Hummingbird Cake

5 from 2 votes

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There is so much that I love about the South: the charming homes, unmatched hospitality, and, last but not least, the Southern cuisine. Hummingbird Cake is a beautiful Southern classic that is moist, dense, and full of flavor. 

side view entire rustic frosted hummingbird cake on a teal stand.
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If you haven’t heard of hummingbird cake before, you are in for a delicious treat. It is a cake made with mashed banana, crushed pineapple, and pecans, topped with a rich cream cheese frosting. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t devour it! 

People love this cake. It makes a great dessert for summer gatherings, backyard parties, or Sunday dinners. 

complete hummingbird cake on a teal stand and a slice taken out in front of it.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • A true Southern cake recipe with simple ingredients combined together to make a truly delicious treat.
  • Most ingredients are shelf-stable and can be found in your pantry year-round.
  • Make in a regular 9×13 cake pan or wow everyone with a layered cake!

Recipe Ingredients

  • Flour – All-purpose flour is fine in this dense cake recipe
  • Sugar – Regular granulated sugar and powdered sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Cinnamon
  • Eggs
  • Butter – Either salted or unsalted; if using salted butter, use less salt than called for in the recipe
  • Vanilla
  • Crushed pineapple – Find this in the canned fruit section
  • Bananas – I prefer overripe bananas
  • Pecans
  • Cream cheese

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities.

close up of a slice of humingbird cake with white frosting on a white plate and a fork.

How to Make Hummingbird Cake

  • Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Then, add the wet ingredients, bananas, and pecans. Mix well to combine.
  • Bake until done and allow to cool.
  • Make frosting.
  • Assemble the cake, adding pineapple frosting between layers, and finish frosting the outside when fully assembled. 

Recipe FAQs

What does hummingbird cake taste like?

This delightful cake crosses the taste of banana bread and carrot cake. The pineapple taste is subtle, but it totally makes the cake, in my opinion. It is perfectly spiced and oh-so moist.

What bananas work best in hummingbird cake?

I prefer to use overripe bananas (the ones with brown spots on them sitting on your counter) for this cake. This will create an unmatched flavor!

How can I tell when a cake is done baking?

You can always use the famous trick of inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is properly baked. With a cake, I often use the bounce-back test as well. Carefully press a finger down on the cake. If the cake bounces back, it is done. However, if the finger leaves a dent, then it needs a bit more time.

top view of hummingbird cake with banana chips and candied walnuts on top.

Expert Tips

  • The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or when you lightly press on the cake and it springs back. If touching it leaves an indent, bake it a few minutes longer.
  • If you’re short on time, this cake can be made in a 9×13-inch cake pan. Poke holes in the top of the cake after removing it from the oven, and spread the pineapple frosting over the top after the cake has cooled a bit. Cover with the rest of the cream cheese frosting and add any decorative touches if desired.
  • When using salted butter, usually you will want to decrease the salt called for in a recipe just a bit.
side view entire rustic frosted hummingbird cake on a teal stand.

How to Store Hummingbird Cake

Since this cake has fruit and cream cheese frosting, it is best preserved in the refrigerator. It will last for up to a week in the fridge. It is also a great cake to make ahead a day or two because the flavors marry together in the most delicious manner. 

What to Serve With Hummingbird Cake

This impressive Southern recipe is the perfect choice for an adult birthday party, a ladies’ tea, or a Mother’s Day luncheon. Take it to the next level by serving Hummingbird Cake with an equally delicious drink.

My favorite drinks to serve on a special occasion with Hummingbird cake:

Where Did Hummingbird Cake Recipe Come From

Who came up with this fun, tropical-tasting cake? The hummingbird cake originated from Jamaica where it was called the “Doctor Bird” cake. The doctor bird is a nickname for Jamaica’s national bird, which is the red-billed streamertail hummingbird. It is rumored that this cake is sweet enough to attract hummingbirds, and I would have to agree. 

In 1978, the hummingbird cake was submitted to Southern Living by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina. It went viral in the 70s and for good reason! It remains the most requested recipe in the magazine’s history.

More Yummy Cake Recipes to Consider

top view of the entire rustic frosted hummingbird .cake on a teal stand.
5 from 2 votes

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird cake is a moist, lightly spiced cake made with bananas, pineapple, and chopped pecans, and it's covered with a simple cream cheese frosting and a light pineapple filling. It's always a huge hit!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 3 hours
Servings: 16


For the Cake

  • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 ½ cups melted butter, salted or unsalted
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 4 medium ripe bananas, well mashed
  • cups finely chopped pecans
  • dehydrated pineapple flowers
  • banana chips
  • candied pecans
  • For the Frosting
  • 2 blocks cream cheese, (8 ounce each, 16 ounces total)
  • ½ cup salted butter
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • cup crushed pineapple
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  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Grease four 6-inch cake pans with baking spray (this works really well, but you can also grease and flour them very well), and set aside. 
  • In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs, melted butter, vanilla, pineapple, bananas, and pecans. Mix together until combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the prepared baking pans and place in the hot oven.
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or when you lightly press on the cake, and it springs back. If touching it leaves an indent, bake it a few minutes longer.
  • Allow the cakes to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before carefully removing from the pan. I like to place a cooling rack on top of my slightly cooled cake and then flip it over so that the rack is now on the bottom; then remove the pan and allow the cake to continue to cool on the rack.
  • While the cake is cooking, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  • Add vanilla and mix.
  • Remove one cup of frosting and place it in a separate bowl. Add the crushed pineapple to the reserved frosting and stir to combine well. 
  • To Assemble: 
  • When the cake is completely cool, place one layer in the center of the serving plate or cake stand.
  • Pipe thick line of frosting around the edge of the first layer. 
  • Fill inside the piped line with 1/3 of the pineapple frosting mixture and spread it out evenly.
  • Top with next layer, and repeat until all of the layers are used.
  • Once assembled, frost cake with thin layer of frosting, it's ok if it has a rustic look to it. This is considered a "naked cake" whic,h means the icing is on the thin side and it's ok to see the imperfections and a bit of cake through the frosting. It's a very pretty look. 
  • Use the extra frosting to pipe swirls on the top of the cake.
  • Decorate with dehydrated pineapple flowers, banana chips, and candied pecans. Use the photos in the blog post for inspiration. 



  • You can also use three 9-inch baking pans for this recipe. They’ll need to cook for about 30 minutes. 
  • You can make your own dried pineapple flowers by removing the outside of a fresh pineapple and then slicing it 1/4 inch thick. (Don’t remove the core.) Place sliced pineapple in the oven and dehydrate on the lowest setting until it feels like leather or jerky. You can also buy them at Trader Joe’s. 
  • When using salted butter, usually you will want to decrease the salt called for in a recipe just a bit.
  • I like to use overripe bananas because it gives a lot of great flavor to this cake recipe.


Serving: 1 of 16 servings, Calories: 625kcal, Carbohydrates: 94g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 92mg, Sodium: 393mg, Potassium: 196mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 70g, Vitamin A: 787IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 25mg, Iron: 2mg
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