Similar in taste to carrot cake or spice cake, this Hummingbird Cake combines traditional and tropical flavors like banana and pineapple and is topped off with a classic buttercream frosting.
Today I’m sharing a scrumptious southern recipe for Hummingbird Cake, which dates back to 1978 when it was submitted to Southern Living Magazine. As far as I know, no one knows where the name comes from but it is a southern gem! Over the years I’ve had this cake in different variations and have heard it called different names. I’m willing to bet if you try it you’ll recognize the taste too! Hummingbird cake is very similar to carrot cake, but instead of carrots and raisins inside, you have bananas and pineapple.
The addition of mashed ripe bananas and juicy pineapple make this cake extra moist and delicious. My family appreciates a less sweet cake, so I use some whole wheat flour in my version, making it taste a little more like a banana bread instead of a lighter, spongier cake. But don’t worry, the buttercream frosting ups the sweet factor for those of us that are into that (raises hand). For decorating the cake, I tried out a rustic look by scraping the sides a bit to reveal some of the layers. It’s cute, but I’m glad I had extra frosting to add to my piece on the side later! Frosting for the win!
Making a cake from scratch can be intimidating, but once you do it a couple of times you realize that the benefits far outweigh the extra trouble of combining your own dry ingredients. To me, homemade cakes always taste richer and more dense than a box mix. That doesn’t mean that I don’t also love and use box mixes! My most popular recipe on the blog uses a mix and you can make fabulous muffins with a box as well!
I have to admit, Molly Yeh has really been inspiring me with my baking lately on her new Food Network show Girl Meets Farm. She makes the prettiest cakes! I’ve been following her blog forever and being a food blogger myself it’s super motivating to see all her success.
One thing that sets this cake apart is that it has a great texture due to the nuts baked inside. I used pecans but you could also use walnuts. I’ve heard that toasting your nuts before they go in the batter makes a big difference in taste but in the interest of time I did not do that. Maybe I’ll give it a try next time and see! If you don’t like the crunch in your cake you could also leave them out entirely. Another added bonus is that this cake smells wonderful while it’s baking!
Even though most Hummingbird Cakes that I’ve seen use a cream cheese frosting, I really enjoy a simple buttercream for this cake. Making your own frosting, even if you use a box mix for your cake, is an easy way to up your game. It takes just 5 minutes to whip up and is positively heavenly!
I hope you will try and love this cake as much as we do! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment, or tagging me on social media with #allthekingsmorsels and @allthekingsmorsels.
Looking for more cakes? Try my most popular recipe, the Pig Pickin’ Cake!
For the Hummingbird Cake
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup coconut oil, melted
- 3 bananas, very ripe, mashed
- 8oz can crushed pineapple, with juice
- 1 cup nuts, chopped
For the Buttercream Frosting
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 3.5 cups powdered sugar
- 1/8 cup milk, whole
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Grease three round 9-inch cake pans
- In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients - flour, sugar, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon
- Using an electric mixer combine wet ingredients (eggs, coconut oil, mashed bananas, and pineapple with juice) with dry ingredients
- Add even amounts of batter to cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
- Remove cakes from pans and let cool completely (use a wire rack if you have one to speed up the time)
- For the frosting, use an electric mixer to combine the softened butter and vanilla in a medium bowl
- While mixing, gradually add in powdered sugar and mix until smooth
- Add in milk and beat until desired texture (smooth and a little fluffy)
- When cake layers are completely cooled, add frosting between layers, on the sides, and on top (I lightly frosted the sides for a rustic look)
- Garnish with chopped nuts
- Note: I usually make 2 batches of the frosting when I want the cake to be heavily iced. You will have some left over.