three cafeteria lunch. A South Carolina diamond in the rough!
In this town cafe with a French accent, specialties range from trout Reubens to variations of the croque monsieur. Save room for 5-flavor pound cake.