This Hummingbird cake recipe is so light, creamy and sweet and with just a few tropical ingredients like pineapple with nuts, you’ll feel like you’re in the deep south!
Classically served with sweet tea, this easy dessert is perfect after a delicious southern meal like fried chicken, collard greens, or shrimp and grits. This is a cake you make the day before and chill in the fridge. The flavors just pop when it is served cold!
What is Hummingbird Cake?
This cake actually has a story behind it! Hummingbird cake is popular in the south but it’s named after the national bird from the island of Jamaica.
In Jamaica, it’s also known as the Doctor Bird cake, because that’s what they call hummingbirds there. Full of moisture and flavor this cake contains bananas and pineapple. In America, we use 9” round cake pans, but in Jamaica, they often use bundt pans. With pecans as a decoration on the top, this humble cake is still so very charming!
Pro Tip: toast the pecans in a small saute pan on the stove and let them cool completely. Toasting nuts keep them crunchy and intensifies their flavor!
How to Make Hummingbird Cake
This is an easy cake to make from scratch since there isn’t a real substitute for it in a pre-packaged mix.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line two 9” round cakes with parchment paper and then grease and flour them.
- Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
Turn cake layers onto wire racks and let them cool completely before assembling and frosting them, about one hour.
Tips for Layering a Cake
- Place a dab of frosting on the bottom of the serving plate so the first layer stays put.
- Put the first layer flat side down. Be generous with that first layer of frosting. This is the part everyone notices!
- Place the second cake top side down to make the cake flat across the top (this is why you need to be generous with that middle layer of frosting).
- Place the second layer on top and press gently to make sure it sticks. Frost going around the cake instead of one space at a time to get the cake evenly coated.
- Press toasted pecans onto the top of the cake and chill overnight.
These tips work great not just for this cake but for all layered cakes like a rich German chocolate cake, sweet strawberries and cream cake, or this classic yellow cake!
How Long Does Hummingbird Cake Last?
Hummingbird cake is also known as “doesn’t last long cake” but if you have extra cake, keep it in the fridge for up to a week or so.
Can It be Frozen?
Like most cakes and bread, hummingbird cake can easily be frozen. It’s best frozen in layers before it is frosted, but you can freeze entire pieces of already prepared cake. Simply wrap it tightly, label it with a date and pop it in the freezer!
More Delicious Cakes To Try
- The Best Strawberry Layer Cake – so fresh
- Chocolate Banana Cake – easy and delicious
- Easy Strawberry Shortcake Recipe – seriously easy
- Texas Sheet Cake – kids love this
- Pina Colada Sheet Cake – kid approved
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups ripe bananas mashed
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 8 ounces crushed pineapple undrained
- 3 large eggs beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 cup butter softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar 32 ounces
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups pecans chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of 3-9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour pans.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the first 6 ingredients. Add the bananas, oil, pineapple, eggs, vanilla and pecans and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared pans.
- Bake in preheated oven for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto wire rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.
MAKE THE FROSTING
- In a medium mixing bowl , using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating on low speed, until combined. Add vanilla and stir to combine.
- Place the first layer of cake on a serving plate. Evenly spread one forth of the frosting over top. Repeat with remaining layers. Spread the remaining frosting over the sides of the cake.
- Press 2 cups chopped pecans onto the sides of the cake. Refrigerate overnight.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Great easy recipes. Thank You.
Could you substitute chopped canned peaches for pineapple?
We have only made this recipe as written but chopped peaches should work in place of the pineapple! Let us know how it turns out!
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I made this cake years ago and it is delicious. The only thing different back then was I used an angel food cake pan. It was so moist it would keep for several day with foil over it and it did not even need icing.
Delicious Vicki! Thanks for sharing.
Looks wonderful. I’d love to make it, but layer cakes are difficult for me and I only have 2 round pans. I really would like to make it a sheet cake. Can you tell me what size would work and the time and temp please. How about using macadamia nuts rather than pecan to keep with the tropical theme.
I’ve only made this as written. I would cook it about the same time as I’d cook a carrot cake and just check that it’s cooked through about 10 minutes before. Let us know how it goes!
Cake was good but icing is way way to sweet
My hummingbird cake is in the oven. I was cleaning up and discovered the eggs still sitting on my bench . Will it combine ok when cooked please?
I can’t say for sure, there is enough moisture that it might be ok. Let us know how it works out.