Old-Fashioned Hummingbird Cake
Sample the classic Southern cake with this easy dessert recipe!
This recipe for Old-Fashioned Hummingbird Cake has all the hallmark flavors of traditional hummingbird cake, and it also features homemade cream cheese icing. For those who are unfamiliar with it, hummingbird cake is often described as similar to carrot cake, but with several twists. Fresh pineapple and banana give the cake wonderful flavor and help make it extremely moist. Thin layers of frosting are best so that you can taste all the wonderful flavors of the cake itself.
If you are looking for an impressive dessert for a special occasion, we recommend serving this gorgeous layer cake. Even those who are unfamiliar with this sweet Southern classic will enjoy a slice of this old-fashioned dessert.
Because this recipe is so simple to follow, even novice bakers will be able to make a cake that turns out beautifully. Making homemade frosting may seem daunting, but we promise that you will not want to miss out on the richness of the made-from-scratch frosting.
Love this Southern recipe? Check out the other favorite recipes featured in our Southern Food Challenge!
For step-by-step instructions on making this cake, check out our guide, How to Make Hummingbird Cake
- For the Cake:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups mashed ripe bananas, about 3 large
- 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla paste
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- For the Frosting:
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon vanilla or vanilla paste
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans plus whole pecans for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by greasing well and lining with circles of parchment paper that have been greased on both sides.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Stir well with a whisk. In another bowl, combine the bananas, pineapple, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Stir until well mixed. In two batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir just until the dry particles are wet; do not overbeat. Fold the chopped pecans into the batter.
Divide the batter between the two prepared pans, smoothing the tops. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a layer comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans on a cooling rack for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, turn the cakes out on the cooling racks and very carefully remove the parchment. Allow the layers to cool completely before assembling.
While the cake layers are cooling, prepare the frosting by whipping the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer until completely smooth. With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in the remaining pecans, or you may choose to use those for a garnish on top, along with the pecan halves.
To assemble the cake, place one layer on a serving plate, bottom side up. Spread with frosting, just up to the edges. Place the second layer, again bottom side up, on top and press gently to settle it into place. Using an offset spatula, spread top and sides with a small amount of frosting for an even, thin coating. Chill the cake for 20 minutes, then continue to frost the top and the sides with the remaining frosting. Keep the frosting on the counter while the cake is chilling; do not refrigerate it.
Garnish the cake with pecan halves as desired. Refrigerate the cake to keep it cool until ready to serve.
Vanilla paste is a unique ingredient of vanilla seeds in a thick, syrupy form, available at specialty baking stores or websites. It is extremely flavorful. It can be substituted one-to-one for regular liquid vanilla.
If you like this recipe for Old-Fashioned Hummingbird Cake, be sure to check out our collection of 31 Traditional Southern Cake Recipes
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Oct 15, 2018
I have made a couple of these cakes in the past, but it has been a very long time. I dont bake much anymore so I had completely forgotten the deliciousness of this sweet dessert. I do remember the most important thing, after many failed attempts, is to stir this by hand and do not over stir or it will not be as good.
Apr 16, 2015
I've never tasted Hummingbird Cake before, but this was delicious! It's a pretty light cake, but the frosting was so rich and creamy, making it a perfect combo!
Apr 16, 2015
Maybe it was the vanilla bean paste, but this is the first cream cheese frosting I've ever tasted and actually liked. I'd even use it on other cakes!
Apr 16, 2015
The nuts gave the cake a nice crunch, and the banana made it taste a little like homemade banana bread. I'm just not a big fan of the pineapple flavor.
Apr 16, 2015
This is one of the best hummingbird cake recipes I've seen AND tasted. I've been looking for a simpler version and this is it. Sweet but not too sweet. The creamy frosting adds the perfect touch!
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