Nothing tastes quite like the South as thick, moist slice of 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.
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. 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.)
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)
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
2 bananas, diced
1 stick unsalted butter
1 block cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
Classic Hummingbird Cake
- 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.
- 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.
- Allow cake(s) to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then gently loosen and let finishing cooling on a cooling rack.
- 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!
- 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.
So, that’s my Granny’s delicious recipe. Whip it up for your next dinner party or for a special treat for your family. I took this particular 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!