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It seemed appropriate to celebrate and make baked goods! I particularly wanted to make a hummingbird cake due to its abundance of fruit (which makes me feel like it is somewhat healthy) and I also wanted to use fair trade pineapples. I was previously working for Fairfood International, an NGO trying to make the food and beverage industry more sustainable. Whilst there I was involved in a project called the Land of Promise focusing on making the pineapple industry in Mindanoa, Philippines, more sustainable. With so many labels around these days, I sometimes overlook the fair trade label. However, working on this campaign has really pulled my head out of the sand and made me realise how important it is for us to support products which adhere to labour standards that we would expect in the developed world. You can find fair trade products everywhere if you look out for them, use this Fair Trade Directory to find products in Australia.
I realise it is difficult and costly to make sustainable decisions for all food purchases however every little bit counts. Greater support for products which make a difference illustrates to the industry that we do care about where our food comes from and hopefully given time and support, the industry can change and adopt more sustainable and fair practices.
I don’t know whether I am biased because I know these pineapples have been fairly sourced but they were really delicious! As a result, the cupcakes I made tasted pretty freaking good as well. I am not skilled in any way, shape or form at baking, but this was a really simple recipe that anyone can whip up in an hour. So reach out into the goodness of your heart and buy some fair trade pineapples and bananas for this deliciously ethical treat.
Hummingbird cupcakes with pineapple flowers
(Preparation time: 5 minutes, cooking time: 25 minutes, cooling time: 15 minutes)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 quarter of a pineapple, skin removed, chopped (alternatively use 2/3 cups of crushed pineapple plus 4-6 tablespoons of the pineapple juice)
2/3 cup roughly chopped walnuts
250g of cream cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup of icing sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. In a bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla extract, eggs and sugar. Then mix in the mashed bananas, flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Lastly fold in the pineapple and walnuts.
You can choose to make cupcakes or an actual cake, both are just as easy. I made cupcakes due to absence of a cake tin. Make sure your cupcake holders are greased, or use cupcake liners. Divide the cake batter into the cup cake moulds and cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes. To check they are cook, place a skewer in the middle of one cupcake and it should come out clean. Leave them to cool for 15 minutes.
To make the icing, use an electric mixer to whip the cream cheese, butter and lemon juice. Gradually add in the sugar and mix until the icing is well combined. Once the cupcakes are cool, dress them with the icing and decorate with chopped walnuts or some lovely looking pineapple flowers. To make pineapple flowers, thinly slice a peeled pineapple and place the sliced pieces on baking paper, cooking 30 minutes each side in a 180 degree oven. Dry in a muffin tin overnight or for a few hours so that the edges curve upwards to look like a flower.