Hummingbird Cake

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.

Pinterest image Hummingbird Cake

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.

Hummingbird Cake slice on blue plate

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 on stand side view

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.

Close up slice of Hummingbird Cake

How to Make Hummingbird Cake

  1. First you’ll combine all of your dry ingredients and set those aside.
  2. Next up is to cream the butter, oil, sugars and vanilla extract together until they’re light in color and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and egg white one at a time, mixing until well incorporated before adding the next one.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 overhead view

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!

Hummingbird Cake slice


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Hummingbird Cake slice
Recipe

Hummingbird Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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!


Scale

Ingredients

Hummingbird Cake

  • 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 (45 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

Instructions

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.


Keywords: hummingbird cake, southern living humming bird cake, easter dessert idea, easter cake

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Recipe rating

55 Comments
  1. Kit

    I baked the cake today, though i reduced the sugar by 70pct, its a bit too sweet… the cake is moist n good. I will reduce sugar for my next bake

  2. Nicole

    This cake was moist & delicious. I toasted the pecans & it made an already good cake great.

  3. Sue

    I’ve made other hummingbird cakes and have to say that this is the best one so far! I think the combos of white and brown sugar and vegetable oil and butter really made the cake taste delish – dense but moist and sweet but balanced. Only change I made was I baked in two 9″ pans (I didn’t have three 8″) so mine was a double decker instead of a triple but it was beautiful and a fantastic addition to Easter Brunch 2021!

  4. conny

    i made this one year ago, during the beginnings of the pandemic, and YUMMMMMMM, shared with co-workers (i’m a nurse) and household family, and everyone LOVED it

  5. Karen G

    I’ve tried this several times and it’s a favorite. I’m very curious to find out if the number of sugar for the frostings is a typo and it’s supposed to be only 1 instead of 10? I’ve done the frosting with 1 1/2 -2 cups of sugar? And I guess it can be based on preference but 10 cups just seems a whole lot. 

    1. Lindsay

      So glad you enjoyed it! As for the frosting, it’s not a typo. Cream cheese frosting can be very thin without enough powdered sugar. I’d be surprised if that small amount worked well, but if you were happy with it, then that’s great!

  6. Tara T

    We love this cake so much. For my daughters birthday she asked if I’d make it but as cupcakes. Can you recommend how you would adjust oven temp and cook time?

  7. Brenda Milcetic

    Hi Lindsay,
    Am wanting to make this awesome looking cake. What size of bananas do you recommend, small, medium or large?
    Thank you,
    Brenda

  8. ati

    hi, i’ve made some of your recipes and they’ve been delicious 👌thanks for your great recipes.
    for this cake, can i use frozen banana?

    1. Carys Haf

      Hi Lindsay,
      Is 1 portion honestly 900 calories? That seems like a lot..?
      But I will likely justify it to try it if those really are right 🙂

      1. Melissa @ Life, Love and Sugar

        Most of those calories are probably from the powdered sugar in the frosting. Feel free to reduce the amount of powdered sugar if you would like.

  9. Gloria

    Hi Lindsay, 

    What would the suggested weight per banana be? We have a variety of banana sizes in my country, I’m worried that if I use the larger ones, the cake may turn out too moist. 

    Thanks! 

    1. Lindsay

      Are you able to measure 1 3/4 cups of mashed banana? That’s going to be most accurate than me guessing the weight. I’m not sure what the weight is.

  10. Shelby

    Love this! Made it several times now & everyone raves about it!
    Have you tried making this as cupcakes? We are going to a cookout and I wanted some thing that was scrumptious but also something you can grab and go?

  11. Ally

    My husband asked for a hummingbird cake for his birthday, and I was excited to see that you posted a recipe for one. Needless to say, this cake was a home run in my house. It disappeared in 3 days! I love coming to your site for your recipes, they are truly the best! Thanks Lindsay!

  12. Brenda Milcetic

    Hi Lindsay, your cake sounds wonderful. Can I bake this in 2, 9″ rounds and then torte them?
    Also, can I use cake and pastry flour or should I stick with the all-purpose flour in this cake?

    Thank you and God bless,
    Brenda

    1. Lindsay

      Two 9 inch pans should be fine. Torting them is fine, it just might be a little tough to get a clean cut with the mix-ins in there.

      As for the cake flour, typically I say it’s fine because it’ll bake fine. I’m just not sure with this cake if it’ll hold up as well. Again, because of all the mix-ins. I’m just not sure.

  13. Conny

    This cake is scrumptious, was super fun to make, and is absolutely a new favorite. So so grateful for the recipe and the tips (like roasting the nuts), this will definitely be requested again and again. Thank you 💖

  14. Dawn

    Lindsay, I wanted to share with you that my whole family absolutely loved this cake, sadly it has disappeared.  I will definitely be making this cake again and again and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your recipe.  Yum!

  15. Dawn

    I’ve been wanting to make a hummingbird cake for awhile now.  Missing this cake from my favorite bakery in Chicago.  Your recipe popped up in my email recently & my anniversary is today, so this is the perfect occasion.  We are so looking forward to eating it tonight.  Although my cake isn’t as beautiful as your’s, I’m pleased with the complete look.  Now we must wait………ps, the aroma from these cakes out of the oven, best ever!

  16. Erin

    I have only had hummingbird cake once before, with raspberry jam spread between the layers. It was quite tasty, so maybe I should make this myself! I was wondering if you would consider creating a cookie dough inspired cake? Perhaps with an edible cookie dough between layers or something like that…

    1. Lindsay

      I hope you try it!

      And yes, I’ve definitely considered a cookie dough cake and just haven’t gotten around to it! I’ll definitely get on it! Thanks Erin!

  17. Mahboobeh

    Hi and thank you for sharing
    can i reduce total sugar to 1 cup? my parents can’t eat very sweet cakes because of diabetes and i think with bananas and pineapples it would be too sweet for them
    and second question: can i substitute brown sugar for white?

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t tried it with less sugar, so it’s hard to say. Reducing the sugar also reduces the moisture and can affect the texture of the cake. But if you’re going to try it, you could just use the 1 cup of brown sugar.

  18. Debbie

    I forgot to ask you in the recipe you say 2 16oz. cans of crushed pineapple but in the description you said it took 2 8oz cans to make a cup. Can you tell me which one makes a cup? Thank you

    1. Lindsay

      I’ll look back at it to see if I need to make it more clear, but two 8 oz cans is 16 oz. Just make sure to drain it fully. If you leave in the juices, it’ll measure out to be more pineapple, but it’s really just the juice. I hope that helps!

  19. Debbie

    This cake looks and sounds delicious. I knew I loved your recipes and the way you always answered all my questions even when you were on maternity leave. We have something in common I was born and live in North Carolina now. I can’t wait to try this recipe I have heard of it but, never made it or tasted it yet. Thank you for all the great recipes.

      1. Sunitha

        Hi,
        Wonderful recipe…just a doubt… if using fresh pineapple should it be chopped finely or crushed ?…can u pls explain the method of using fresh pineapple in this recipe…!

  20. Ann Adam

    Lindsay, is there a way of making this without the bananas? My daughter and I do not care for the flavor of bananas.
    Ann

    1. Lindsay

      You’d need to replace it with something else. Probably milk. I just haven’t tested it to know if the cake will turn out well that way. Honestly, that kind of ends up being a spice cake with pineapple and pecans in it. You could try making my spice cake and add those things in.

    1. Lindsay

      There seems to be a few different stories about where it originated, so I’m not completely sure. I read in one place that it first showed up as a submission by someone in Greensboro, NC to a news paper. I’ve already read that it has Jamaican origins.

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12