This delicious Hummingbird Cake recipe is a classic southern cake originally found in Southern Living magazine that is filled with bananas, pineapple, and pecans, and frosted with an amazing cream cheese frosting.
The first time I ever heard of Hummingbird Cake I was going through my grandma’s recipe box. She never made it for me, she was probably too busy baking the BEST Coconut Cake, but it’s a really popular southern cake recipe and as I read through the ingredients I couldn’t believe I had never had it! It makes an excellent Easter dessert, but to be honest there isn’t really an occasion that Hummingbird Cake isn’t perfect for!
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What is Hummingbird Cake?
Hummingbird cake is a recipe that was submitted to Southern Living 1978 by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina. This recipe for Hummingbird Cake remains their most popular southern cake recipe today! It is a super moist cake that stands out for using oil instead of butter, as well as a can of crushed pineapples (juice included!) and chopped bananas. It makes a very wet batter. Adding to the texture of the cake are chopped pecans which are used in the cake batter as well as on the outside of the cake as decoration for the rich, creamy cream cheese frosting.
Why do they call it Hummingbird Cake?
The name is a mystery but my grandma always told me that it is called Hummingbird Cake because hummingbirds eat sweet nectar and this cake is sweet enough to attract hummingbirds!
What flavor is Hummingbird Cake?
The pineapples and bananas used in the Hummingbird Cake give it a very strong flavor that can’t be missed. The cake smells amazing as it bakes in the oven and has a taste similar to banana bread (with the texture of a cake) once it has baked.
One of the unique things about the Hummingbird Cake recipe is that the batter has more wet ingredients (crushed pineapples and juice, bananas, and 1 1/2 cups of oil) than dry ingredients so it is much runnier than your usual cake batter. Don’t worry when you see it, just have a little faith, pour it into your prepared cake pans and put it in the oven. I promise it will bake up into the most delicious cake you’ve ever made.
Hummingbird Cake bakes at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. When it has finished baking let it cool completely while you make the cream cheese frosting. Mmm, cream cheese frosting is probably my favorite frosting! It has that little bit of tang in it from the cream cheese and it goes so well with the sweet pineapple and banana flavor of the cake.
Tips for Making Hummingbird Cake:
- Use ripe or slightly overripe bananas for the cake batter. This will give the cake a stronger banana flavor and add moisture.
- Pecans are a Southern nut so it is the classic choice for this cake BUT if you don’t like pecans you can substitute walnuts.
- Use the whisk attachment when making the cream cheese frosting. This whips the frosting and makes it a little lighter and creamier.
- Have fun with the outside of your cake. You can use pecan halves or chop the pecans whatever you like best!
When the Hummingbird Cake is ready to assemble you can have a little fun with decorating it. You can do a naked cake with the cream cheese frosting in between each layer and a sprinkle of crushed or halved pecans on top or you can frosting the whole cake and then press the pecans into the sides of the cake. It’s all up to you and what you like best. Either way you’re Hummingbird Cake is going to be amazing.
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- 3 cups All-purpose Flour
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- 3 Eggs beaten
- 1 ½ cup Oil
- 1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 8 ounces Crushed pineapple undrained
- 4 cups Pecans divided
- 3 cups Banana chopped
- 8 ounces Cream cheese
- 1 cup Butter
- 16 ounces Powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of your mixer.
Add eggs and oil mixing on medium speed until moistened.
Add vanilla extract, crushed pineapple, 1 cup of chopped pecans, and bananas and continue to mix until the batter fully comes together.
Spoon batter into 3 well greased and floured 9 inch cake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
Cool cakes for 10 minutes then remove from the pans.
Place Cream Cheese and butter in the bowl of a mixer and whip together until smooth.
Add powdered sugar and whip until fully incorporated.
Add vanilla extract and continue to whip until fully mixed in.
Place one layer of cake on your cake plate and frost the top. Place the next layer of cake on that and add another layer of frosting. Place the last layer of cake on top of that and use the remaining frosting to cover the entire cake.
Take the remaining pecans and press them into the sides of your cake, or on top of your cake. You can chop the pecans or use pecan halves. It’s all up to you!