Hummingbird Cake is a classic, Southern cake recipe. Made with bananas, pineapple, and pecans and topped with a cream cheese frosting! 

Hummingbird Cake Recipe | ©

Hummingbird Cake is definitely a favorite cake recipe of my family. My grandmother would make it for special occasions, especially around Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day or spring birthdays. It was always front and center at any family gatherings or church socials. Full of delicious banana, pineapple, and roasted pecans, Hummingbird Cake is one of those cake recipes that is just a Southern classic.

As with so many Southern recipes, I’m not certain where the name of this cake originated. Although it is certainly filled with such sweetness that you can only enjoy just a little bit of it at a time, which again makes it perfect for serving at large gatherings like church socials and potluck dinners. Thankfully though, no birds are harmed in its making or consuming.

Although, I do remember my sister-in-law, Karen, making a hummingbird cake a few years ago for my mother-in-law’s birthday. Even though my my youngest nephew, who I believe was about four at the time, helped her make the cake he stood close by to my mother-in-law as she blew out her birthday candles. Then, he ever so gingerly leaned over and advised her to be careful of the birds. I always think of him when I make this cake now and I can’t help but smile.

Hummingbird Cake Recipe | ©

As far as the original maker of 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 all a great favor by allowing our imaginations to conjure up all sorts of stories as sweet as her delicious cake.

Hummingbird Cake Recipe | ©

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.

Hummingbird Cake Recipe | ©

Here’s the Hummingbird Cake recipe my family has used for years. It’s a bit different from Mrs. Wiggins original, but I sure love the changes.

Hummingbird Cake Recipe | ©

Hummingbird Cake Recipe

Hummingbird Cake is a classic, Southern cake recipe. Made with bananas, pineapple, and pecans and topped with a cream cheese frosting!
4.88 from 25 votes

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Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 24
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup roasted pecans finely chopped
  • Cream Cheese Frosting


  • Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare three 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • 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. 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 before frosting with cream cheese frosting.
Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #addapinch

Robyn xo

Hummingbird Cake Recipe - Hummingbird Cake is a classic, Southern cake recipe perfect for serving at so many special occasions or when entertaining. Get this heirloom Hummingbird Cake recipe for your next event. //

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published in 2011.

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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105 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. I’ve made this cake and everyone loved it! I would like to make it when I go to Aspen,Co to visit my son & daughter in law. Do you know what adjustments I would have to make because of the higher elavation? Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

    1. Hi Gail,
      I am so happy you enjoyed the cake! It’s one of our favorites too!
      I think you will need to make some adjustments for elevation, but I don’t know what they are. There may be information about baking at high elevations online or from other comments that may help.
      I hope you have a great trip!
      Thanks so much! xo

    2. I found this on facebook, I hope it helps…Hummingbird Cake (for high altitude)

      3 C. flour
      1 3/4 C. sugar
      3/4 tsp. baking soda
      1 tsp. salt
      1 tsp. ground cinnamon
      2 C. mashed ripe banana (3 to 4 lg.)
      3 room temp. eggs, lightly beaten
      1 1/2 C. canola oil
      1, 8 oz. can unsweetened, undrained, crushed pineapple
      2 tsp. vanilla extract
      1 C. chopped walnuts
      3 T. water
      In lg. mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients.
      Add eggs, bananas, oil, pineapple, water, and vanilla.
      Beat until combined. Stir in walnuts.
      Pour into 3 greased and floured, 9 inch round, baking pans.
      Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 min. or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
      Cool on rack for 10 min.; them remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
      Frost with cream cheese frosting and top with chopped walnuts and toasted coconut.

  2. Has anyone made omitting pecans? My daughter has a nut allergy and wonder how it comes out without pecans. Thanks! 

      1. I have made a couple of Robins cake recipes before and I love everyone I have made so far…..My family loves Hummingbird Cake so I have made it before but I used a different recipe,so after I make this recipe I will come back and write another review.

  3. This is a fab recipe. I’m a big fan of your best chocolate cake recipe but had never even heard of Hummingbird cake before coming across this recipe (don’t think it’s well known in Ireland!). The recipe produces a really moist flavourful sponge though I was a little heavier handed with the pecans and cinnamon as I’m a big fan of both.

    The cream cheese frosting didn’t turn out anything like the photo for this cake though (perhaps I underwhipped the cream cheese as I was afraid of overwhipping it) but I thickened it with more icing sugar and did this as a “Naked” cake -, plenty of frosting on top and between the layers and everyone loved it. Would certainly make it again – thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m happy to hear how much you enjoyed the cake Grainne! As the story goes, the Hummingbird Cake originated in the southern United States. Thank you for the kind comment! xo

  4. Looks delicious! My friend is requesting this cake for her birthday this weekend, although she is asking for it to be gluten free. Do you think I can replace the all purpose using the same amount of gluten free?

    Also, I’ve never made this before. Is the texture different from banana bread? It seems to have a lot of similarities!

    1. Hi Gabrielle,
      It is a different texture than banana bread. I’ve not made this particular cake with gluten free flour, but in some of my other cakes, I’ve used the Cup 4 Cup brand successfully. Enjoy the cake – it’s delicious! xo

  5. Made this for my daughter’s birthday. Had no pecans in the house so I substituted walnuts. Reduced the powdered sugar in the icing to 2 cups and added toasted sweetened coconut to the sides. Looks pretty good to me! Waiting to cut into it to taste it,  it i can tell it’s going to be good.

  6. I have made this cake couple times my grandson is coming up on a birthday and this is his favorite cake so therefore I won’t be making it for his birthday

  7. Hi making this for my family. I do have a question  My grandson has an egg allergy and for a chocolate zucchini cake in place of each egg I use 1 Tablespoon white vinegar and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Do u have any idea if this will work?

    1. I’ve not tested an egg replacement in my Hummingbird Cake yet, Carol. If you try this with your egg replacement, please let me know how it turns out as I’d love to know. Thanks so much!

  8. Hi, Robyn. A friend introduced me to your treasure trove of cake recipes. You’re TERRIFIC! According to a VERY Southern member of my extended family, the name of the cake comes from the shape of the pecans. Frances Reynolds (Mayfield, Georgia) would cut whole pecans cross-wise — roughly four slices to the nut so the slices were fairly thick. The shape of those slices when baked in the cake look like a hummingbird on the wing, at least to her and the local “church ladies” (and me, when she introduced me to the cake back in the 1970s). Since they take up more room in the measuring cup, Frances would likely use 1.5 cups of pecan slices to the 1 cup you call for. She owned a pecan grove, so she had lots of pecans to put to use!

  9. We needed a smaller cake. I made 1/3 and baked in one 9″ pan. What a treasure!! It was a clear winner and we voted to continue baking one layer since it is so rich and delicious that it’s hard to stop going back for seconds. Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  10. If only pictures are allowed . Thanks loads for the recipe , it was amazing and moist and we loved it . Our first time to have it and won’t be the last for sure . May I ask you where did you get the white peaded plates ? Would love to gift it . Thanks

  11. The origin of this cake is from Jamaica.
    In 1968, the Jamaican Tourism Board sent this cake recipe all over America in press kits.
    The kits were aimed towards American tourists that were looking for a tropical vacation.
    The cake is called “Doctor Bird Cake,” as the hummingbird tends to each flower, just like a Dr would it’s patients. (*The hummingbird is the Jamaican National bird.)
    The recipe was created to suit kitchens and spices of American kitchens before it was sent in the press kits. ( There are no Pecan Trees in the Caribbean! I imagine they would use cashew, IF nuts were used at all.)
    The same recipe was printed in Southern Living 10 years later.
    I am currently simmering some pineapple to make jam to add to the creme cheese frosting. I find it adds a great touch of flavor.
    I cool it first, of course(pineapple, lemon juice and white sugar.)
    I will also add some ‘Mixed Spice,’ which is used in Jamaican baked goods. You can use fresh grated Nutmeg, Allspice, Clove and a little Anise, if you have, or like it. A little goes a long way. I live in the Caribbean, so I have access to fresh Nutmeg and spices

    My mother made this cake pretty much for every birthday growing up in the States.
    So,I am making this cake today for my husbands birthday tomorrow, and he’s never had it before!
    He loves banana bread and carrot cake is his favorite, so I imagine he’s gonna love it.

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