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 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, and topped with my Cream Cheese Frosting, 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.
Hummingbird Cake Recipe
Like I mentioned, this iconic cake is one that my grandmother made throughout the years and passed her version of the recipe down to my mother and me. But I remember my sister-in-law making a hummingbird cake several 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.
How to Make Hummingbird Cake
To make this favorite cake, you’ll need these ingredients:
- all-purpose flour
- granulated sugar
- baking soda
- baking powder
- ground cinnamon
- vegetable oil
- vanilla extract
- crushed pineapple
- roasted pecans
To make, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
Next, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside.
Cream together the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, mashed bananas, and finely chopped roasted pecans in another large bowl. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. 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.
Remove from oven once done and allow to cool in the cake pans for about 10 minutes. Then, turn cakes onto a wire rack to allow the cakes to cool completely.
Once cakes are completely cool, frost 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 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.
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.
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
- 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.
From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published in 2011.