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Classic Hummingbird Cake Recipe

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Nothing tastes quite like the South as thick, moist slice of Old Fashioned Hummingbird Cake. My Granny Hines has been baking these up in her kitchen for as long as I can remember, and her recipe has won her many an award at family reunion dessert competitions. You can’t say Southerners aren’t a bit competitive, especially when it comes to baking.

Top of hummingbird cake topped with cream cheese frosting and pecans

History of Hummingbird Cake

Southern Living magazine, the icon of life in the South, says that the recipe for Hummingbird Cake is the most requested recipe in its entire history. That’s pretty impressive for a magazine that is now celebrating its 50th year.

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There are slight variations in the recipes I’ve seen over the years, but the tropical flavors or pineapple and banana, along with a cream cheese frosting are consistent elements. What I love about my Granny’s recipe are the finely chopped pecans (and that’s PEE-cans) she includes in her cream cheese frosting. They add a lovely texture to the creamy frosting, and it really seals the deal.

This oil-based cake (not butter) is a cinch to put together, and its impressive appearance only makes it look difficult. It’s really super easy! So be sure to give Hummingbird Cake a try, and impress your family and friends with your baking prowess. (We like easy baking around here; try this Fresh Pear Cake for another easy cake.)

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour (I usually use 1/2 all-purpose and 1/2 soft white wheat)
  • 2 cups sugar (you could probably use a bit less if you’re not into super sweets)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups oil
  • 1 8oz can crushed pineapple (undrained)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (try making your own vanilla extract. So easy!)
  • 2 bananas, diced

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped

Classic Hummingbird Cake Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Then add the rest of the cake ingredients; mix until combined, but do not beat.  hummingbird cake
  2. Spoon batter into 2 greased 9-inch cake pans, or 1 bundt or tube pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes (cake pans) or 1 hour (bundt pan). Use a toothpick to check for doneness.
  3. Allow cake(s) to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then gently loosen and let finishing cooling on a cooling rack. hummingbird cake
  4. While cakes are cooling, make frosting by combining butter and cream cheese in mixer. Once fluffy, mix in vanilla and powdered sugar. You can then either add the pecans directly to the frosting or wait and add them to the top of the cake. I like the look of adding the pecans to the top, but I’ve done it both ways!
  5. If you used cake pans, place bottom layer on cake plate and frost the top, then add second layer. Frost the top of the second layer generously. Leave the sides “naked” for a rustic look. If you used a bundt pan, simply frost the entire cake.                                                                                                                                                                                                   hummingbird cake

So, that’s my Granny’s delicious hummingbird cake recipe. Whip it up for your next dinner party or for a special treat for your family. I took this particular hummingbird cake to our supper club, and it was a hit!

I’ll leave you with a handy printable of the recipe and a picture of my Granny and Granddaddy Hines. This is her favorite picture of the two of them, and I must admit, they make a handsome couple!

Frank and Nina Hines 1960
Yield: 1 cake

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Cake

The classic southern hummingbird cake with lush cream cheese frosting and topped with toasted (or raw) pecans. Delicious!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 cup pecans, optional
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Oil (refined coconut or vegetable)
  • 1 8oz. can Crushed Pineapple, undrained
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 cups Banana, diced
  • 1 stick Butter, unsalted
  • 1 8oz pkg Cream Cheese
  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 cup Chopped Pecans

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Then add the rest of the cake ingredients; mix until combined, but do not beat.
  2. Grease tube pan, bundt pan, or 2 cake pans. Pour cake batter into prepared pan(s) and bake 1 hour (tube/bundt pan) or 30-40 minutes (2 cake pans). Use a toothpick to test if done.
  3. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes, then finishing cooling on a rack. While cake cools, prepare frosting.cooling cakes
  4. Mix softened butter and cream cheese. Gradually add powdered sugar, then pecans. Spread frosting on cooled cake. Enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

14

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 743Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 34gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 336mgCarbohydrates: 78gFiber: 3gSugar: 51gProtein: 7g

I'd love to hear from you

Katherine Jones

Friday 25th of June 2021

Hello Courtney , is there any eggs in the lovely cake recipe? Or does the pineapple and bananas take the eggs place. From Arkansas

Courtney

Saturday 26th of June 2021

Hi Katherine! You're correct; no eggs since this is what some would call an oil-based cake. The pineapple will also add needed moisture. Hope this helps!

Miz Helen

Tuesday 7th of November 2017

We will love your awesome Hummingbird Cake! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us at Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a good week and come back to see us real soon! Miz Helen

Courtney

Tuesday 7th of November 2017

Thank you so much Miz Helen!

Janet Vinyard

Wednesday 17th of February 2016

Hummingbird Cake is definitely a Southern classic! Thanks for sharing your grandmother's recipe! Blessings, Janet

Courtney

Thursday 18th of February 2016

Hi, Janet! Thank you for stopping by!

I'd love to hear from you

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