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

Hummingbird Cake Recipe | ©addapinch.com

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 | ©addapinch.com

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 | ©addapinch.com

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 | ©addapinch.com

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 | ©addapinch.com

Hummingbird Cake Recipe

Hummingbird Cake is a classic, Southern cake recipe. Made with bananas, pineapple, and pecans and topped with a cream cheese frosting!
4.89 from 26 votes

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.
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Enjoy!
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. // addapinch.com

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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109 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. 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

    1. Hi Ashley,
      I’ve never used whipped cream frosting on this cake, so I don’t know. Not sure how it would work. Thanks!

  2. Hi Robyn Ive made this cake a few times and everytime a success. My mum, family and colleagues at office loves it!

  3. 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?
    Tganks

    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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Hi Robyn! My husband’s birthday is tomorrow and he requested something with banana, so I thought to myself, “hummingbird cake it is!” Do you think this recipe would work well in a 9×13 pan? I’m not sure I want fuss with a layer cake but I’m worried it might be too much batter. On a side note, I have been using your chocolate cake recipe for many years (it’s the ONLY recipe I’ll use) and it comes out wonderfully every time in all pan sizes!

    1. Karen, I’m afraid this recipe would be too much batter for a 9×13 pan. I think it would be fine in a half sheet pan (18×13 inches). I’m happy you love that chocolate cake recipe. Hope your husband has a very happy birthday!

  9. This cake is amazing! I’m completely grain free and I substituted King Arthur Paleo Flour (1 for 1). My family said it’s their new favorite cake and it was so moist they had no idea it was GF (other than the fact I ate some!). I later tried it with a buttercream frosting which was good, but if you like cream cheese it’s just not the same. I also only have 2 cake pans so I cooked longer and it worked wonderful!

    1. I’m so glad you found a way to make this cake with your diet restrictions. I’m so glad it worked so well for you. Thanks for telling us how you make it.

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