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Hummingbird Cake

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 great 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 🙂

Hummingbird Cake

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

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Cake

A classic southern cake filled with banana, pineapple, and pecans, and topped with a thick cream cheese icing.
PREP: 20 mins
COOK: 25 mins
TOTAL: 45 mins


  • 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
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern

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168 thoughts on “Hummingbird Cake”

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

  1. 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! 😋😋😋

    1. Christin Mahrlig

      I would look for another recipe. The bananas give this cake both flavor and moisture. The cake would be too dry without them.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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? 😉

  5. I’m currently reading a book about Hummingbird Cake and was looking for a recipe! This one looks perfect – that frosting is swoon worthy!

    1. Tammy Van Cleve

      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. Mandy @ South Your Mouth

    This recipe looks perfect! I can’t wait to make this – maybe even for Thanksgiving!

  7. 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.

  8. Donna Morris

    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!

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

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