How to Make Hummingbird Cake

By: Kaitlin Weiler, Editor,

If you have always wanted to learn how to make a classic Southern cake, our guide for How to Make Hummingbird Cake will show you how. This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know so that you are prepared to make our test kitchen-approved recipe for Old-Fashioned Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird cake is a traditional Southern dessert that has been around for decades. Hummingbird cake as we know it now first appeared in Southern Living magazine in the 1970s. Over the years, hummingbird cake has grown in popularity and become synonymous with the South. Our guide for How to Make Hummingbird Cake will show you the classic way to make this cake made with bananas, pineapple, and nuts. Enjoy! 

How to Make Hummingbird Cake

How to Make Hummingbird Cake

Table of Contents

What You Need

What You Need For the Cake:

  • all-purpose flour
  • sugar
  • baking soda
  • ground cinnamon
  • salt
  • mashed ripe bananas
  • crushed pineapple
  • vegetable oil
  • eggs
  • vanilla
  • chopped pecans

What You Need For the Frosting:

  • softened cream cheese
  • softened unsalted butter
  • vanilla
  • powdered sugar, sifted
  • chopped pecans, plus whole pecans for garnish

See our recipe for Old-Fashioned Hummingbird Cake for exact measurements and further instructions.

Making the Cake

  1. Prepare two cake pans by greasing them and lining them with parchment paper. Here are instructions on how to line a cake pan: 

  2. Begin by combining the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. 

    Mix the dry ingredients

    Whisk to combine the dry ingredients.
    Combine the dry ingredients
  3. In another bowl, combine the bananas, pineapple, oil, eggs and vanilla. Whisk the ingredients together until they are well mixed.

    Combine the wet ingredients
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in two batches. 

    Combine the wet and dry ingredients

    Do not overmix the batter. Stir together just until all of the dry particles are wet.

    Combine until all dry particles are wet
  5. Fold the pecans into the cake batter.

    Fold in the pecans
  6. Divide the cake batter between the prepared pans.

    Divide the batter between two pans

    Smooth the tops of the batter. 

    Smooth the top of the batter
  7. Bake the cakes for about 40 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.
  8. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans on a cooling rack. After they have cooled for a few minutes, turn the cakes out onto the cooling racks and remove the parchment. Allow to cool completely.

Download a free, printable copy of Heavenly Southern Desserts: 9 Easy Cake Recipes for more homemade cake recipes.

How to Make Frosting and How to Assemble the Cake

  1. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in an en electric mixer. Combine the ingredients until they are completely smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar while the mixer is running. After the cake has cooled compeletly, assemble the cake.

    Place one layer of cake on a serving plate, bottom side up. Frost the cake to the edges. Place the second layer, bottom side up, on top of the first layer. Spread the tops and sides of the cake with a thin layer of frosting. Chill the cake for 20 minutes. During this time, do not refrigerate the frosting. After 20 minutes, continue to frost the top and the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. 
  2. Garnish the finished cake with pecan halves, if desired. Refrigerate the cake until you are ready to serve it.

Check out our full collection of 6 Hummingbird Cake Recipes for more delicious and easy cake recipes.

Southern Hummingbird Cake Recipes

Now that you've learned how to make hummingbird cake, put your skills to use to make one of the Southern desserts below. These easy cake recipes all use similar ingredients and methods, but many of these hummingbird cake recipes have slight variations that make them unique. Choose your favorite recipe and get to work to prove just how much you know about how to make hummingbird cake. 

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I never knew how much I loved Hummingbird Cake until I tried this one! Great combination of flavors!

The pecans and pineapple look like a delicious combination. Can't wait to try it.

I love that there are pictures with every step of this recipe. The cake looks absolutely delicious!

Hummingbird cake is delicious! Although I don't know that it matters if the bananas are ripe..if I don't eat bananas fast enough, I usually make baked goods with them and they still taste good to me!

I just discovered hummingbird cake, and I'm obsessed! It's moist and flavorful, and who doesn't love cream cheese frosting? I have to make it for myself soon


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