This classic southern Hummingbird Cake has a flavorful light and moist crumb full of bananas, cinnamon, and pineapple, all surrounded by a smooth cream cheese frosting. The decoration is simple but elegant, sure to be a family favorite! You might also want to check out my other cake recipes if you love to decorate as much as I do!
What is a Hummingbird Cake?
Mrs. L.H. Wiggins is reportedly the first to print a layered version of what we know as a Hummingbird Cake, but she didn’t originate the cake. Apparently, it started out being called “Doctor Bird Cake”, a nickname for a Jamaican variety of a hummingbird. In addition, it was made in a tube pan and had no frosting. The pineapples weren’t drained and the bananas were diced, not mashed. That sounds interesting, but I do love the modern addition of cream cheese frosting!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Canola Oil: This cake is so incredibly light and moist. How does it get that way? Oil. As much as I love butter, some of my favorite moist fluffy cakes actually call for oil.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon brings some warmth and spice to the cake.
Bananas: You will need about 3 ripe bananas, mashed, for a total of 1 1/3 cups mashed bananas.
Pineapples: Drain crushed pineapples to add to the cake batter. They add a tangy and tropical touch to the cake.
Pecans: Toasted pecans add a delightful crunch and flavor to the cake. I even added some on top! To toast pecans, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the pecans in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 5-6 minutes, or until toasted.
Frosting: The cake is super delicious on its own, but to really step up the flavor, I added the best cream cheese frosting ever! Seriously, it is amazing. In fact, I even used a modified recipe for my homemade Carrot Cake (which you will want to try, too).
How to Store Hummingbird Cake
Because this cake has cream cheese frosting, it needs to be refrigerated. Just set it out for 30-60 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup (163.5 g) canola oil, or vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ⅓ cups banana, mashed (about 3 bananas)
- 8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ¾ cup (82 g) pecans, toasted, chopped
- ¾ cup (82 g) pecans, toasted, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 2, 8-inch cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients together.
- To the dry ingredients, add the oil, eggs, banana, crushed pineapple, and vanilla. Stir until combined. Mix in the pecans.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. (A few crumbs should stick to the toothpick, but no wet batter.) Start checking the cake at 25 minutes and rotate pans if needed.)
- Place the cake pans on a cooling rack for 5 minutes and then remove cakes from pans. Allow to cool completely.
- If needed, cut the tops off the cakes to level them if they aren't flat.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the vanilla, confectioners' sugar, and salt and begin beating on low. Increase speed and beat for about 3 minutes, or until smooth and fluffy.
Assembling the Cake
- Assemble the cake by placing one layer on a cake stand. Apply one even layer of frosting and repeat with the second cake layer. Apply a thin crumb coat to the sides and frost the top of the cake.
- Sprinkle the top with toasted pecans and press some into the bottom sides of the cake.
- Chill the cake until ready to eat.
Did you make this recipe?
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What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:
A moist delicious and impressive-looking cake! Perfect for your next big event.
Wow! I'm surprised I liked this cake so much (I am not usually a fan of pineapples in desserts). But, it was super moist and delicious, even without any frosting. And, the added crunch from the toasted pecans was a bonus! I knew I would love the frosting since we used that in our homemade carrot cake. YUM!
I think I really liked this cake especially since it reminded me of banana bread! It is quite moist! I am not much of a fan of nuts in dessert, but it fits well in this recipe. It is great without any additional toppings!
This is really delicious. Not too sweet and the cake could be eaten by itself! Moist and super delicious with the frosting!
So delicious, and the cream cheese frosting is my favorite. The toasted pecans add so much flavor and the hummingbird cake is like an elevated banana bread. Super moist and flavorful!