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This popular southern Old Fashioned Hummingbird Cake is an moist and flavorful layer cake. Made with ripe banana, perfectly sweet pineapple, chopped pecans and swirls of cream cheese frosting.

Hummingbird cake topped with pecans, on a orange glass cake stand with one slice removed and on a plate.


All About this Old Fashioned Hummingbird Cake

  • Dense, moist, and flavorful. Similar to a banana bread, but paired with tropical flavors!
  • Topped with creamy, smooth swirls of cream cheese frosting.
  • No oils included! This cake gets its tender, moist crumb from other ingredients.
  • Easy to prepare!
  • Always a crowd pleaser! This cake feeds a crowd, making it perfect for holidays, like Easter or summer parties.

What is Hummingbird Cake?

Hummingbird cake is a banana-pineapple spice cake that originated in Jamaica in the 1960s. It was first published in Southern Living in 1978, making it a popular southern dessert recipe.

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients needed to make hummingbird cake laid out on the counter.
  • All Purpose Flour: this recipe hasn’t been tested with other flours.
  • Banana: be sure to grab or use bananas that are nice and ripe, they should have dark brown spots on them. The more ripe the banana the sweeter they are.
  • Crushed Pineapple: adds sweetness, moisture and flavor. Typically found in cans, if you are using fresh pineapple you can simply chop it up and pulse in a food processor until crushed.
  • Applesauce: use unsweetened.
  • Butter: adding extra fat and moisture to the cake.
  • Coconut Oil: this in addition to the applesauce and butter is making up our moisture in the cake instead of using seed oils.
  • Cinnamon & All Spice: warm spices add another element to the flavoring.
  • Sugar & Light Brown Sugar: using both adds moisture and flavor to the cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting

This cake is topped with luscious, creamy swirls of cream cheese frosting. A classic combination of simple ingredients:

  • Cream Cheese
  • Butter
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla

How to Make

How to make hummingbird cake, showing mixing the cake batter and adding chopped pecans.
  1. Prepare Batter: Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together separately, then slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring until thick batter forms.
  2. Pecans: Add in the chopped pecans and fold into the batter.
  3. Bake: Evenly divide the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake. Once the cakes are cooled, prepare the frosting.
  4. Frost: Place the first layer on a serving plate or cake stand, add the frosting to the top in a smooth layer, then top with the remaining cake layer and frost the rest of the cake.
Mixing cream cheese frosting and spreading on top of a cake layer.


Why do they call it Hummingbird Cake?

The Hummingbird Cake originated in Jamaica in the 0s, and it’s said to be sweet enough to attract hummingbirds. Other opinions say that the yellow streaks of banana are reminiscent of the colors of the hummingbirds native to Jamaica.

Is Hummingbird Cake a Southern thing?

The first publication of the recipe was in Southern Living in 1978, submitted by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina. This launched the cake recipe in America throughout the Southern states.

What does a Hummingbird Cake taste like?

This cake recipe is dense and moist, with a texture and flavor similar to banana bread, with a hint of tropical f

A slice of hummingbird cake on a glass orange plate.

Make Ahead and Storage

  • Make Ahead: this cake can be made ahead of time. Let the layers cool to room temperature, wrap tightly and store at room temperature for one day. When ready, prepare the frosting and frost and assemble the cake.
  • Leftovers: this cake should be stored in the refrigerator due to the cream cheese frosting. Store in a sealed container to prevent drying out.
  • Freezing Instructions: This cake can be frozen with or without frosting. To freeze frosted, assemble and place on a freezer safe tray, frost and set in freezer, once it’s frozen, then wrap to store for up to 3 months. If freezing un-frosted, let the cakes cool to room temperature, then wrap with plastic wrap, then with foil and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

More Southern Dessert Recipes

Old Fashioned Hummingbird Cake

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 15
Author: Serene
This popular southern Old Fashioned Hummingbird Cake is an moist and flavorful layer cake. Made with ripe banana, perfectly sweet pineapple, chopped pecans and swirls of cream cheese frosting.
Hummingbird cake with cream cheese frosting and crushed pecans on top sitting on an orange cake stand.


  • 3 cups all purpose flour (460 g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (8g)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (1 g)
  • ½ teaspoon all spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt (4g)
  • 2 cups mashed banana (425 g)
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple
  • 3 large eggs beaten
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (185 g)
  • 1 cup white sugar (200 g)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup applesauce (135 g)
  • cup coconut oil melted (85 g)
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted (25 g)
  • 1 cup pecans chopped (85 g)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch salt


  • ¼ cup chopped pecans


  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F. 
  • Prepare two 9 inch round cake pans by spraying with non stick cooking spray and lining with parchment paper on the bottom. 
  • In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, all spice, and salt. Stir together and set aside. 
  • In a large bowl add the mashed banana, crushed pineapple, beaten eggs, and sugars. Stir together to combine. 
  • Add in the vanilla, applesauce, coconut oil and butter. Stir to combine. 
  • Slowly add in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. 
  • Fold in the chopped pecans. 
  • Evenly divide the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 27-30 minutes. Cakes will be golden on the top and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. 
  • Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and continue cooling on a wire rack. 


  • Add the butter and cream cheese to a medium size bowl. 
  • Mix together using a hand or stand mixer until smooth and creamy. 
  • Switch mixer to slow and slowly add in the powdered sugar. Continuing to mix. Add in the vanilla and pinch of salt. 
  • Continue whipping the frosting until smooth and light. Add more powdered sugar as needed for desired consistency. 


  • Once cake is completely cooled, place first cake layer on serving plate or stand. Add frosting to the top of the cake in a smooth layer. 
  • Then top with the remaining cake layer. 
  • Continue to frost the rest of the cake. 
  • Top with chopped pecans around the edge if desired. 



Storage: cake should be stored in a covered or sealed container in the refrigerator due to the cream cheese frosting. 


Calories: 620kcal | Carbohydrates: 83g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 230mg | Potassium: 253mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 59g | Vitamin A: 710IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Photography by the talented

Welcome to my kitchen!

Welcome to the House of Yumm!! My name is Serene. I’m the food photographer, recipe developer, and official taste tester around these parts.

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