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Posted by Michael Stern on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 9:57 AM

Just about every day, the Orlean Market of Orlean, Virginia, sports a freshly made layer cake. My good fortune last week brought me to the market just after the arrival of a hummingbird cake, of which I got the first slice. Rich cream cheese frosting rimmed a moist cake that tasted of mashed bananas, crushed pineapples, and chopped pecans. When researching the Lexicon of Real American Food, we learned that this wonderful dessert was named for the National Bird of Jamaica, the Doctor Bird. Like all hummingbirds, it feasts on sweet nectar.

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