Hummingbird Cake – a super easy, indulgent and stick-to-your-fork moist cake featuring the tropical combination of bananas and crushed pineapples with toasted pecans; generously layered, covered with cream cheese frosting. A classic Southern cake gem!
Forget what you’re thinking ‘cause this cake is not made with hummingbirds. A Southern favorite, this cake always makes its appearance on any occasion in the Southern part of America and also a popular one around the world. With good reason, it’s Sooooo easy to make – trust me. You can’t go wrong with it. Even with the frosting, no piping required.
This deliciousness goes under different aliases: Banana-Pineapple Cake, Doctor Byrd Cake, Bird of Paradise, Granny’s Best Cake, Never Ending Cake, Jamaican Cake, and my favorite – Cake that Won’t Last.
Nobody really knows why it’s even called the Hummingbird Cake in the first place. According to my nerdy research, Mrs. L.H. Wiggins’ Hummingbird Cake recipe was the first known printed reference for this recipe which was published by Southern Living magazine in 1978.
Mrs. Wiggins’ provided no explanation of what’s behind the name, leaving readers with a burning question. And since then, this cake has been the magazine’s most requested recipe.
And it’s true up to this day. Before I thought that I’ve tasted all the great cakes in the world ‘cause this gal here is a pure cake-o-holic. Ssshhhh. But when I had this Hummingbird Bird at a wedding in South Carolina, oh boy, I didn’t know that I ate up more than three slices of this. Just can’t help it when I love something.
This wonderful cake is a cinch to make and definitely is bursting with tropical flavors and textures. You can go either for a two-layered or three-layered cake. Or pile ’em up mile-high – whatever satisfies you!
Honestly, I totally enjoy this cake the next day. This gives time for the flavors to settle and marry, making it super flavorful and sinful. Yes, sinful in a way that you don’t want to share it with others. 😉
Tips and Notes:
- If in case your allergic to pecans, you may leave it out and instead add a cup of sweetened shredded coconut.
- Don’t drain the crushed pineapple cause you want that juice mixed in for an added flavor.
- Sweet fresh pineapple is a better option though when it comes to this recipe, if you have any available – finely chop and throw it in.
- When choosing the bananas, go for those brown or spotty ones as it yields a deeper flavor.
- Allow the cakes to cool completely on the wire rack for about an hour before you assemble them.
- If you can, buy an offset spatula. Its large surface area helps makes spreading the frosting easier.
- Dab a couple of tablespoons of frosting on the cake stand before placing the first cake. This ensures that it stays in place- it doesn’t slide off.
- I like to tuck some parchment paper under the edge of the cake to help with cleaning.
- This cake is best enjoyed after a few hours or even the following day.
Watch How To Make It
- 3 large (300 grams) bananas mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
- ½ cup sour cream/yogurt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple undrained
- ¾ cup (150 grams) brown sugar
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 cups (360 grams) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½-1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ¾ cup (6 ounce, 180ml) unsalted melted butter (replace with oil)
- 1 -2 tablespoons Bourbon (optional)
- ¾ -1 cup pecans chopped
Cream Cheese Frosting (Double, Frosting if you like a thick coat like in the picture)
- 4 ounces (113 grams) unsalted butter softened
- 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese softened
- 4-6 cups ( 440-660 grams) powdered (icing)sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1- 1 1/2 cup toasted pecans roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 inch baking pan with baking spray; set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk together these ingredients: eggs, mashed bananas, sugar (brown and white), sour cream, bourbon, and vanilla.
- In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
- Gradually add wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients; add whisk with a spatula until thoroughly mixed.
- Add the pineapple and it’s juice to the batter. Then throw in the pecans. Stir just until combined; do not over stir.
- Finally pour in melted butter and then thoroughly mix. Scrape down sides.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two greased pans. To release any air bubbles, tap the pans on the countertop and place in oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Whisk cream cheese, butter and vanilla until creamy. You may use a mixer, if desired.
- Gradually sieve in powdered sugar, mix as you go along until smooth.
- Finally, stir in the pecans.
Assembling the Cake
- Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter. Spread about about 1 1/2 cup of cream cheese frosting over cake layer. Top with second layer, and more frosting over cake layer.
- Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Garnish, with pecans.
- If desired, use crushed pecans to garnish the sides.