Do you like banana bread? Carrot cake? Anything covered in silky-smooth cream cheese frosting? Then you will love this Hummingbird Cake! Sweet, spiced and full of flavor thanks to crushed pineapple, fresh bananas and toasted pecans, this cake comes together in just one bowl and couldn’t be simpler to assemble. Plus, it’s DELICIOUS.
Hummingbird Cake Recipe
Stop everything. Drop everything. Have you tried the wonder that is Hummingbird Cake? It is a dream of a layer cake (with roots in Jamaican and Southern history) featuring loads of flavor, moistness and decadence all swathed in a blanket of tangy cream cheese frosting. I had my first slice ever recently and I couldn’t believe I’ve lived a near-35 years without having enjoyed it before. I’ll tell you, I will never do that again. And once you give it a try, I doubt you will, either. Here is what you can expect from this exceptional gem of a cake:
- Dense, moist cake layers that taste like banana bread 2.0
- Tons of flavor and textures
- The perfect balance of sweetness, spice and tanginess
- A smooth and indulgent cream cheese frosting
- A one-bowl cake batter that’s super easy to make
Best Ingredients for Hummingbird Cake
Since there are a lot of different ingredients in this cake that contribute to its uniquely sweet flavor, you’ll want to have the best possible ingredients ready to make it. Here’s what you need:
- Chopped raw pecans, for crunch and flavor
- Dark brown sugar (you can also use light brown sugar, but dark brown sugar contains more molasses and lends a more caramelized flavor to the cake)
- Cinnamon and allspice, for warmth
- Vegetable oil, for moisture (no butter needed here!)
- Canned crushed pineapple with its juices, for flavor and again, that moisture
- Very ripe bananas (the more speckled, the better)
- Cream cheese frosting
How to Make Hummingbird Cake
The process of making this layer cake is really simple, thanks to a one-bowl cake batter and a straightforward frosting recipe! As always, scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe ingredients + directions, but here is the gist of what you can expect when you make this magical cake:
- Step One: Toast the pecans. Spread chopped pecans in an even layer on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for a few minutes until they smell toasty.
- Step Two: Make the cake batter. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients, then add in the wet ingredients and whisk until everything is blended. Stir in the canned pineapple (with the juices!), chopped banana and pecans.
- Step Three: Bake. Divide the batter among three greased and floured cake pans, then bake at 350°F until the edges of the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.
- Step Four: Assemble. When the cakes are fully cooled, prepare the cream cheese frosting as directed in the recipe, then layer the cakes with frosting. Top the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting, and decorate as desired with more pecans.
How to Serve Hummingbird Cake
This cake tastes great when served fresh, but I like to chill it in the fridge for at least one hour after assembly so the frosting can set up a bit and the cake is easier to slice. Since the layers are so moist and full of mix-ins, you won’t get perfectly smooth cake slices, but the frosting won’t smoosh out (a pro baking term, of course) of the sides as much if the cake has been chilled for a bit.
How to Store Hummingbird Cake
You can store leftovers covered tightly with plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 5 days. To freeze, you can either freeze the cake fully assembled, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and foil, for up to 1 month; or, you can freeze the cake layers separately for up to 3 months. Either way, allow the cake to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before assembling/serving.
Can I Use Fresh Pineapple?
Some say you can use fresh pineapple for this cake, but since crushed pineapple usually contains more juice than the fresh variety (and the juice is so important for the flavor and tenderness of the cake), I don’t recommend it. In this case, canned is best.
Can I Skip the Pecans?
Yes, you can! The pecans do lend some flavor to the cake, but I find they are most important for added texture, and the cake is just fine without them. Whether you have allergies or just don’t like pecans, you can certainly leave them out of the cake and results will be similar.
Friends, I hope you love this cake recipe as much as I do. Whether you’re looking for an Easter/Mother’s Day cake recipe or a fun spring rainy day baking project, let this cake be your new BFF.Print
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
- Yield: 12 servings 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Soft, moist and tender, this Hummingbird Cake features a spiced cake filled with banana, pineapple and toasted pecans all topped with a silky cream cheese frosting.
For the cake:
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, undrained
- 2 cups finely chopped ripe bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
For the frosting:
- 1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting
- Chopped and/or halved pecans, for decorating (optional)
- First, bake the cakes: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray (or spray with cooking spray and lightly coat in flour). Set aside.
- Spread 1 cup chopped pecans on a baking sheet. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice until combined. Add eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract; whisk until combined. Stir in pineapple, bananas and toasted pecans until just incorporated.
- Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the edges of the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, then carefully remove from pans and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once cakes are fully cooled, prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting as directed. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; top with 1 scant cup frosting. Use an offset spatula to spread to the edges of the cake. Top with second cake layer; top with another 1 scant cup frosting, then spread to the edges of the cake. Top with third cake layer, bottom side up; use the remaining frosting to decorate the top and sides of the cake.
- If desired, press chopped pecans to the sides of the cake, and top the cake with halved pecans. For best results, chill cake for 1 hour before serving.
- Recipe adapted from Southern Living.
- Store leftover cake covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- If you can’t find an 8-ounce can of crushed pineapple, use a kitchen scale and measure out 8 ounces of crushed pineapple + some juice in a bowl. I do not recommend using fresh pineapple, as it may not have enough moisture for the cake.
- If you like a lot of frosting, double the Cream Cheese Frosting recipe for this cake.
Keywords: pineapple cake, banana cake, spice cake, cream cheese frosting
This looks great! Can it be made in a bundt pan instead as a layer cake?
Cindy, Great question! You certainly can, but note that the bake time will increase significantly — probably up to an hour. Just keep an eye on it and test for doneness with a toothpick that should come out clean once fully baked. Hope that helps!
Never heard of this cake! Will definitely try and make these! Might add some cranberries too! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Hi, Im trying to change the ingredients to metric and I cant change them for the UK. Can you help? Thank you
Molly, If you click on the “M” next to Units in the Recipe, it will show you the metric measurements for the recipe!