Hummingbird Cake

 

Hummingbird cake is rich and decadent. Loaded with plenty of bananas, pineapple, and pecans, and topped with luscious cream cheese icing, this cake is a dream.
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Table of Contents
  1. Hummingbird Cake Ingredients
  2. Substitutions and Additions
  3. How to Make Hummingbird Cake
  4. How to Serve Hummingbird Cake
  5. Storage
  6. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
  7. MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
  8. JUMP TO RECIPE

Hummingbird cake is a moist, decadent, layered delight brimming with tropical flavors. This classic southern dessert tastes as if it came straight from a bakery. Made with bananas, pineapple, and pecans, and topped with a cream cheese frosting, this lip-smacking good cake will be requested over and over again.

If you love irresistible southern cake recipes then you’ll also want to make Kentucky Butter Cake, Tornado Cake, and Cajun Cake

Hummingbird Cake Ingredients

You will need:

Cake

  • 1¾ cups pecans, chopped
  • 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 to 4 bananas)
  • 1¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapples, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

PRO TIP: Bananas get sweeter as they ripen and are easier to mash. Choose bananas that don’t have any green showing on the peel. You can ripen bananas faster by placing them in a paper bag with the top loosely folded down. They should be nice and ripe in a day or two.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup salted sweet cream butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar

Substitutions and Additions

FLOUR: Gluten-free flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour in a 1:1 substitution. Cake flour, which has a lower gluten content but is not gluten-free, can also be substituted with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cake flour for every cup of all-purpose flour. 

COCONUT: Add 1 cup of shredded coconut to the batter or press the coconut to the top and sides of the cake after frosting. 

NUT-FREE: You can omit the nuts altogether from the batter or top of the cake without requiring a substitute, or you can add 1 cup of sultana or golden raisins to the batter for another fruity surprise in place of the pecans.

ALCOHOL: Some Southern cooks like to add a splash of bourbon or spiced rum to the frosting or the cake batter.

LOWER-FAT VERSION: Reduce the oil to ¼ cup and add ¾ cup of applesauce.

How to Make Hummingbird Cake

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

STEP TWO: Evenly spread the chopped pecans on the prepared baking sheet.

STEP THREE: Roast the pecans for 6 to 8 minutes, keeping a close eye on the pecans to ensure they do not burn.

STEP FOUR: 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.

STEP FIVE: Increase the oven temperature to 350°F. Line the bottom of three 9-inch round cake pans then lightly spray with Baker’s Joy or a generic version. Set them aside.

PRO TIP: You can buy pre-cut parchment paper rounds to make lining the pans easier.

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

PRO TIP: For a spicier tasting cake, you can increase the cinnamon to 2 teaspoons and/or add ½ teaspoon of ground allspice.

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

PRO TIP: Do not drain the pineapple when adding it to the batter. The pineapple juice will add to the moistness of the cake.

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

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

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

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

PRO TIP: Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cake at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

PRO TIP: For an even moister cake, tightly cover cooled the cakes, before frosting, with plastic wrap and allow it to sit overnight.

STEP TWELVE: 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 to 1½ minutes.

STEP THIRTEEN: Lower the mixer speed to low, and 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 to 1½ minutes until smooth.

STEP FOURTEEN: Remove the first cake from the pan and place it onto a serving plate.

STEP FIFTEEN: Using a silicone spatula or an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting over the top of the cake.

STEP SIXTEEN: Place the second cake on top of the first cake layer and repeat the thin layer of frosting.

PRO TIP: Make sure to keep the frosting between the layers nice and thin.

STEP SEVENTEEN: Place the third cake on top of the second layer.

STEP EIGHTEEN: Mound a thicker layer of frosting on top of the third layer, using the silicone spatula or the offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly.

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

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

How to Serve Hummingbird Cake

This old-fashioned hummingbird cake recipe would be the ultimate choice for dessert on a special occasion such as a birthday, bridal shower, or Easter. You’ll likely want to cut slices thinly as this cake is incredibly rich and sweet. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side for an extra treat. You could also leave the icing off and serve this as a breakfast cake or cupcake!

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: You can keep this delicious 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: You can freeze the unfrosted cake layers for up to 3 months. Allow the frozen layers to come to room temperature before frosting.

Hummingbird cake is a deliciously spiced layer cake. Brimming with fruity flavor and topped with velvety cream cheese frosting and crunchy toasted pecans, this yummy cake will make your tastebuds hum. Delightful enough to serve for a special occasion, hummingbird cake is also easy enough to make for a treat anytime.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is my hummingbird cake dry? 

There are three ways to avoid your cake turning out dry. First, make sure you are using vegetable oil. Second, don’t drain the pineapple before adding it to the cake batter. You’ll want those extra juices. Finally, make sure your bananas are very ripe as they will increase the moistness of your cake.

Can I make this cake as a 9×13 cake instead of a layer cake? 

While we haven’t tried to make this cake in a 9×13 pan, you are welcome to give it a try and let us know how it turns out!

Do you have to refrigerate hummingbird cake? 

Since this Southern cake has cream cheese icing, it is best kept in the fridge.

MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird cake is rich and decadent. Loaded with plenty of bananas, pineapple, and pecans, and topped with luscious cream cheese icing, this cake is a dream.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 26 mins
Total Time 36 mins
Course Cake
Cuisine American
Servings 11

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • cups pecans chopped
  • 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 to 4 bananas
  • cups vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapples undrained
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 ounces cream cheese softened
  • ½ cup salted sweet cream butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • cups powdered sugar

Instructions
 

  • 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 to 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 three 9-inch round cake pans then lightly spray with Baker’s Joy or a generic version. 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 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
  • 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 to 1½ minutes.
  • Lower the mixer speed to low, and 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 to 1½ minutes until smooth.
  • Remove the first 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 second cake on top of the first cake layer and repeat the thin layer of frosting.
  • Place the third cake on top of the second layer.
  • Mound a thicker layer of frosting on top of the third 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.

Notes

Bananas get sweeter as they ripen and are easier to mash. Choose bananas that don’t have any green showing on the peel. You can ripen bananas faster by placing them in a paper bag with the top loosely folded down. They should be nice and ripe in a day or two.
You can buy pre-cut parchment paper rounds to make lining the pans easier.
For a spicier tasting cake, you can increase the cinnamon to 2 teaspoons and/or add ½ teaspoon of ground allspice.
Do not drain the pineapple when adding it to the batter. The pineapple juice will add to the moistness of the cake.
Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cake at the lower end of the recommended baking time.
For an even moister cake, tightly cover cooled the cakes, before frosting, with plastic wrap and allow it to sit overnight.
Make sure to keep the frosting between the layers nice and thin.

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