Hummingbird Cake

hummingbird cake

Why is this called a Hummingbird Cake? You got me. If you are a smarty pants and know the answer..let us know. It’s not like you go out and find a bunch of Hummingbirds and blend em up in your food processor as an ingredient. Well, maybe Ozzy Osbourne would, but not us sound minded food folks.
I made this amazingly delicious cake for my Moms Birthday. She wanted a cake other than chocolate(I know, and she calls herself my Mom… tift!)
I think this cake should be renamed something like, Banana Cake on STEROIDS. For rizzle y’all, that’s what it is, banana cake on steroids. Super moist and a nice spice to it. And the frosting is lick the bowl clean yummy. Oh and it is super simple and quick to make which is always a plus in my book.

1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup safflower or canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 – 8 ounce can crushed pineapple, do not drain
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium sized bananas)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray two – 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with a circle of parchment paper.
Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop finely. Set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
In another large bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, mashed bananas, and finely chopped pecans. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, and then cool completely before frosting.

Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound box confectioners sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
Garnish: (Optional)
Pecan halves
Toasted Coconut
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and cream cheese, on low speed, until very smooth with no lumps. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and then stir in the finely chopped pecans.
To assemble: place one cake, top side down, onto your serving platter. Spread with about a third of the frosting. Gently place the other cake layer, top of cake facing up, onto the frosting, and spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Can garnish with pecan halves. And the sides with the toasted coconut. Refrigerate the cake for about one hour so the frosting has time to set.
Recipe Source Joy of Baking


  1. 1

    Leslie, this looks absolutely perfect! I may have to give this a go sometime VERY soon!

  2. 2

    I have some bananas that are getting pretty ripe and I think I just might have to use them for this recipe. It looks so good!!
    And that icing…I could eat it plain like ice cream ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. 3

    Ooo, your mom is going to totally love this cake. I love cakes that are on steroids. All the better. What an awesome job you did. Happy bday to your mom, by the way!

  4. 4

    That looks like a perfect cake for your mom. I love how dense the cake looks. This is something I have to try one day!

  5. 5
    justjoycee says:

    I know everyone in my house would just love this cake, whatever you call it. Just lovely!!!!

  6. 6

    it looks terrific, I’ve seen recipes for it but never made, I think I will now!

  7. 7
    Alyssa Goodnight says:

    Oooh–yours looks sooo yummy! Love the toasted coconut on the side! I will definitely be making this soon.

  8. 8

    I can’t explain hummingbird. How about bald eagle? Okay, the last photo…white feathers on top, frosting beak coming down from the top. Now squint your eyes, open them big, cross them, see it? I tried.

  9. 9

    the FIRST question i thought of was also, “why is it called a hummingbird cake?”

  10. 10
    Fahrenheit 350ยฐ says:

    I’m gawking over your photos!

  11. 11
    janis McCarty says:

    I found 2 explanations for the name Hummingbird cake on the Internet.
    One — when eating the cake one is likely to go hmmmmm hmmmmmm hmmmmm.
    Two- people gather around the cake like hummingbirds to a feeder and are attracted to the sweetness of the dessert.
    Can’t wait to try the recipe. My grandmother used to make Hummingbird Cake. It was one of her favorites.

  12. 12
    Donna-FFW says:

    This has been on my list to make for quite a while. Just havent gotten around to it yet. Yours looks incredible. I love your new title of the cake, bc on steroids, classic!

  13. 13

    Yum! Looks awesome! I am sure your mom loved it!

  14. 14

    Mmmm, this looks really delicious!

  15. 15

    I Googled “hummingbird cake” and the most reasonable explanation I could find for the name is that this cake originated in Jamaica and the hummingbird is a national symbol there. (Amber was close when she suggested bald eagle.) The hummingbird is also called the doctor bird in Jamaica, and that would raise even more questions than the name it has ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. 16
    Katrina says:

    Wow! I’ve heard of and seen hummingbird cake, but never realized or thought of it as banana cake on steroids. NOW I want some. Bananas are my favorite and anything made with them. Looks great!

  17. 17

    I have been wanting to try hummingbird cake. It looks so good!

  18. 18
    Leslie M. says:

    Found this Les
    One of these theories is that in old times people used to Hum when eating this cake. It is also possible that the name is derived from the intense sweet taste of the cake and how it attracts people to eat it and then they disperse quickly, resembling the hummingbird’s eating pattern. Hummingbirds seem to love intensely sweet food. They eat them quickly and disperse when they are sated.

    Anyway… who cares… it looks DELISH!!!
    YOU are one amazing BAKER.. and MY Birthday is JUNE 13th
    Request.. Chocolate ANYTHING! haahahh
    Oh.. that box of G0-Diva Truffles..
    The Dopes polished them off.. HOWEVER…. (I had 2 or maybe even 1 not sure) Hubby got me a 1 pound box of Go-Divas for Mother’s Day.. Gaaaaaaa.. That sucker is staying Closed! NO LIE!

    LOVE ya Mama!!

  19. 19
    Clumbsy Cookie says:

    I would go with the explanation Janis gave, because I’m sure if I ate it I would go hummmmmmmmmmmmmmm hummmmmmmmmmmmmm hummmmmmmmmm all the time!!!

  20. 20

    I love anything with banana, so this would definitely be a hit in my house. Maybe I’ll try a cupcake version. Thanks Leslie!

  21. 21

    I have not made in one years. Leslie, yours looks so beautiful it is inspiration to get baking.

  22. 22
    Angeliquez says:

    girl,you’re a genius!
    no i mean it,seriously.
    you’ve got me drooling all over my keyboard,and i don’t even like coconut!

  23. 23

    yeah why is it called hummingbird cake? I bet some old fartknocker woman was looking out the window and saw a hummingbird and said oh yes. LOL
    I always love your photos. You crazy freak lover of all things coconut and Cheez Its. (can you tell I’m feeling goofy and hyper, yeah)

  24. 24

    I have saw this recipe many times in cookbooks and thought it looks wonderful, but never tried it. Looking at this has given me new inspiration! YUMMY ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. 25
    Kerstin says:

    Bananas, pineapple, and pecans all in one cake – yum, it looks fantastic!

  26. 26
    pigpigscorner says:

    I can only think of the Hummingbird bakery. This cake looks as good as the ones can find at the Hummingbird?! hehe

  27. 27

    Wow, looks great!! Sorry, I don’t have an explanation to the Hummingbird theory…

  28. 28

    yep, banana cake on steroids is much more fitting and descriptive a name. i might insert the word “tremendous” right there in front. ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. 29

    I have always wondered why this was called Hummingbird Cake. I would eat that frosting straight from the bowl. Your cake is beautiful and Happy Birthday to your mom!

  30. 30

    Wow this cake looks delicious. Yum

  31. 31
    Heather says:

    just beautiful! i’ve also always wondered where this cake got its name!

  32. 32

    I've never had one of these but maybe this is my queue to bake one and try it!

  33. 33
    Chef Fresco says:

    Yum! Your Mom sure is lucky! Looks soo delicious!

  34. 34
    Joanne Choi says:

    I’m more total carrot cake girl – but this cake looks yummy…sort of a tropical paradise in seems…can’t wait to try.

  35. 35
    Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer says:

    Looks so incredible – You can see by the pics just how moist this incredible culinary creation is as well.

  36. 36
    kiss my spatula says:

    i am humming while wishing i could taste that gorgeous slice of cake.

  37. 37

    That’s just beautiful…my son and I are drooling over it together!

  38. 38
    Cristine says:

    Looks fantastic, Leslie! I would love a slice (or two…).

  39. 39
    The Baker & The Curry Maker says:

    Ha! Banana cake on steriods! I love it. This looks tasty.

  40. 40
    Netts Nook says:

    What a perfect cake. Love all the flavor I am sharing a fun banana bread today. Can’t wait to try your cake.

  41. 41

    It’s called delicious to me…that is my kind of cake!!! It looks mouth watering good. You have a lucky mom.

  42. 42

    Oh I could eat a nice piece of that cake!! I always wonder about that name too?!?

    Looks beautiful as usual Leslie! You are a baking genius! ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. 43

    What a gorgeous looking cake girl! Beautiful!!

  44. 44

    This looks delicious! I’ve always wanted to make a hummingbird cake, I’ve never tried one before.

  45. 45

    ohhhhhhhhhhhhh that looks delicious! YUM! well done!

  46. 46
    noble pig says:

    Beyond fabulous is all I can say…I mean wow!

  47. 47

    i LOVE hummingbird cake. i rejoice at the sight of overripe bananas just so i can make it.

  48. 48
    Bridgett says:

    This is a gorgeous cake, Leslie! I love the cinnamon in the recipe. I definitely need to give this a try…I bet the family would love it.

  49. 49

    I've never made a hummingbird cake. Looks great!!

  50. 50
    JennyMac says:

    I looked it up in a really old cookbook and they said in times when grain was scarce they ground up hummingbird bones and used it in place of flour.

    GOTCHA sucka! hahahahahaaha. Don't care at this point where the name came from… just looks GOOOOOOOOODDDDD! FedEx me a piece sista! *drool*

  51. 51
    Culinary Wannabe says:

    I am tempted to just make the frosting and have that with a spoon! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  52. 52
    Peter M says:

    Coconutm coconut and more coconut…indeed a fine cake. Thanks, I want NOW>

  53. 53

    It looks so delicious
    Thank for sharing

  54. 54
    from my motorhome to yours says:

    I have tried this cake and its soo good, by the way check out my blog I have a cool giveaway going on

  55. 55
    J.Danger says:

    who cares what its called?! Just gimme a piece!

  56. 56

    YUM! Who cares WHY it’s called Hummingbird cake – the bottom line is, it looks delicious!

  57. 57

    this looks so very good! haven't had a piece of cake in ages (not that I haven't had plenty of dessert LOL)

  58. 58

    Oh my, I've had this cake before and it's to die for! Yours looks perfect and I'm wishing for a piece of it right now- a little bedtime snack! ๐Ÿ™‚

  59. 59

    oh that's just wonderful. that cake looks to die for!!! leslie, you are a baking goddess x

  60. 60
    Morta Di Fame says:

    I think its called a hummingbird cake because its sweet and fruity and a hummingbird would be attracted to it. Thats my guess.

  61. 61

    One of my favorite cake. I made it for a potluck party and everyone raved about it. Delicious picture.

  62. 62

    Looks great! Who cares what it is called as long as it tastes good!

  63. 63

    This is beautiful! I've been wanting to try out a hummingbird cake recipe too. What a sweet surprise for mom.

  64. 64

    Thank you for this yummy recipe! I love the frosting which is surprising 'coz i am not a frostinig lover at all! i added some golden raisins and some dried apricots and added a bit more pineapple.

  65. 65

    LOL, for rizzle? I have bananas that are screaming bake me and I need a cake for babygirl's birthday on Sunday.

  66. 66
    Foodycat says:

    I've had hummingbird cake before – and really liked it – but I have never made my own. This looks so professional!

  67. 67


    Thanks for letting me know you tried it. You additions sound wonderful

  68. 68

    I have been in a cake making mood lately. I get tired of making the smae old chocolate or yellow cakes. Thanks for the new recipe.

  69. 69

    i agree… truly amazing… ๐Ÿ™‚

  70. 70
    Anonymous says:

    I'm am a smarty pant's. Aged over 60yrs. Humming bird cake is called this as it is so sweet and moist hummingbirds would eat it.Well that's what my Grandmother told me while I were just knee high to a grashopper.

  71. 71

    I came up with the theory that when you bite into this delicious cake you immediately say "hummmmmm"! This is the sound a humming bird makes with it's wings!

  72. 72

    I heard the name comes from it being a Jamaican cake, and their bird is the Hummingbird. I've also heard that the cake is so sweet that it attracts hummingbirds.

  73. 73

    I tried it and loved it and so did everyone in the house. The cake finished the next day lol

  74. 74

    This looks delicious. I was wondering if you use crushed pineapple in juice or in syrup?

  75. 76

    It’s called a Hummingbird Cake because it originates from the Hummingbird Bakery in London. It’s their specialty cake.


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