Hummingbird Cake

This classic, over-the-top cake first garnered fame in Southern Living magazine in the 1970s and has been a potluck staple ever since. Bananas and pineapple are baked into a spiced yellow cake, which is bathed in a rich cream cheese icing. Its slightly tropical, down-home appeal makes it an ideal dessert for picnics or warm summer days.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: Makes one 9-inch layer cake
  • Time(Other): Plus cooling
KEY: Baking, Easter, Mother's Day, American, Southern/Soul Food, Cakes & Cupcakes, Desserts, Make Ahead, Web Exclusive, Afternoon Tea

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  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, juice reserved, or 1 cup pureed fresh pineapple
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 5 bananas)
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • Chopped pecans, for garnish

How to make this recipe

  1. Make the Cake Heat the oven to 350°. Spray three 9-inch round cake pans evenly with baking spray. In a bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; stir in the pecans. In a large bowl, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the pineapple and juice, bananas, oil, and vanilla and whisk until the batter is smooth. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined and smooth.
  2. Make the Cake Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Give the pans a good bang on the counter to settle the batter evenly into the bottom of the pans.
  3. Make the Cake Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 25 minutes, then invert the cakes onto wire racks and let cool completely.
  4. Make the Frosting In a bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese and beat with a handheld mixer until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Place a cake layer on a cake stand and, using a small rubber or offset spatula, spread 1 cup of the frosting evenly over the top. Place the second cake layer on top and frost with another cup of frosting. Repeat with the remaining cake layer, then spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans and refrigerate to firm the frosting, at least 1 hour. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Make Ahead

The cakes can be wrapped in plastic and set aside for up to 1 day.

Contributed By Photo © Noah Fecks Published November 2014

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