This Hummingbird Cake is tender, moist and delicious! An easy cake recipe full of banana, pineapple, pecans and spices, then covered in cream cheese frosting.
What is a Hummingbird Cake?
Classic hummingbird cake is often described as a marriage of banana bread and carrot cake, but without the carrots. Picture a banana cake with pineapple and pecans in it and then some spices. Then cover it in cream cheese frosting. Amazing!
When it comes to the origins of this cake, it’s traditionally a southern cake but seems like it might have some Jamaican origins too. According to Southern Living, it first showed up in North Carolina, which is where I grew up, so I feel like this cake and I should be besties.
But truth be told, I didn’t know much about hummingbird cake until recently. I never had it growing up or had even heard of it. I’ve had requests for a recipe before, but needed to get my hands on some to try it before I could really make my own version.
I tried some that I got at a bakery in our area and then made one I found online for comparison. Honestly, I wasn’t in love with the texture of the one I purchased. Had that been my only impression of it, I’d have written it off completely. The one I tried from online was much better in flavor. However, it really was like banana bread but with some stuff added to it. Personally, I prefer a different texture in a cake. That’s a little on the dense side for me.
So I set out to make my version. I have to say, I’m in love. It’s moist, tender and full of flavor. And it’s like eating cake, not banana bread. Funnily enough I started with my carrot cake recipe (that’s amazing, BTW) and went from there.
Hummingbird Cake Ingredients
The most notable ingredients in this cake:
- Overripe bananas – You don’t want to use yellow bananas, but also not bananas that are black and rotten. Well speckled works well.
- Pineapple – I used canned crushed pineapple, but you could use fresh pineapple as well. I completely drained the pineapple and needed two 8 oz cans of it to get a full cup after it was drained.
- Pecans – Chop these up so that they aren’t too chunky, then toast them. Toasting them brings out their flavor and makes them 10 times better. Don’t skip that step.
- Cinnamon and nutmeg – These spices just amp up everything in this cake.
- Butter and vegetable oil – I use combination of both in this cake for the perfect mix of flavor and moisture.
- Brown sugar and regular granulated sugar – Similar to the butter and oil, I use both for optimal flavor and moisture.
How to Make Hummingbird Cake
- First you’ll combine all of your dry ingredients and set those aside.
- Next up is to cream the butter, oil, sugars and vanilla extract together until they’re light in color and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and egg white one at a time, mixing until well incorporated before adding the next one.
- Then, alternate adding the dry ingredients with the mashed banana. Add half of the dry ingredients, then the banana, then the rest of the dry ingredients.
- Finally, gently stir in the crushed pineapple and toasted chopped pecans.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Once your cake is baked, frost it with a classic favorite – cream cheese frosting. It pairs with this cake perfectly and really finishes it off.
Hummingbird Cake is the Perfect Easter Dessert!
If you’ve never tried this cake before and are a fan of anything banana, this is definitely a cake you need to try! It’s just so darn good! I actually was heading to see my parents in North Carolina after I made it and took it with me. They tried it, along with some neighbors, (and none of them had heard of it) and everyone fell in love along with me. It would make a great cake for a special occasion – especially Easter, which is coming up. The only thing I want to know is why in the world it took me so long to make this one? Yum!
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This Hummingbird Cake is tender, moist and delicious! It’s full of banana, pineapple, pecans and spices! An easy cake covered in cream cheese frosting that you’ll just fall in love with!
- 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
- 1 cup (225g) packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (104g) granulated white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg white
- 1 3/4 cups mashed overripe banana (4–5 bananas)
- 1 cup drained, crushed pineapple (two 8 oz cans that have been drained well)
- 1 cup (107g) chopped pecans, toasted
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 16 oz (452g) cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup (172g) butter, room temperature
- 10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
3. Add the butter, oil, sugars and vanilla extract to and large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time, but do not over mix either.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until combined after each, then add the egg white. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well combined.
6. Add the mashed bananas and mix until well combined.
7. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Do not over mix the batter.
8. Fold in the pineapple and pecans. Do not over mix.
9. Divide the batter evenly between the cakes pans and bake for 27-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
10. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
11. To make the frosting, add the cream cheese and butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until well combined and smooth.
12. Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
13. Add the vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
14. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth. Add more or less powdered sugar, as desired for consistency purposes.
15. To put the cake together, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat, if needed. These cakes don’t have a large dome, but I like to make sure they’re completely flat.
16. Place the first cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round.
17. Spread about 1 cup of frosting evenly on top of the cake.
18. Add the second layer of cake and another cup of frosting.
19. Top the cake with the remaining layer and frost the outside of the cake. Refer to my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake, if needed.
20. Use a 9 inch offset spatula to create the spiral pattern on top of the cake. Place the tip of spatula in the center of the cake and slowly turn the cake in circles, dragging the spatula through the frosting and moving outwards with each completed turn until you reach the outer edge of the cake. Use the same spatula to cream the pattern in the sides of the cake.
21. Use the remaining frosting to pipe shells around the outer edge of the cake. I used Ateco tip 847.
22. Finish off the cake with some additional chopped pecans, if desired.
23. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve. Set cake out for about 2 hours before serving. Store cake in an air tight container. Cake is best if eaten within 3-4 days.
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