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Hummingbird Cake

Review Recipe
a close up shot of a slice of Hummingbird Cake on a plate
The super moist hummingbird cake is a decadent layered delight brimming with fruity flavor that will be requested over and over again.
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Table of Contents
  1. Hummingbird Cake Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Hummingbird Cake Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storing Hummingbird Cake
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE
  7. More Dessert Recipes

A classic southern recipe, hummingbird cake is known for its tropical flavors. This deliciously spiced layer cake is insanely moist and topped with velvety cream cheese frosting and crunchy toasted pecans, which enhance the sweet flavors of pineapple and banana in the cake.

close up shot of a slice of hummingbird cake on a plate

Hummingbird Cake Ingredients

You’ll need:

For the Cake Layers

  • 1¾ cups chopped pecans
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (3 to 4) ripe mashed bananas
  • 1¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (8-ounce) can of crushed pineapples, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

PRO TIP:

Bananas get sweeter as they ripen and are easier to mash. Choose bananas that don’t have any green showing on the peel. You can ripen bananas faster by placing them in a paper bag with the top loosely folded down. They should be nice and ripe in a day or two.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup salted sweet cream butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

FLOUR: Gluten-free flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour in a 1:1 substitution. Cake flour, which has a lower gluten content but is not gluten-free, can also be substituted with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cake flour for every cup of all-purpose flour.

COCONUT: Add 1 cup of shredded coconut to the batter or press the coconut to the top and sides of the cake after frosting.

NUT-FREE: You can omit the nuts altogether from the batter or top of the cake without requiring a substitute, or you can add 1 cup of sultana or golden raisins to the batter for another fruity surprise in place of the pecans.

ALCOHOL: Some Southern cooks like to add a splash of bourbon or spiced rum to the frosting or the cake batter.

LOWER-FAT VERSION: Reduce the oil to ¼ cup and add ¾ cup of applesauce.

How To Make This Hummingbird Cake Recipe

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

STEP TWO: Evenly spread the chopped pecans on the prepared baking sheet.

STEP THREE: Roast the pecans for 6 to 8 minutes, keeping a close eye on the pecans to ensure they do not burn. 

STEP FOUR: Remove the pecans and allow them to cool completely. Once the pecans are cooled, divide them into 1 cup for the cakes and ¾ cup for garnish.

STEP FIVE: Increase the oven temperature to 350°F. Line the bottom of three 9-inch round cake pans, and lightly spray with cooking spray. Set them aside.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

You can buy pre-cut parchment paper rounds to make lining the pans easier.

STEP SIX: Using a large bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, ground cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set flour mixture aside.

PRO TIP:

For a spicier tasting cake, you can increase the cinnamon to 2 teaspoons and/or add ½ teaspoon of ground allspice.

hummingbird cake process shot of ingredients in a bowl

STEP SEVEN: Using a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk together the mashed bananas, vegetable oil, eggs, undrained crushed pineapple, and pure vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.

PRO TIP:

Do not drain the pineapple when adding to the batter. The pineapple juice will add to the moistness of the cake.

hummingbird cake process shot of ingredients whisked together in a bowl

STEP EIGHT: Carefully whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Fold in 1 cup of the cooled pecans.

hummingbird cake process shot of ingredients mixed together a bowl

STEP NINE: Evenly divide the cake batter between the 3 prepared pans. 

STEP TEN: Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

PRO TIP:

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cake at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

hummingbird cake process shot after cakes are baked

PRO TIP:

For an even moister cake, tightly cover cooled the cakes, before frosting, with plastic wrap and allow it to sit overnight.

STEP ELEVEN: In the bowl of a stand mixer or a medium-sized mixing bowl with a hand mixer on medium-high speed, cream together the softened cream cheese and the softened butter for 1 to 1½ minutes.

hummingbird cake process shot of ingredients whisked together in a bowl

STEP TWELVE: Lower the mixer speed to low, add the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar. Keep the mixer on low speed until the powdered sugar starts to combine, increasing the speed to medium, and mix for another 1 to 1½ minutes until smooth.

hummingbird cake process shot of ingredients mixed together in a bowl

STEP THIRTEEN: Remove the first cake from the pan and place it onto a serving plate. Using a silicone spatula or an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting over the top of the cake.

STEP FOURTEEN: Place the second cake on top of the first layer and repeat the thin layer of frosting. 

PRO TIP:

Make sure to keep the frosting between the layers nice and thin.

place frosting on a layer and stack another on a cake stand

STEP FIFTEEN: Place the third cake on top of the second layer.

STEP SIXTEEN: Mound a thicker layer of frosting on top of the third layer. Use the silicone spatula or the offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the top and around the sides of the cakes. 

hummingbird cake process shot of cake spread with frosting and topped with pecans

STEP SEVENTEEN: Once the cake is completely frosted, spread the remaining chopped pecans around the top edge of the cake. 

How To Serve

This old-fashioned hummingbird cake recipe would be the ultimate choice for dessert on a special occasion such as a birthday or Easter. The cake’s richness means that you can slice smaller portions, making it stretch farther for a family gathering. Add a creamy scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

You could also leave the icing off and serve this as a breakfast cake or cupcake.

For other irresistible cakes, try our banana cake, Kentucky butter cake, or our coconut poke cake.

Storing Hummingbird Cake

IN THE FRIDGE: You can keep this delicious cake covered in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. Take the cake out at least an hour before serving to allow it to reach room temperature.

IN THE FREEZER: You can freeze the unfrosted cake layers for up to 3 months. Allow the frozen layers to come to room temperature before frosting.

side shot of hummingbird cake with pecans on top with a slice cut out on a cake dish

This is the best hummingbird cake around and will make your taste buds hum with delight. It is a rich layer cake loaded with plenty of tropical banana and pineapple and topped with velvety icing that never disappoints.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is my hummingbird cake dry?

There are three ways to avoid your cake turning out dry. First, make sure you are using vegetable oil. Second, don’t drain the pineapple before adding it to the cake batter. You’ll want those extra juices. Finally, make sure your bananas are very ripe as they will increase the moistness in your cake.

Can I make this cake as a 9×13 cake instead of a layer cake?

While we haven’t tried to make this cake in a 9×13 pan, you are welcome to give it a try and let us know how it turns out!

Do you have to refrigerate hummingbird?

Since this Southern cake has cream cheese icing, it is best kept in the fridge.

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a close up shot of a slice of Hummingbird Cake on a plate

Hummingbird Cake

5 from 1 vote
The super moist hummingbird cake is a decadent layered delight brimming with fruity flavor that will be requested over and over again.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 26 minutes
Total Time 36 minutes
Servings 11

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • cups pecans, chopped
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups ripe mashed bananas (3 to 4 bananas)
  • cups vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapples, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup salted sweet cream butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • cups powdered sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Evenly spread the chopped pecans on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Roast the pecans for 6 to 8 minutes, keeping a close eye on the pecans to ensure they do not burn.
  • Remove the pecans and allow them to cool completely. Once the pecans are cooled, divide them into 1 cup for the cakes and ¾ cup for garnish.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 350°F. Line the bottom of three 9-inch round cake pans then lightly spray with Baker’s Joy or a generic version. Set them aside.
  • Using a large mixing bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, ground cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set it aside.
  • Using a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, vegetable oil, eggs, undrained crushed pineapple, and pure vanilla extract until completely combined.
  • Carefully whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Fold in 1 cup of the cooled chopped pecans.
  • Evenly divide the cake batter between the 3 round prepared cake pans.
  • Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
  • Using either a stand mixer, or a medium-sized mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, cream together the softened cream cheese and the softened butter for 1 to 1½ minutes.
  • Lower the mixer speed to low, add the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar. Keep the mixer speed on low until the powdered sugar starts to combine, increasing the speed to medium, and mix for another 1 to 1½ minutes until smooth.
  • Remove the first cake from the pan and place it onto a serving plate.
  • Using a silicone spatula or an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting over the top of the cake.
  • Place the second cake on top of the first cake layer and repeat the thin layer of frosting.
  • Place the third cake on top of the second layer.
  • Mound a thicker layer of frosting on top of the third layer, using the silicone spatula or the offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly.
  • Evenly spread the rest of the frosting around the sides of the cakes.
  • Once the cake is completely frosted, spread the remaining chopped pecans around the top edge of the cake.

Notes

  • Bananas get sweeter as they ripen and are easier to mash. Choose bananas that don’t have any green showing on the peel. You can ripen bananas faster by placing them in a paper bag with the top loosely folded down. They should be nice and ripe in a day or two.
  • You can buy pre-cut parchment paper rounds to make lining the pans easier.
  • For a spicier tasting cake, you can increase the cinnamon to 2 teaspoons and/or add ½ teaspoon of ground allspice.
  • Do not drain the pineapple when adding to the batter. The pineapple juice will add to the moistness of the cake.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cake at the lower end of the recommended baking time.
  • For an even moister cake, tightly cover cooled the cakes, before frosting, with plastic wrap and allow it to sit overnight.
  • Make sure to keep the frosting between the layers nice and thin.

Nutrition

Calories: 813kcal | Carbohydrates: 118g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 529mg | Potassium: 391mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 84g | Vitamin A: 932IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 3mg
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