Hummingbird Cake is a delicious classic Southern cake recipe. Made with bananas, pineapple, and pecans and topped with a cream cheese frosting!
Hummingbird Cake is a favorite cake recipe of my family. My grandmother would make it for special occasions, especially around Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, or spring birthdays. It was always front and center at any family gatherings or church socials. Topped with delicious Cream Cheese Frosting and full of banana, pineapple, and roasted pecans, Hummingbird Cake is a Southern classic cake recipe.
Table of Contents
Hummingbird Cake Recipe
How to Make Hummingbird Cake
Ingredients for Hummingbird Cake
To make this favorite cake, you’ll need these ingredients:
- All-purpose flour – Use a light all-purpose flour. You can also substitute it with cake flour.
- Granulated sugar – I use granulated white or raw cane sugar. Use your favorite sugar replacement for baking.
- Baking soda and Baking powder – both are used in this cake recipe.
- Salt – I use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. If you substitute with Morton’s Kosher salt, fine sea salt, or table salt, you will only need half the amount of the salt called for in the recipe.
- Ground cinnamon – adds a warm cozy flavor to the cake.
- Eggs – Use room temperature eggs as they incorporate the best into the cake batter.
- Vegetable oil – makes for a moist, tender cake. You can substitute with melted coconut oil, avocado oil, or even melted and cooled butter.
- Vanilla extract – Use your favorite store-bought pure vanilla extract or homemade.
- Bananas – Fresh bananas are mashed and incorporated into the cake batter. They add richness and moisture to the cake.
- Crushed pineapple – The pineapple adds so much fresh flavor to the cake.
- Roasted pecans – the toasted pecans add texture and flavor to the cake. However, I generally omit if serving where there could be a nut allergy or sensitivity.
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
- Whisk Dry Ingredients. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside.
- Mix Wet Ingredients. Cream the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, mashed bananas, and finely chopped roasted pecans in another large bowl.
- Stir. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.
- Bake. Then, divide the batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. You can follow my tips for how to tell when your cake is done.
- Cool the cake layers. Remove from oven once done and cool in the cake pans for about 10 minutes. Then, turn the cakes onto a wire rack to allow the cakes to cool completely.
- Frost and serve. Once the cakes are completely cool, frost them with Cream Cheese Frosting. I usually make my frosting while my cake is in the oven. Then serve and enjoy!
Origins of Hummingbird Cake
As far as the original maker of the hummingbird cake, it was submitted to Southern Living magazine for the February 1978 issue by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina. Even though she provided her lovely recipe, she did not include the story behind it or its name. Some would say that is a loss, but I think Mrs. Wiggins did us a great favor by allowing our imaginations to conjure up stories as sweet as her delicious cake.
Be sure to add this cake recipe to your must-make list for your next get together. It is sure to delight as well as quickly disappear. Remember to cut the slices thinly as it is rich and as sweet as southern sweet tea.
Role of Oil in Cakes
Cakes using oil in the recipe tend to bake higher, stay moist and tender longer, and result in a cake with an even, open crumb and a coarser texture than those using butter.
How Long Does Hummingbird Cake Last?
I prefer to store this cake in the refrigerator since it contains fruit and is topped with cream cheese frosting. In the fridge, it will last up to a week.
Here’s the Hummingbird Cake recipe my family has used for years. It differs slightly from Mrs. Wiggins’ original, but I love the changes.
Hummingbird Cake Recipe
- 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 cups (396 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (2.8 g) kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (1 1/2 teaspoons) ground cinnamon
- 3 large (3 large) eggs
- 1 cup (198 g) vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons (9 g) vanilla extract
- 1 (8-ounce) can (1 (8-ounce) can) crushed pineapple,, undrained
- 3 (3 whole) bananas, ripe, mashed (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup (99 g) roasted pecans, finely chopped
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Prep. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare three 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
- Whisk Dry Ingredients. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Cream Wet Ingredients. Cream together the eggs, oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, mashed bananas, and finely chopped pecans in another large bowl. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.
- Bake and cool. Evenly divide the batter between the three prepared pans and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Turn cakes onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
- Frost. Frost with cream cheese frosting.
- Store. Store in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap or a cake dome for up to a week.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published in 2011.