Hummingbird Cake Recipe. The mashed bananas and crushed pineapple in this super-easy tropical cake are a big hit. It is thought to have originated in Jamaica, where it was known as a Doctor Bird Cake. It is often linked with the American South, where it is thought to have adopted a cream cheese icing.
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Some say the cake is sweet enough to attract hummingbirds, while others claim the name comes from the way bananas, a main ingredient in the cake, mimic the beak of the bird. The end result has the moistness and flavor of a spice-filled carrot cake, but with the texture and flavor of banana bread.
Hummingbird cake has to be one of the sweetest and most delectable desserts available. Given their fondness for sugary nectar, it’s easy to imagine hummingbirds devouring this cake. Hummingbirds, on the other hand, are out of luck! This cake should not be left outside unsupervised.
If you make and serve this cake on the same day, it will be at its best. Before serving, leave the assembled cake at room temperature for a few hours. If you need to create the cake ahead of time, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator. Allow an hour or two for it to get to room temperature before serving.
Let’s get started!
Ingredients – Hummingbird Cake Recipe
- 2 cups (250g) chopped pecans
- 3 cups (370g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups mashed banana (4 ripe bananas)
- one 8 ounces can of crushed pineapple
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup (160ml) vegetable or canola oil (or melted coconut oil)
- 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- two 8 ounces (450g) block cream cheeses, softened at room temperature (16 ounces)
- 3/4 cup (175g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 5 cups (600g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 Tablespoon milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C).
Spread pecans onto a lined baking pan. Toast for 8 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Turn the oven up to 350°F (177°C), then grease and lightly flour three 9-inch cake pans.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt together in a large bowl.
Whisk the rest of the cake ingredients in a medium bowl.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk until completely combined.
Fold in 1 and 1/2 cups of toasted pecans. (Save the rest for garnish.)
Spread batter evenly between the 3 prepared cake pans.
Bake for 26-29 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Rotate pans halfway through baking.
Remove cakes from the oven and allow them to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack.
Once completely cooled, remove cakes from the pan and level the tops off so they are flat.
I simply use a serrated knife. Discard the tops.
Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy.
Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, milk, and salt.
Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Taste. Add more salt if needed.
ASSEMBLE AND FROST:
Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting.
Top with the 2nd layer and evenly cover the top with frosting.
Finish with the third cake layer and spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides.
Garnish with leftover toasted pecans.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before slicing or else the cake may gently fall apart as you cut.
Leftover cake is delicious covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
See our other great Eastern Shore Recipes!