The Hummingbird Cake is one of those beloved tried and true cake recipes that generations of Southerners have both made and enjoyed. It's a dense made-from-scratch banana infused cake that's filled with both crushed pineapple and toasted pecans. The crowning touch is the sweet cream cheese frosting that takes it to a whole new level of deliciousness.
Where Did Hummingbird Cake Originate?
It first achieved popularity after it was submitted to Southern Living Magazine in February of 1978, by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro North Carolina. I'm super proud that this beloved Southern classic was created right here in my neck of the woods. No explanation was given for the unique name however, it didn't keep this rich banana-pineapple cake from achieving the title of the most requested recipe in the history of Southern Living Magazine. Quite a culinary feat, wouldn't you say? Through the years, many cooks have put their own spin on this decadent cream cheese frosted cake. I want to pay homage to the incredible homemaker and baker from right here in my neighborhood, by featuring the original version of this all-time Southern favorite.
Notable Variations of Hummingbird Cake
Hummingbird cake can be made into a sheet cake if you prefer. Bake for 30 minutes, then check the center with a toothpick for doneness and increase the temperature in 5 minute increments from there. I love it as a classic layer cake but, at times a layer cake can be a challenge to transport to another location. It can also be made into hummingbird cupcakes or for a special brunch, hummingbird pancakes. You can also use walnuts in place of the pecans, if you prefer. You'll note in the video it demonstrates both ways. Regardless, whatever way you choose to make it, you'll be the dessert hero every single time.
Other Southern Classic Cakes To Enjoy
We love our big beautiful cakes here in the south and among them there are two that reign supreme. One is a rich Red Velvet Layer Cake and the other a classic vanilla cake dubbed Million Dollar Pound Cake. Make them once, and you'll be hooked.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 large eggs beaten
- 1 ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla
- 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple undrained
- 2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts divided
- 2 cup chopped banana [or chunky mashed]
- 2 8 oz packages cream cheese softened
- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 2 16 oz boxes powdered sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 3  inch cake pans, set aside.
- Sift together the dry ingredients. Add the beaten eggs and vegetable oil. Mix by hand until moistened, do not beat.
- Stir in the pure vanilla extract , crushed pineapple, 1 cup of nuts and the chopped or chunky mashed banana. Stir again until fully combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Place into the oven and bake for 27-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean. Cool on a wire rack.
- To make the frosting: Cream together the cream cheese and butter until light, fluffy and pale yellow in color. Add the vanilla.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until creamy and smooth.
- Frost the cake between the layers first, then top and sides.
- Sprinkle with the remaining chopped nuts.
- Store refrigerated.
b) The original recipe calls for chopped bananas. Roughly mashed bananas will also work in this cake.
c) If needed, add heavy cream, half & half or whole milk 1 Tbsp at a time to thin the frosting to spreading consistency.