Deliciously moist, packed full of flavor and fruit, and frosted in a rich cream cheese dressing: Hummingbird Cake is the best cake you've never heard of. It's actually one of my all time favorite desserts, and I've made it today to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Basil & Bubbly!
What is a Hummingbird Cake?
If you've never heard of or had a Hummingbird Cake, it's very similar to a Carrot Cake, just without the carrots. As weird as that may sound, it just works. The cake it moist, hearty, and sneakily sweet.
Should you refrigerate Hummingbird Cake?
A frosted Hummingbird Cake should be refrigerated as it is covered in cream cheese frosting. It is fine to sit out for a few hours during a party or while serving, but it should not stay out longer than 4 hours.
An unfrosted Hummingbird Cake can stay out, but covered, on the counter top for up to 4 days.
Why is a Hummingbird Cake called a Hummingbird Cake?
Some say it's because the cake is so sweet that it attracts hummingbirds. Others believe it's a derivative of a Jamaican cake by the same name. The one thing everyone agrees on is that the first recipe was published in the 1970s by Mrs. L.H. Wiggin.
My recipe is loosely based on hers, tweaked to have just a little more flavor jammed in, and to make the cake a bit easier to handle.
This cake is also wonderful when made as cupcakes or a sheet cake. I love the drama of a 3 layer cake, but a sheet cake is just as delicious and not nearly as fussy to make.
If you like this Hummingbird Cake recipe, you might also like these other Southern recipes:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 large eggs beaten
- 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 8-oz. can crushed pineapple in juice, do NOT drain
- 2 cups mashed ripe banana roughly 3 large very ripe bananas
- 1 cup pecan° pieces toasted
Cake Pan Prep
- ¾ cup Flour most of this will be discarded after preparing pans
- Butter as needed to grease pan
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened
- 5 cups powdered sugar 22 ounces or 600 grams
- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup pecan pieces toasted
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare 3 9" cake pans by greasing the interior bottom and sides with butter, then shaking about ¼ cup of flour around the inside until every part of the inside of the pan is covered in flour. Shake off any excess flour.Ensure butter and cream cheese are softened.
- In a large bowl, whisk 3 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon allspice, and ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg.Add in the 1.5 cups vegetable oil, 3 eggs, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moistened.Stir in the crushed pineapple plus all liquid in the can, 2 cups mashed bananas, and 1 cup toasted pecans.Divide batter equally between the 3 9" prepared cake pans.Bake at 350°F for 30 - 35 minutes. Cool in pans for about 15 minutes, then flip each layer onto a wire rack and allow them to cool for a full hour.
- In a large bowl, combine the 16 ounces of softened cream cheese, 5 cups of powdered sugar, 1 cup softened salted butter, 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat with a hand mixer until perfectly smooth.
- Once the layers are completely cool: place one layer on a cake stand or plate. Frost the top of the layer. Place the second layer on top and frost it. Repeat for third layer. If you aren't worried about getting crumbs in your frosting, frost the cake immediately. For a crumb-free frosting: Cover the entire cake in a thin coating of frosting. Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove the cake from the cold and add a final layer of frosting over the cold frosting. Serve immediately.