Hummingbird Cake

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Hummingbird Cake is a dense and moist southern cake flavored with bananas, pineapple, and cinnamon and covered in a rich cream cheese frosting topped with toasted pecans.

Hummingbird Cake

The first Hummingbird Cake recipe was published in Southern Living magazine in 1978 after being submitted by a reader from Greensboro, North Carolina. It became the most requested recipe in the magazine’s history

Hummingbird Cake

Typically dense and moist and very rich and sweet, Hummingbird Cake is a greatΒ dessert for parties and get togethers. It will fill you up in a hurry and should be cut in small slices. It is known to induce tummy aches if eaten in too large a quantity.

Hummingbird Cake almost tastes like banana bread and carrot cake had a baby together. The banana flavor overshadows the pineapple, but the pineapple no doubt helps create a moist cake and the little pieces of pineapple help give Hummingbird Cake its unique texture.

Hummingbird Cake

Occasionally, Hummingbird Cakes will have coconut in them, probably because coconut is such a natural fit with banana and pineapple. The mashed banana, crushed pineapple, and Vegetable oil keep the cake very moist and the pecans provide some crunch and texture contrast.

Hummingbird Cake

The technique for making the cream cheese frosting is from America’s Test Kitchen and I love it. Instead of starting the frosting by beating together softened butter and softened cream cheese, you beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together and then add 1-ounce pieces of CHILLED cream cheese. The end result is a thicker, firmer cream cheese frosting that holds its form better when you spread it between the cake layers, making the cake much easier to frost.

Plus it just seems to taste better right from the get go because the cold cream cheese chills the frosting some. I’ve never found room temperature cream cheese frosting to taste very good.

You would think that the cream cheese would have trouble blending in evenly with the rest of the ingredients, but it magically and instantly gets completely absorbed into the frosting. You will have a hard time not sticking your finger in for a taste or two.

Hummingbird Cake

Next special occasion, bake up a Hummingbird Cake. Each bite will surely make you and your guests hum with delight πŸ™‚

Hummingbird Cake

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Watch the short video below to see how to make Hummingbird Cake.

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Cake

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 20
Calories: 667kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
A classic southern cake filled with banana, pineapple, and pecans, and topped with a thick cream cheese icing.
Print Recipe


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups very ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 cups toasted chopped pecans, divided
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, cut into 1-ounce pieces and chilled


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 9-inch cake pans.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, 2 cups sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice.
  • Add vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and eggs and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  • Stir in banana, 1 cup pecans, and pineapple just until evenly mixed.
  • Divide batter evenly between the 3 cake pans. Place in oven and bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  • To make frosting, use and electric mixer to beat together butter and powdered sugar, adding powdered sugar gradually. Add vanilla extract and salt and mix until smooth.
  • With mixer on medium, add 1 piece of cream cheese at a time. Turn mixer off once all cream cheese has been incorporated.
  • Spread frosting between layers of cake and cover top and sides. Sprinkle remaining chopped pecans on top.


Calories: 667kcal

More Southern Cakes

Banana Foster Cake

Almond Cake with Amaretto Filling

Coca Cola Cake

Red Velvet Cake

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164 thoughts on “Hummingbird Cake

  1. Just made this recipe for Easter and loved it! I put in a bit more cinnamon and allspice than the recipe called for and it was perfect. I did 2/3 of the recipe and baked it in a 9×13. Thank you! I will definitely make it again.

      1. When you say adjust the baking time , do you mean more or less time to bake and is the frosting amount still correct??

  2. I love everything mentioned in this cake except for the bananas. Would it be ok to leave out the bananas? Or possibly substitute them with something else? Thank you for sharing! It sounds like the most amazing cake! πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

  3. Hello, when I made my first Hummingbird Cake , my Mother declared it as her FAVORITE. CAKE ever! I have made it every year since on her Birthday. We were wondering if we could substitute Manderine Oranges in place of the Pineapple? If so how would we go about it?
    Thank you very much for your time, abd wonderful recipes.

  4. This cake was DELICIOUS!! Loved the combo.
    I also need to earn my heaven points for the day, so here’s the recipe reduced by a third for those who want to bake it in 2 9-inch pans or 3 6-inch pans (which is what I did).
    2 c flour
    1 1/3c sugar
    2/3 tsp salt, baking powder, baking soda
    shake of cinnamon and pinch of nutmeg
    .87 cup of veg oil ( I did 2/3 and then a bit more)
    1 1/3 tsp vanilla (I just did like a 2-second splash)
    2 eggs
    heaping cup of mashed bananas
    1 1/3c nuts ( I used walnuts, that’s what I had)
    5 1/3 oz crushed pineapple (Okay mine was like 7 I wanted more pineapple flavor)

    2/3c butter
    ~4 c powdered sugar
    1 8 oz cream cheese (this isn’t exact, but I prefer a less sweet cream cheese).

    Hope that helps someone!

  5. I don’t have pecans, but I do have walnuts… would that work? Or will a horde of angry Southerners come and string me up by my ankles to the nearest tree? πŸ˜‰

    1. I reduced the powdered sugar by one cup and added a cup of sweetened coconut…then sprinkled additional coconut between layers and on top.

  6. The best cake ever. So flavorful and moist and ….absolutely divine.
    I frost it with italian meringue buttercream and holds fondant just fine! Wish i could post a photos of the cake I made using this recipe.

  7. This receipt has been around for years. My mother made it and garden club loved it! It is a wonderful dessert. If you do not like the frosting, it is JUST as good without. We never put it in the refrigerator, it was eaten too fast. Cupcakes work well too….a really filling dessert!
    Take the receioe with you when you take it out places….everyone will want it!
    A 1950’s kid from Texas with a mom who loved to cook!

  8. Hello – This recipe spunds delish. Do you think the vegetable oil could be substituted for something a little healthier?

  9. Hi,

    This looks amazing! I want to make this for my birthday, but can I bake the cakes in advance? Like 3 days or so? So that I only have to ice the cake on my birthday?

    Thanks so much!

  10. This is the second time that I have made this hummingbird cake. Each time I added more ingredients then it calls for… instead of 3 cup of flour little bit more… this amount of sugar a little bit more. Each time it is amazing! I make this cake for my small Assisted Living Center here in Alvin Texas. My residence love it. I talked to them about hummingbirds are a little nutty that’s why it has nuts in it. One resident do not like nuts so I make a second one for her without nuts. she calls it something else hahaha

  11. I just wanted to take a moment to say that this cake is amazing! Followed the cake recipe to a tea (though may have been naughty and used can frosting). Amazingly moist and flavourful cake, probably up there very highly in my favourite cakes.

  12. Can someone plz translate this into uk ingredients and measurements plz. Looks wonderful. And whats all spice

      1. I’ve made this cake for years. I often make it in a bunt pan. We love it. I use exactly what you have for ingredients. Tastes wonderful, everybody loves it.

  13. Looks delicious and can’t wait to make it! But – most HB recipes call for only baking soda. Why does this one call for baking soda and baking powder?

      1. it was a transition period when they wouldn’t trust the powder. Made this for our church bake sale. I asked some ladies if they ever heard of it – first thing that came out was the hum : Hummm, then yes very good – a great hit. I used coconut pecan icing with it. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. I have never actually ate a hummingbird cake before, is it really supposed to taste like banana bread? I made the cake and it tastes like a banana nut cake….just wanted to ensure I didn’t do something wrong. I know it’s a mix between banana nut and carrot cake but this tastes a lot like a banana nut bread. I am thinking maybe I needed to add more pineapples?

  15. This is the second hummingbird cake I am trying – last week I tried the recipe from Southern living.. Your recipe has allspice theirs did not – otherwise similar – will see

    1. The comments are hilarious – can I use eggs (eyeroll) can I leave out this, add that- (eyeroll)
      NO! The recipe calls for specific ingredients. Use them, nothing more or less. If you want a carrot as cake make on, if you want eggless, make an eggless recipe . . . people amaze me – try a recipe, change it willy-nilly, then say it is a dreadful recipe when the cake is a disaster, But thank you for the comments, read them all while the cake was in the oven …

      1. Love your comments! Someone is kind enough to share a recipe & they get peppered with variation questions. Make it or don’t. Change it if you choose based on your own discretion.

      2. I know!! My eyes roll so much, I get headaches! Lol…. my hummingbird cake is a big hit at my meetings!
        I’ve been asked to make it 3-4 times for birthdays . I will at extra vanilla or nuts at times. I could go into a
        Hummingbird Cake business!! Lol

      3. I hate it when people do that, go make your own recipe then. It’s like being rude to the person who shared her recipe here and then saying it’s not good enough that I had to add this, decrease this, omit this etc.

      4. This is such an old recipe, my grandmother made it; its fun to know people still enjoy it. I agree with the comment about all the adjustments from the at home bakers. By the time most of them have finished they aren’t even making the recipe.

    1. Wow! That sounds like a delicious idea. I’m paying a lady who bakes the most awesome cakes to make this one for me before I have a surgery soon which won’t allow me such decadence afterward. I will be asking for both the chocolate chips and coconut. A great cake for my last hurrah!

  16. Hello,

    If I bake this Hummingbird cake in a 9 x 13 cake pan, for how long should I bake it.

    Thank you.

    1. I have made this cake for years. IMHO, a 9 x 13 would not be big enough. Batter makes a 3 layer cake.
      When you are baking, you don’ t add more or less flour or sugar. Might adjust spices if you don’t like one so much. But, flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder , you do not adjust.
      I don’t think it tastes like banana cake (I wouldn’t like it if it did) but I don’t use a VERY ripe banana. (I throw them away!) I have baked them a month before, froze them and frosted when thawed. I have also frozen leftovers. Just a good as fresh. It is a hit with everyone.

  17. I made this for one of my team, her birthday was made even more special by it. She had asked for it before, and our previous resident baker delivered it to the wrong house, so she never got it. It was delicious and certainly a show stopper!

  18. Made this for my grandsons birthday. Had so many compliments but the best was from birthday boy he took one bite and handed his plate back to me and said. “Nana this is your piece I’ll take the rest of the cake”

  19. Highlander

    I want to make this cakem but include coconut in it.

    I like alot of sweetened coconut.

    Can you recommend an amount?

        1. Thank you hunny for sharing this info. I always wanted to know if that would work too. But was to shared to ask. Lol.

  20. I want to make this as cupcakes to send to my child’s school on her birthday. The school is health conscious so not being a chocolate cupcake is great however as I’m sure all parents know nuts are not something we can send. Is there something I can use as a substitute for the nuts possibly oatmeal??? And what would be the recommended baking time for cupcakes????

    1. I don’t think I would substitute pecans with oatmeal. I think I would just leave them out.
      Baking time on the cupcakes would probably be 18-20 minutes, but not real sure since I haven’t made these as cupcakes.

  21. This looks like. Good recipe…BUT, THE ADS ARE REALLY ANNOYING WHEN TRYING TO WRITE IT DOWN !!! It kept jumping up & down!!! If they’re trying to get your attention …it’s NOT DOING ANYTHING BUT MAKING ME MAD !!!!! It’s a really SLEAZY attempt at advertising !!!!! I definitely would NOT PURCHASE ANY OF THOSE ITEMS..”.PERIOD !!!!

    1. I also agree about all the unnecessary and annoying ads. I want to see the recipe and not all the blah blah blah ads. Sometimes the pop-ups are soo bad it renders the blog site unusable and useless!

  22. 6 cups powdered sugar for the frosting ? wow this is 6x200gr=1.2 kilo :O right ?
    because my 1 cup powdered sugar is 200gr. hmm

  23. If i want to put coconut in the cake how much should i put, and should i reduce/increase any of the other ingredients? Hoping to attempt this tomorrow! Eek!

  24. This cake looks delicious I can’t wait to try your recipe! when you say 1 can undrained crushed pineapple that means you will use also the sirup in it? How much liquid (on cups) would that be? And how much pineapple? I am not sure I can find these pineapple cans where I live. Many thanks!!

    1. This cake is delicous make it christmas it was a hit .the I made cake balls with what was left from supper roll freeze dip in white chocolate ,,the was also a hit at my ramoli fame .

  25. I actually found this recipe called the same name and ingriedients in one of my mother in laws cookbooks when she lived in Philadelphia in the 1940’s/1950’s. . I was surprised to see it published in a book that long ago. I plan to visit her in Florida and take photos of it and of the publication date of the book.

  26. I made this cake over the weekend, not because there was a special occasion, but because the baking bugs were tickling and this was the next cake on my list to bake. My GOODNESS was this one of the most flavourful, rich and yummy cakes I’ve ever made. The hubby couldn’t stop cutting a piece with every cup of tea/coffee he had. Can’t wait to bake this cake again for my birthday in 3 weeks…!

      1. As a diabetic I have passed a lot of recipes online, and even though wow I am going to give this one a try.
        After all lot of fruit and fiber……

        1. I’m going to try this sugar free as well and use the Pilsbury SF Cake mix and add the cinnamon and allspice and other ingredients. The frosting will take some work to get right, but I think it will all work out in the end.

  27. Hi! I’m making this for a friend tomorrow. I’m in Australia and I just wanted to check the amount of cream cheese – is it 2x8oz or 2 packets to make 8oz? I think our cupsΒ measurements areΒ the same. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  28. Lived 73 years, baked many, many cakes, many shapes, sizes, flavors and colors, never I mean NEVER have I ever made a cake as wonderfully delicious as this one. I added a little coconut to both cake and frosting

  29. This cake is AWESOME!!! Afraid of 1 cup of oil, I used 1/2 c coconut oil (liquid) and 3/4 c buttermilk. Also had to go gluten free, so used 1 c King Arthur GF blend and 2 cups oat flour. I only had two 9 inch round pans so that’s what I used. It turned out moist and delicious. The frosting was a dream to make with a stand mixer. I cut back to 5 c confectioner’s sugar and it was perfect – not too sweet but creeeaaaaaamy. There was enough to generously frost my 2-layer cake with over a cup left over! This was the best frosting I’ve ever tasted. Thanks for your tips!

  30. I am going to make this for Easter my family LOVES both banana bread and carrot cake what a wonderful description. I am drooling with anticipation.

  31. Comment of using chilled cream cheese for icing would have REALLY helped me when I made a lot of cakes for friends wedding in AUGUST one year..icing WOULD NOT STAY on!!! Good tip! Made this at daughters house in flat pan..before I could get the icing made and on..son in law had cut him a piece of I thought, if he will eat it this way…I’ll just put the icing on the side..IT WORKED!!
    Thanks for Southern recipe..also for making the coconut * as I don’t care for coconut!!
    Ms Bobbye granny Wiley

    1. I’ve never tried making either substitution, so I’m not really sure how it would turn out Marie. If you give one of them a try, please let us know how it turns out. Have a wonderful weekend! πŸ™‚

    2. How about using Stevia as a natural sweetener, reducing the oil, and adding an instant pudding mix sugar free if necessary or gelatin, and using syrupy bananas that have been frozen instead. Just a thought.

  32. This recipe is wonderful. Easy to make and the taste is amazing. The cream cheese icing is a real keeper.. LOVE IT .

  33. Has anyone ever made this and the froze until ready to serve? I’ve never made a cake and the froze it. Needing it next weekend but don’t have time to make it through the week

  34. I tried Hummingbird cake and frosting yesterday like a sheed cake..I have to say many thanks to you dear Christin..Cake was wonderful,delicious,yummy …Perfect πŸ™‚

  35. I mentioned I was going to try this gluten-free and never posted the results. It was fantastic!! It crumbled a lot but the taste was phenomenal!! I just substituted gluten free all purpose for the regular flour.

    1. I would bake it at 350 but I’m not real sure about the cooking time. If you do it in a 9X13-inch pan the time should be a little longer. Let me know hoe it turns out if you try it. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Vicky. I don’t currently provide nutritional information. There are several websites that allow you to input the ingredient list and they will give you a calorie count.

      1. If you’re asking about the calorie count, you probably should not be making or eating this cake. This recipe screams calories! But it’s all about the taste.

        1. Not true. I track nutrients. Protein, carbs, water, sugars. If I want a treat, I want to know how much, to know how large or small of a piece to take. Just sayin… πŸ˜‰

  36. Hey,in 3 weeks time it is my boyfriend’s bhrditay, will definitely make it.So, I was wondering, since I can’t find shredded sweetened coconut, can I instead use simply shredded dried coconued (that kind of that is on Rafaello)?

  37. Oh my goodness, I love hummingbird cake and am totally drooling for a slice! I still have yet to try making it and I can’t wait to try yours – pinning – it looks sensational!

  38. I’ve made that one from Southern Living and it’s to.die.for. Yours looks amazing!! I like your description of it being like banana bread and carrot cake having a baby, haha. πŸ™‚

  39. I love all the ingredients in hummingbird cake, yet I’ve never tried making it. I definitely need to rectify that asap. This cake looks like it would be an instant hit in my book. And the frosting tip from ATK is a great one. I often find that cream cheese frosting can be difficult to work with if the texture is too soft, but it sounds like this recipe finds a way to solve that!

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