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A hummingbird cake is a traditional southern cake that is incredibly moist and flavorful. The sweet cake is teaming with flavors of banana, pineapple, and chopped pecans to make a melt-in-your-mouth treat. It will be a cake you’ll want to make for every special occasion. 

frosted hummingbird cake topped with crushed pecans

A hummingbird cake is the best of both worlds. The traditional southern cake is basically like if you combined carrot cake with banana bread. The hummingbird cake shares similar texture and flavors with the two classic cakes and is frosted with cream cheese icing like a carrot cake. It is the perfect mashup of flavors for any special occasion.

top down image of a slice of hummingbird cake served on a white round plate with a silver fork

SIMPLE HUMMINGBIRD CAKE RECIPE

A hummingbird cake not only tastes delicious but is also pretty simple to make. The cake, which can easily be made using one bowl, uses the typical dry to wet method to make the cake. The final touches to the batter include adding crushed pineapple, chopped pecans, and chopped banana. The special ingredients give the cake an almost tropical-like flavor while keeping it super moist. 

When the hummingbird cake comes out of the oven, it gets topped with a mouthwatering cream cheese frosting. It is the perfect complement to the sweet cake and is truly addicting. Seriously, good luck eating just one piece of this hummingbird cake — it is that good!

You could also use my tips on how to make a box cake mix taste better and leave out the dry ingredients and use a box mix instead! If you try it, let me know!

ingredients to make hummingbird cake and frosting

INGREDIENTS 

  • All-purpose Flour
  • Baking Soda 
  • Salt 
  • Sugar 
  • Ground Cinnamon – adds a nice spice to the cake. 
  • Eggs 
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Vanilla Extract 
  • Crushed Pineapple – Keeps the cake moist and adds a slightly tropical flavor. 
  • Chopped Pecans – Make sure they are chopped up well to avoid chunks in the cake. 
  • Chopped Bananas – Use super ripe bananas for a strong fruit flavor. 
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Shredded Coconut 
ingredients to make hummingbird cake
ingredients to make hummingbird cake frosting

HOW TO MAKE A HUMMINGBIRD CAKE 

1. PREP THE INGREDIENTS 

Preheat the oven to 350 and prep a 9-inch round cake pan with grease. Set to the side. 

2. COMBINE THE DRY INGREDIENTS 

In a large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients. Whisk to combine.

3. ADD IN THE WET INGREDIENTS 

Add in the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, including the pecans, pineapple, and bananas. 

4. BAKE THE CAKE 

Bake the cake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

5. COOL AND FROST 

Let the hummingbird cake fully cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and let it cool on a rack. When the cake is completely cool, frost it with cream cheese frosting, top with coconut if desired, and serve.

frosted hummingbird cake with a slice cut sitting on a cake spatula showing the cross section

FAQ

WHY IS IT CALLED A HUMMINGBIRD CAKE?

There are many origins to how the hummingbird cake got its name. The cake is thought to have been invented in Jamaica during the 1960s. One of the more popular theories states that the cake was originally called the “doctor bird cake,” which is a nickname for a variety of Jamaican hummingbirds, also known as Red-billed Streamertail. When the bird inspects a flower, it has a similar resemblance to a doctor inspecting a patient, which sprouted the name. 

Others claim the name of the cake came from the flavor and how it is sweet enough to attract hummingbirds. Another theory claims the yellow streaks of bananas are similar in color to the hummingbird’s feathers. 

The recipe gained popularity when it was submitted to Southern Living magazine by Mrs. L.H. Higgens 

WHAT DOES A HUMMINGBIRD CAKE TASTE LIKE?

A hummingbird cake is a super moist cake that kind of tastes like banana bread and carrot cake all in one. The banana flavor is definitely more prominent than the pineapple but when combined, it presents a nice tropical-like flavor. The cinnamon and the pecans also provide some warming flavors and complement the fruity additions nicely. 

HOW LONG WILL A HUMMINGBIRD CAKE LAST?

A hummingbird cake is super moist, so it will only last about five days in an airtight container before it starts to go. It is best to keep the cake in the refrigerator because of the cream cheese frosting. The cake can be frozen as well and kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

slice of hummingbird cake served on a white plate

MORE SUPER MOIST CAKES 

Hummingbird Cake

A hummingbird cake is a traditional Southern cake that is incredibly moist and flavorful. It's perfect for every special occasion!
3 from 2 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Kasey Schwartz
Servings: 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 8oz can crushed pineapple undrained
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups chopped bananas
  • cream cheese frosting
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup shredded coconut

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cinnamon, and mix to combine.
  • Add in the eggs and oil, stirring with a spoon only, until dry ingredients are moistened. Make sure to mix everything carefully and do not beat the eggs, as it will overmix the batter.
  • Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.
  • Pour the batter evenly into three greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
  • Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Be careful as these can stick to the pans.
  • Frost each layer with cream cheese frosting and top with shredded coconut.
  • Decorate with chopped pecans and more coconut on top if desired.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Nutrition

Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.004g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 304mg | Potassium: 149mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 68IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword: cake, cake recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

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About Kasey Schwartz

Hi, I’m Kasey, Founder of All Things Mamma – where I am dishing up family favorite recipes that are easy to make with simple, everyday ingredients. Plus – tips and tricks for living your best life!

Comments

  1. Can you use a box cake mix for this recipe?

    1. Kasey Schwartz says:

      I haven’t tried it but I bet it’s worth a shot!

  2. Can you use a box came mix for this recipe?

  3. Jennifer H says:

    What a pretty cake!

  4. Jennifer @ Mom Spotted says:

    I have never heard of a Hummingbird cake before! It sure looks good though! Yum!

  5. nicole @nicky_olea says:

    5 stars
    Just had to pin this one as I will be making this sometime soon. Like maybe this weekend!

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