Monday, April 1, 2013

Hummingbird Cake

I found this recipe pasted in Grandma's little book.  I don't know where it came from, but I know she's just reinventing the wheel here.  Hummingbird Cake has been around for ages.  The story goes that the recipe was first submitted to Southern Living Magazine in 1978 by a woman from North Carolina and in the years since has become their most requested recipe.  

Over the years Southern Living has tweaked it, lightened it, made it into a bundt cake and even turned it into pancakes.  The recipe pasted in Celia's book closely resembles the original SL version but it's not exact, so I have to assume this recipe was making the rounds well before 1978.

Theories abound on the origin of the name also, but I like this one....."Bananas and pineapples come from the tropics.  Jamaica's national bird is the hummingbird and since Jamaica is in the tropics......."  And I also like that theory because my 'rents went to Jamaica on their honeymoon.'s my dad doing the limbo on the beach.  Although, I'm sure it wasn't cake he was into before he decided this would be a good idea.  Just sayin.

 I can't believe I've never made this before and I can certainly see why it's so popular.  Like I said, it's got pineapples and bananas in the batter, along with toasted walnuts (although some recipes call for pecans) so it's extremely moist and, yes, tropical tasting.  But I have to be honest and say that what makes it so damn good is the cream cheese frosting.  Because, really......cream cheese frosting can make feet taste good.  Seriously.

As you can see, I made mine into a sheet cake, but next time I'm  making a traditional layer cake because that way there are several layers of frosting instead of just one!

Here's the recipe in Grandma's book, but feel free to check out the Southern Living link above and see all the variations.  Then do whatever floats your boat.  But don't skimp on the frosting.

Hummingbird Cake

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil (or melted margarine....which is what I used)
1/4 cup water
3 eggs
1 8 oz can crushed pineapple and its juice
2 medium bananas, chopped
1 cup chopped nuts, toasted  (I used walnuts because I like them better than pecans)

Mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, sugar, oil, eggs, pineapple and juice by hand in a large mixing bowl.  Add the bananas and nuts and fold together.  Pour into a well greased and floured pan of your choice.....three 9' round cake pans, 13 x 9 baking dish or even a bundt pan.  If you use a bundt pan, you can make a cream cheese glaze to go over it but you'll miss out on the best part of the cake!!  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approx. 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Icing:

2 8 oz pkg cream cheese, room temp.
1 cup butter, softened
2 16 oz packages powdered sugar (or until you get a good spreadable icing consistency)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped, toasted nuts

Beat together cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer until well combine and smooth, about 3-5 minutes.  Add vanilla and then slowly add powdered sugar.  Ice cake when it's completely cool.  Sprinkle nuts evenly over icing.


  1. Cream cheese can, indeed, make feet taste good. But this cake looks like a better idea! Thanks for the post - I will try it soon! :)

  2. I am making it Friday or Saturday - thanks for the post - will let you all know how it was. I know it is gonna be great. Like you'll said anything with cream cheese frosting on it great.