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Hummingbird Cake

A deliciously moist, classic Southern cake recipe, Hummingbird cake tastes almost tropical. This delightful layer cake is filled with ripe bananas, pineapples, chopped pecans, and topped with a rich cream cheese frosting. 


MORE RECIPES: Tornado Cake | German Cholate Cake | Earthquake Cake


Hummingbird Cake

This old-fashioned Hummingbird Cake is delectably sweet and dense. The ultimate choice for dessert on a special occasion, birthday, or serving to guests for holiday get-togethers.  

Hummingbird cake tastes like a cross between banana bread and carrot cake with a hint of pineapple upside-down cake. The fruit-filled spice cake is likely to become your new favorite cake. 

Rich and sweet, serve slices of this iconic cake with a refreshing glass of Southern Strawberry Sweet Tea during warmer months or a mug of hot chocolate when the temperature drops. In addition to being a heavenly dessert, you could also leave the icing off and serve this as a breakfast cake or cupcake.

Hummingbird Cake Ingredients

  • Pecans - chopped pecans
  • Flour - all-purpose flour
  • Sugar - granulated sugar
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Bananas - ripe mashed bananas
  • Oil - vegetable oil
  • Eggs
  • Pineapples - can crushed pineapples, undrained
  • Vanilla extract - pure vanilla extract
  • Cream Cheese - softened
  • Butter - salted sweet cream butter, softened
  • Sugar - powdered sugar

Bananas get sweeter as they ripen and are easier to mash. When you pick out bananas for this cake, choose ones that don’t have any green showing on the peel. If you need to further ripen your bananas you can place them in a paper bag with the top loosely folded down. 

Don’t drain the pineapple when you add it to the batter, as the  juice will add to the moistness of the cake. For an even moister cake, tightly cover the cake with plastic wrap and allow it to sit overnight before frosting. 

For a spicier tasting cake, you can increase the cinnamon to 2 teaspoons, add a ½ teaspoon of ground allspice, or both. Another addition that can be added to the cake is 1 cup of shredded coconut which can be added to the cake batter or pressed to the top and sides of the cake after frosting. 

How to Make Hummingbird Cake

Cake

FIRST STEP: Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Evenly spread the chopped pecans on the prepared baking sheet. Roast the pecans for 6-8 minutes, keeping a close eye on the pecans to ensure they do not burn.  Remove the pecans and allow them to cool completely. Once the pecans are cooled, divide them into 1 cup for the cakes and ¾ cup for garnish.

SECOND STEP: Increase the oven temperature to 350°F. Line the bottom of 3 - 9-inch round cake pans, and lightly spray with cooking spray.  Set them aside.

THIRD STEP: Using a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, ground cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set it aside.

FOURTH STEP: Using a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, vegetable oil, eggs, undrained crushed pineapple, and pure vanilla extract until completely combined.

FIFTH STEP: Carefully whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until all the ingredients are well incorporated. 

SIXTH STEP: Fold in 1 cup of the cooled chopped pecans.

SEVENTH STEP: Evenly divide the cake batter between the 3 round prepared cake pans. 

EIGHTH STEP: Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

Frosting

NINTH STEP: Using either a stand mixer, or a medium-sized mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, cream together the softened cream cheese and the softened butter for 1-1½ minutes.

TENTH STEP: Lower the mixer speed to low, add the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar. Keep the mixer speed on low until the powdered sugar starts to combine, increasing the speed to medium and mix for another 1-1½ minutes until smooth.

Assembling the cakes

ELEVENTH STEP: Remove the 1st cake from the pan and place it onto a serving plate. Using a silicone spatula or an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting over the top of the cake. Place the 2nd cake on top of the 1st cake layer and repeat the thin layer of frosting. 

TWELFTH STEP: Place the 3rd cake on top of the 2nd layer. Mound a thicker layer of frosting on top of the 3rd layer, using the silicone spatula or the offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly. 

THIRTEENTH STEP: Evenly spread the rest of the frosting around the sides of the cakes. 

FOURTEENTH STEP: Once the cake is completely frosted, spread the remaining chopped pecans around the top edge of the cake. 

Can I make this dessert nut-free? 

You can omit the nuts without requiring a substitute. For a different texture, you could also replace the pecans with 1 cup of sultana or golden raisins in the batter

Can I make this cake gluten-free? 

Gluten-free flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour in a 1:1 substitution. This dessert can also be made lower-fat by reducing the oil to ¼ cup and adding ¾ cup of applesauce.

Can I add alcohol to the cake recipe? 

Some versions of this Southern recipe call for adding a splash of bourbon or spiced rum to either the frosting or the cake batter. 

Can I use this recipe to make cupcakes?

For a new spin on the recipe you can turn this cake recipe into cupcakes, just adjust the cooking time.

How to Store Hummingbird Cake 

ON THE COUNTER: Hummingbird Cake can be stored completely covered on the counter at room temperature for 2 days. 

IN THE FRIDGE:  Store leftover cake covered in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. Take the cake out at least an hour before serving to allow it to reach room temperature.IN THE FREEZER: Unfrosted cake layers can be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow the frozen layers to come to room temperature before frosting and serving.

Print

Hummingbird Cake

Sweet and moist, Hummingbird cake is a classic Southern layer cake that is filled with bananas, pineapples, pecans, and topped with a cream cheese frosting.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Hummingbird Cake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 473kcal

Ingredients

Cake

  • cups chopped pecans
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups ripe mashed bananas (3-4)
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 can crushed pineapples, undrained 8-ounces
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 packages of cream cheese (8-ounce) softened
  • ½ cup salted sweet cream butter (1stick, 113 grams), softened

Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Evenly spread the chopped pecans on the prepared baking sheet. Roast the pecans for 6-8 minutes, keeping a close eye on the pecans to ensure they do not burn.  Remove the pecans and allow them to cool completely. Once the pecans are cooled, divide them into 1 cup for the cakes and ¾ cup for garnish.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 350°F. Line the bottom of 3 - 9-inch round cake pans, and lightly spray with cooking spray.  Set them aside.
  • Using a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, ground cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set it aside.
  • Using a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, vegetable oil, eggs, undrained crushed pineapple, and pure vanilla extract until completely combined.
  • Carefully whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Fold in 1 cup of the cooled chopped pecans.
  • Evenly divide the cake batter between the 3 round prepared cake pans.
  • Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

Frosting

  • Using either a stand mixer, or a medium-sized mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, cream together the softened cream cheese and the softened butter for 1-1½ minutes.
  • Lower the mixer speed to low, add the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar. Keep the mixer speed on low until the powdered sugar starts to combine, increasing the speed to medium and mix for another 1-1½ minutes until smooth.

Assembling the cakes

  • Remove the 1st cake from the pan and place it onto a serving plate. Using a silicone spatula or an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting over the top of the cake. Place the 2nd cake on top of the 1st cake layer and repeat the thin layer of frosting.
  • Place the 3rd cake on top of the 2nd layer. Mound a thicker layer of frosting on top of the 3rd layer, using the silicone spatula or the offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly.
  • Evenly spread the rest of the frosting around the sides of the cakes.
  • Once the cake is completely frosted, spread the remaining chopped pecans around the top edge of the cake.

Nutrition

Calories: 473kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 370mg | Potassium: 287mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 332IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg

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