Hummingbird Cake

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Have you heard about “Hummingbird Cake”? What is that?

This is what Google tells us:

“The Hummingbird Cake first achieved mass appeal after it was submitted to Southern Living Magazine in February of 1978, by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro North Carolina. Unfortunately, Mrs. Wiggins did not supply an explanation of the cake’s whimsical name. Hummingbird Cake went on to become the most requested recipe from Southern Living Magazine.

Although this cake may have started as a simple banana cake from the tropics, it became an American dessert with the addition of pecans, which are grown in the USA, and a thick layer of classic cream cheese frosting, which is also uniquely American.”

Sounded good… so we give it a try!

Humingbird-Cake_3 We tested a few different methods and frosting combinations; some good, some not so good. In the photos, this is a version with the bananas and pineapple chopped into small chunks. I didn’t like the texture, but it made a cool photo. In the recipe we have recommended ‘mashed’ bananas and ‘crushed’ pineapple – but it’s up to you.

Humingbird-Cake_2 Because it is so rich, Hummingbird Cake needs to be served in small slices, making it a great cake for large gatherings. Put it on your list for Thanksgiving this year.

Humingbird-Cake_1 Hummingbird Cake stays fresh in the fridge for days, or it can be frozen, frosted and served weeks later. If you like banana cake or carrot cake, you will love this for a change. Enjoy!

Oh, one more thing – I am happy to welcome a new sponsor to Cake of the Month – Manitoba Canola Growers! This healthy ‘Canadian’ oil, is low in saturated fat and contains both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Hummingbird cake owes its moist texture to the wonderful mix of canola oil and bananas. Thanks Manitoba Canola Growers for the support!

Hummingbird Cake
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped (or roughly chopped as shown)
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas, about 3 medium sized (or roughly chopped as shown)
  • 1 8oz can crushed pineapple, drained (or ½ cup fresh pineapple chopped as shown)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1-1/4 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter two 8” round cake pans and line with parchment, Butter the parchment and dust with flour.
  2. Whisk flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  3. Beat eggs and sugar in the bowl of a mixer on high speed until thick and light, about 5 minutes. Gradually add canola oil.
  4. Sprinkle flour over the egg mixture gently folding to make a thick batter. Fold in pecans, bananas and pineapple. Transfer to prepared pans.
  5. Bake until the cakes are firm and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 50-55 minutes. 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.
Cream Cheese Frosting ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 3-2/3 cups icing (confectioners) sugar 1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest 1 tsp vanilla extract In the bowl of an 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 lemon zest and vanilla extract until smooth.


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