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This is the best hummingbird cake recipe with a banana-bread texture and hints of pineapple. It is topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and roasted pecans.
What is hummingbird cake? It is a delicious banana and pineapple-flavored dense cake with hints of cinnamon. It reminds me of banana cake mixed with pineapple upside-down cake.
You probably guessed by the tropical fruit that this recipe is from the Caribbean.
It was most likely invented in Jamaica before spreading to the American South via Jamaican tourism brochures.
I adapted this hummingbird cake recipe from The Perfect Cake by America’s Test Kitchen.
I feel like their method for reducing the pineapple juice allows for concentrated flavor. It also adds moisture to the cake.
Why this recipe works
- This hummingbird cake recipe calls for roasting the pecans and they taste so much better this way!
- The cream cheese frosting has hints of cinnamon which enhances the overall cake flavor.
- Both oil and butter are used, which adds moisture and richness to the finished product.
This is the best hummingbird cake! It is the perfect sweet cake for parties and get-togethers.
What you need
The hints of cinnamon, banana and pineapple stand out in this delicious hummingbird cake recipe. Let’s discuss just a few of the key ingredients:
This is a short overview of the ingredients I used and why I chose them. The full recipe can be found at the bottom of the post!
- Fruit: Canned crushed pineapple works best in this recipe. Make sure that the bananas are overripe for the best results.
- Flour & leavening: It’s very important to measure the all-purpose flour accurately for this recipe. The baking powder and baking soda act as leavening agents.
- Spices: Cinnamon provides extra flavor to the cake and the frosting.
- Sugar: I used granulated sugar in the batter and powdered sugar in the frosting for this recipe.
- Fats: The oil adds moisture, while the butter adds richness. The eggs add structure and flavor to the cake.
This is a list of tools I used to make the recipe.
- Cake pans: You’ll need 2 9-inch round cake pans to make the layers of this cake.
- Whisk & Spatula: A whisk is essential for getting the wet ingredients mixed properly. A silicone spatula is best for folding the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients without overmixing the batter.
How to make hummingbird cake
1. Make pineapple juice reduction
You’ll reduce the juice from the canned pineapple over heat.
- Drain the pineapple using a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Then, press firmly to extract all the juice.
- Save the solids for later.
- Pour the juice into a small saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat until reduced to a ½ cup, about 5 minutes.
- Finally, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2. Mix wet ingredients
You’ll combine the wet ingredients to start the batter.
- In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs together until pale in color, about 3 minutes.
- Then, whisk in the oil, butter and molasses.
- Finally, stir in the bananas, pecans, vanilla, pineapple bits and the reduced juice from earlier.
3. Mix dry ingredients
The dry ingredients need to be mixed prior to combining with the wet ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
- Add this mixture to the wet ingredients. Then, combine to finish batter. Take care not to overmix.
You’ll bake the batter to create the hummingbird cake layers.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Prepare the cake pans with grease and parchment paper as described in the recipe.
- Divide the hummingbird cake batter evenly between the pans. Then, take a silicone spatula and smooth the tops.
- Bake 40-45 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 20 minutes.
- Finally, remove them from the pans and allow to cool completely on wire racks. This should take about 2 hours.
5. Make the frosting
To finish the cake, you’ll make a delicious frosting for the exterior.
- Grab your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt on low speed until smooth.
- Continue to mix for 2 minutes while scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
6. Assemble the cake
You’ll put frosting between the layers. Frost the exterior and top with roasted, chopped pecans.
Jen’s Best tips
- Measure the flour correctly! Using too much flour by mistake will ruin the texture of the cake.
- Don’t overmix! You don’t need an electric mixer for this recipe. Use a balloon whisk and spatula to mix just until the ingredients are combined.
- Overripe bananas are best for this recipe! If your bananas aren’t overripe, roast them in their skin for 15 minutes at 350°F. Cool them completely and remove the skin before using.
- This cake is dense but moist and will not rise a lot during baking.
- This recipe can also be baked in three 8-inch pans. The bake time will need to be adjusted slightly.
- Bake cupcakes by reducing the bake time. Start checking around 15 minutes.
Storing & Freezing
To store: You can store the hummingbird cake in the fridge tightly covered for no more than 5 days.
You may also wrap individual baked layers tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Make sure to bring to room temperature prior to frosting.
To Freeze: There are two ways to freeze this moist cake. You can wrap the baked layers individually and freeze for no more than 3 months.
Bring the layers to room temperature before frosting.
You can also freeze the frosted cake for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
You can either bring to room temperature or serve cold.
Other cakes you may like
If you’re a fan of all things banana, you’ll love these other cakes on my blog:
Did you try this recipe? I would love for you to leave me a 5-star rating or comment. This way, I have a better understanding of which recipes you like and can create more of them.
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Can gluten free 1:1 flour be used in this recipe?
I imagine it would be fine but I haven’t tested it.