This classic Southern hummingbird cake recipe is a delicious, moist, and fluffy treat that boasts tropical flavors with key ingredients like bananas, pineapple, and pecans. The cake is smothered with cream cheese frosting for extra decadence - this is one cake you'll want to make again and again!
🌟 Why this recipe works
This delicious hummingbird cake recipe is everything a tasty cake should be - moist, fluffy, and full of flavor. The combination of mashed banana and pineapple adds so much flavor and texture to the cake while giving it a tropical feel, and the cream cheese frosting adds a luxurious finish.
Hummingbird cake (also known as Doctor bird cake) is a timeless classic cake with a similar texture to banana bread and appearance to carrot cake. Although it originated from Jamaica, it has been adapted to Southern tastes and has been a household favorite ever since!
It's such an easy recipe to whip up, making it the perfect home-cook cake to make without the fuss! Most of the hummingbird cake ingredients can be found in your pantry and just need to be combined in a bowl and baked - it's that simple.
Not only is this recipe easy to make, but it's a great way of using up overripe bananas. All-in-all, this hummingbird cake recipe is an excellent choice for any celebration or just to have around the house with a cup of tea.
Craving more delicious cake recipes? Give these easy-to-make cakes a try:
🍽 Key Ingredients
This section will list the essential ingredients to make this classic Southern hummingbird cake recipe.
Ingredients for the cake mixture
Flour mixture - All-purpose flour, sugar, ground cinnamon, baking soda, and salt form the dry ingredients for the cake batter.
Beaten eggs - No cake is complete without eggs. They are an essential ingredient to help bind the cake batter together.
Vegetable oil - Adding oil to cake recipes adds moisture and fat, which helps to keep it moist during baking.
Vanilla extract - To give the cake flavor and aroma, you'll need to add some vanilla.
Crushed pineapple - This tropical fruit adds sweetness and texture to the cake. Use the canned pineapple chunks with the juice.
Mashed bananas - For the best and most potent banana flavor, use overripe bananas. The softer they are, the better!
Chopped pecans - Pecans are a must in hummingbird cake. They give the cake crunch and nutty flavor.
Ingredients for the cream frosting
Unsalted butter - Butter gives the cream cheese frosting a smoother consistency and rich flavor.
Cream cheese - Cream cheese is essential for making any cream cheese frosting.
Powdered sugar - This is the main ingredient for sweetening up the cream cheese frosting, as it is finer than granulated sugar and makes the frosting thick and better for decorating cakes.
Pineapple juice - This adds sweetness and a hint of fruitiness to the frosting.
Vanilla extract - As always, you'll need some vanilla!
You can substitute 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 4 teaspoons of baking powder.
If you have fresh pineapple, use it and blend it for 30 seconds to crush it into pieces so that you have the pineapple juice also.
If you're not a fan of pecans, you can substitute them with walnuts, macadamia nuts, or almonds if desired.
🔪 How to make
Making homemade hummingbird cake is easy and requires minimal effort! All you need to do is mix the ingredients together, bake it in the oven, then top it with a cream cheese frosting. Follow these simple steps below to get started.
- Remove the eggs, cream cheese, and butter from the fridge to come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius), grease two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick baking spray, and line both pans with parchment paper.
For the cake
Whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until combined.
Proceed to add the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla, pineapple pieces with juice, mashed bananas, and chopped pecans, mixing until completely combined and thick.
Evenly divide the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow the hummingbird cake to cool completely at room temperature while making the frosting.
For the frosting
Add the butter and softened cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed until it begins to thicken and fluff.
Turn the speed to low and gradually incorporate the powdered sugar, then increase the speed and pour in the pineapple juice and vanilla. Continue to whip the mixture until you have a smooth, thick fluffy frosting.
Assembling the hummingbird cake with cream cheese
Cut each cooled cake in half so that you have 4 round layers (skip this step if you only want 2 layers), then place the first layer on a cake stand, and spread a layer of frosting over.
Add the next layer, spreading with the frosting, and continue until all 4 layers of cake are frosted. Now, spread the frosting on the outside of the entire cake until it is completely covered in frosting.
Sprinkle some chopped pecans on top and around the sides of the hummingbird cake to finish.
Slice, serve, and enjoy!
💭 Cooking tips
Baking the cake
If you want to make sure your cake rises evenly in the oven, evenly divide the batter into each cake pan and tap the pan a few times to remove any air bubbles before baking.
Use parchment paper
Be sure to use parchment paper when lining the cake pans - this will help the cake release from the pan easily.
When frosting, chill the finished cake in the refrigerator to set it properly before serving.
Slicing the cake
If you’re slicing the cake into four layers, use a serrated knife and make slow and steady slices for clean cuts.
📖 Recipe Variations
Making hummingbird cake is a fun and creative way to bring some unique flavors into your kitchen. Plus, you can turn the delicious batter into other tasty creations. Here are some variations of the Southern cake recipe you can try at home:
If you want to make cupcakes, follow the same instructions for the batter and fill the cupcake liners two-thirds full. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes and spread the frosting on top.
Hummingbird Bundt Cake
If you prefer a bundt cake, follow the same instructions for the batter and pour it into a greased 10-12 cup bundt pan. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow it to cool before removing it from the pan and frosting it.
Hummingbird roll cake
For this variation, roll the cake batter 1-inch thin on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10-13 minutes until golden brown. Allow it to cool before spreading frosting over the top. Roll up the cake with parchment paper still attached and chill before slicing.
🥗 What to serve with
Hummingbird cake is delicious served on its own, but it can be even better when paired with other flavors. Here are some of our favorite sides and toppings to serve with the cake:
Vanilla ice cream
A scoop of rich and creamy vanilla ice cream pairs perfectly with hummingbird cake. The coolness of the ice cream pairs nicely with the warmth of the cake.
Fresh Fruit Salad
Create a light and refreshing fruit salad to pair with hummingbird cake. The sweetness from the pineapple, bananas, and other fruits will complement the sweet flavors of the cake. Try this zesty fruit salad with sour cream dressing for something different.
Top your hummingbird cake with some freshly whipped cream, or try our maple whiskey whipped cream for an extra special treat.
🙋 Frequently asked questions
Why is my cake dense and not light?
This could be due to either overmixing the batter or not using enough leavener. Be sure to mix only until all ingredients are just combined, and use the appropriate amount of baking soda or baking powder indicated in the recipe.
Can I use self-rising flour?
No, self-rising flour should not be used in this recipe, as the cake will rise too quickly and then fall in the middle when cooling. It is best to use all-purpose flour and leavening agents for the best results.
🧊 Storing and ♨️ reheating
There are 3 ways to store your hummingbird cake once it has been decorated.
Room temperature - The hummingbird cake can be stored in a cake container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Refrigerating - If you need to store it longer, cover the cake loosely in aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Freezing - To freeze the cake, place it on a baking sheet and freeze it until solid. Once frozen, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and place it in a box for up to 3 months. When ready to thaw, remove from the freezer and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
🍳 Related recipes
If you're looking for other recipes to bake, check out our collection of 37 fun things to bake, and for more Southern recipes, try one of these 45 best Southern comfort food recipes.
These collections offer a variety of tasty treats that are sure to please! From sweet desserts to savory dishes, you'll find all kinds of delicious recipes to add to your repertoire. If you are looking for more dessert ideas I highly recommend my sock it to me cake and why not my decadent tiramisu.
👪 Serving size
This hummingbird cake recipe should be served in small slices, as it is quite rich and sweet. This recipe will yield around 10 - 12 slices, depending on how big you cut them.
Hummingbird cake is a delicious, moist, and flavorful treat that can be made in many different forms to suit your needs. With its delightful blend of pineapple, banana, and pecans combined with cream cheese frosting, it’s an ideal way to end a meal.
Love this dessert recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
Try one of my comfort dessert recipes for your next meal! And if you have any questions, I'm here to help!
Hummingbird Cake Recipe
For the Cake
- 3 cups All-purpose flour
- 2 cups Granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 3 large Eggs - beaten
- 1¼ cups Vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 8 ounces Crushed pineapple - with juice
- 1¾ cups Mashed bananas - about 4-5 bananas, ripe
- 1 cup Pecans - chopped, if desired
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 cups Unsalted butter - room temperature
- 16 ounces Cream cheese - room temperature
- 8 cups Confectioner's sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 teaspoon Pineapple juice
- 4 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- ¼ cup Pecans - finely chopped for garnish
For the cake
- Whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until combined.
- Proceed to add the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla, pineapple pieces with juice, mashed bananas, and chopped pecans, mixing until completely combined and thick.
- Evenly divide the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the hummingbird cake to cool completely at room temperature while making the frosting.
For the frosting
- Add the butter and softened cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed until it begins to thicken and fluff.
- Turn the speed to low and gradually incorporate the powdered sugar, then increase the speed and pour in the pineapple juice and vanilla. Continue to whip the mixture until you have a smooth, thick fluffy frosting.
- Cut each cooled cake in half so that you have 4 round layers (skip this step if you only want 2 layers), then place the first layer on a cake stand, and spread a layer of frosting over.
- Add the next layer, spreading with the frosting, and continue until all 4 layers of cake are frosted. Now, spread the frosting on the outside of the entire cake until it is completely covered in frosting.
- Sprinkle some chopped pecans on top and around the sides of the hummingbird cake to finish.
- Slice, serve, and enjoy!
I can only find the ingredients, but not how to prepare the cake?
The how-to section, but adding additional detail to the recipe card now. Thanks Isolde
Exactly how much vanilla to add?
Thanks for your question. You should add 2 teaspoon of vanilla extract 🙂