Hummingbird Cake

This hummingbird cake, a Southern specialty, is an exceptionally sweet fruit and nut-speckled cake made with bananas, pineapple, pecans, and a cream cheese frosting.

A three-layer hummingbird cake with a cake server beside it.

This hummingbird cake, a Southern classic, is a charming stack of pineapple, bananas, and pecans aplenty. But this cake isn’t just tremendous to behold. It’s such an abundant stack of sweetness–and, actually, a stack of abundant sweetness–that skinny slivers are sufficient, which means you’ll likely have a slice or three left to look forward to the following morning. (We don’t know what transpires in your kitchen, but there’s never been a time when cake wasn’t welcome at our breakfast table.) This recipe is a riff on Southern Living’s all-time most requested recipe.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Hummingbird Cake

  • Quick Glance
  • (7)
  • 25 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 10 to 12
5/5 - 7 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen cookbook

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  • For the hummingbird cake
  • For the cream cheese frosting
  • For the hummingbird cake assembly


Make the hummingbird cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and adjust the oven rack to the center position. Lightly oil and flour three 8- or 9-inch round cake pans.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and nutmeg.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil and eggs until combined. Add the bananas and pineapple (including the pineapple juice) and stir to combine.

Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture with a spatula or wooden spoon just until combined. Stir in the vanilla and pecans. Divide the batter evenly among the pans, smoothing the tops.

Bake the cakes for 25 to 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in their pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Run a slender knife around the edges of the pans and turn the cakes out onto the racks, then turn them again so they’re right side up. Let cool completely before frosting.

Make the cream cheese frosting

While the cakes cool, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with a standing or an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, as much as desired according to your level of sweet tooth, and beat until incorporated. Beat in the bourbon and vanilla just until combined.

Assemble the hummingbird cake

When the cakes have cooled completely, use a long serrated knife to slice off the rounded top of each one, creating a flat, even surface. (Reserve the trimmings for nibbling or crumbling in a parfait.)

Place \ cake layer, cut side down, on a cake stand or a large plate. Spread the top of the cake with 1/3 of the frosting and sprinkle with 1/3 of the toasted pecans. Repeat with the remaining cake layers, frosting, and pecans, leaving the sides unfrosted. Behold, slice, and serve. (If not serving the cake within 2 hours, carefully transfer it to the refrigerator. Be sure to remove the cake about 1 hour before slicing.) Originally published May 18, 2012.

Print RecipeBuy the Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This cake will have you thinking outside the box. No, really, it’s just a few extra ingredients and just a smidge more time than a boxed mix. A word of caution–this is a cake for those with a serious sweet tooth. It was a little too sweet for me, but that just ensures I eat only the smallest sliver of a slice.

My great-aunt used to make the most wonderful hummingbird cake. I only got to see her once a year, and she always made this for me. This cake brings back those childhood memories of her. Plus, it tastes just as good as hers did! I did, however, substitute melted butter for the oil. This is also good if you use a whipped topping with some extra crushed pineapple folded in, instead of the icing (we are not big icing eaters in our house).


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  1. My husband and I absolutely adored this cake, although I tweaked it a bit. I used 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 6 bananas, and since I don’t like pineapple in my cake I substituted unsweetened coconut chips. I didn’t have enough pecans so added walnuts (which I toasted in the microwave for 2 minutes). I baked the batter in 2 Bundt pans and didn’t put any frosting on it, just sprinkled it with confectioners’ sugar. The cake was gorgeous, light, fluffy and moist. Thank you.

  2. Absolutely love this recipe! It was light but it had a lot of flavor to it. I would highly recommend this for any occasion!

  3. I discovered this delight in cupcake form several years ago. I loved the name hummingbird cake and when I found out it contained bananas, I swooned! This looks like a must-try recipe.

  4. Julie, no need to cut off the tops of the cake…when I remove them from the oven I use a couple of paper towels and flatten down the raised center, that way, no cake is wasted.

    1. So very clever, Jerrilinn. I’m glad you’re fighting the good fight against wasted cake–but if you don’t cut the tops off, how will you sneak little crumby nibbles before you serve it?!

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