If you didn’t grow up in the South or know someone from there, Hummingbird Cake might be something you’ve never heard of. Well, thank goodness for you, that is about to change. And no, there aren’t any hummingbirds involved. This swoon-worthy Southern dessert consists of three layers of cake full of bananas, canned pineapple, sometimes nuts, and slathered together with cream cheese frosting. How it got its name or where it actually originated from is a bit of a mystery. But one thing is for sure, it is dang delicious!
Some recipes for Hummingbird Cake call for chunks of ripe bananas, others for mashed bananas. I prefer the mashed bananas, purely from a texture standpoint. Canned pineapple is a must, none of that fresh stuff. And while nuts are often added to the cake batter as well, I don’t like nuts in baked goods. So I just sprinkle them on top for decoration and a crunchy finish. That’s the beauty of baking and cooking. Take a recipe, make it your own.
This recipe uses the stainless steel bowl for mixing the cake batter. Since it is a 3 layer cake, the volume of batter made the stainless steel bowl the better choice. But the plastic whipping bowl is later used for the frosting.
This cake will be slightly browned on top when done. Don’t worry, it isn’t overbaked. The amount of sugar, both regular and from the fruit just browns it up as it bakes.
The frosting is a pretty straightforward cream cheese frosting. I like mine on the just sweet enough side, so feel free to add more sugar if you prefer.
When it comes to frosting the cake, you can certainly trim the tops off the layers for a completely flat surface. My practical side can’t stand to waste good cake, and I kinda like the look of a homey cake that domes in the middle. So I’ll leave that up to you!
This recipe makes plenty of frosting, so don’t skimp between the layers.
Since the frosting has cream cheese, make sure to store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Cake will keep for 2-3 days. Let us know if you have any questions or comments. Happy baking!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
5 large eggs, room temperature
223 g. (1 cup plus 2 Tbsp.) neutral flavored oil
10 g. (2 tsp.) vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
687 g. (2 3/4 cup) mashed bananas, approximately 5 large bananas
1 can (8 oz./227 g.) crushed pineapple in pineapple juice (not in syrup)
540 g. (4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
10 g. (2 1/2 tsp.) baking powder
6 g. (1 1/2 tsp.) kosher salt
627 g. (2 3/4 cups) sugar
4 g. (2 tsp.) cinnamon
3 packages (8 oz./228 g.) cream cheese, room temperature
230 g. (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
5 g. (1 tsp.) vanilla bean paste
230 g. (2 cups) powdered sugar
chopped pecans for topping, optional
Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease and flour 3 9-inch cake pans. Set aside until ready to use.
For the cake:
In the stainless steel bowl with the roller/scraper attachment, mix together the eggs, oil, and vanilla bean paste on medium speed (3 o’clock) for 1 minute, until eggs and oil have been thoroughly combined.
Add the mashed bananas and pineapple and mix on lowest speed (12 o’clock) just until mixed in.
Whisk together the remaining cake ingredients in a large bowl. Lock the arm of the mixer in place about 1 inch from side of bowl. Add dry ingredients and mix on lowest speed (12 o’clock) just until flour mixture is incorporated in.
Divide batter evenly among cake pans (approximately 3 cups worth per each pan). Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into middle of cake. Cake is done when toothpick comes out clean and middle of cake is set.
Let cake layers cool in pans for 10 minutes, then gently turn out on wire cooling racks to finish cooling. Cake layers must be completely cool be frosting and assembling cake.
For the frosting:
In the plastic whipping bowl with the balloon whisks, cream together the cream cheese and butter on the highest speed (8 o’clock) for 1 minute. Add the vanilla bean paste and powdered sugar and mix together starting on the lowest speed (12 o’clock) and gradually increasing to medium speed (3 o’clock) as sugar begins to mix in. Whisk together on medium speed for approximately 30 seconds until fluffy.
Frosting can be made 3 days in advance. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Let come to room temperature before frosting cake.
To assemble cake: If desired, trim top of cake layers off for a flat surface. Place several strips of wax paper around the edges of cake plate or stand. Place first layer directly in the middle, making sure wax paper strips are under the entire perimeter of the cake bottom. Frost top of cake layer, making sure frosting is even. Top with next layer and repeat until all layers are frosted on top. Frost sides of cake and top with chopped pecans if desired. Remove wax paper strips and serve.
Yield: 1 (3 layer) cake
Whole Wheat Version
-Replace all-purpose flour in cake with 509 g. (4 1/2 cups) whole wheat flour. If milling at home, soft wheat is ideal.
-If desired, replace sugar in cake with 473 g. (2 3/4 cups) sucanat with honey. For frosting, powdered sugar can be replaced with 430 g. (2 1/2 cups) sucanat with honey that has been placed in a blender and blended on high speed for about 30 seconds to powder it.
-Follow recipe above.
-Replace all-purpose flour with 540 g. (4 1/2 cups) of a measure-for-measure/cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend.
-Increase salt to 8 g. (2 tsp.)
-Follow recipe above.