Hummingbird cake is a super easy recipe featuring three layers of banana and pineapple cake with indulgent cream cheese icing.  It’s a simple yet impressive cake that’s perfect to serve for a crowd of hungry guests!

Prep Time: 50 minutes
hummingbird cake on a plate
Cakes, Dessert

Hummingbird Cake from Scratch

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Do you love a slice of moist spice cake?  If so, hummingbird cake is just what you need to try!  It’s super easy to make, especially for a beginning baker, but looks and tastes amazing enough to be a showstopper.  It’s definitely worth making!

holding a slice of hummingbird cake with fork

Why do they call it a hummingbird cake?

There are a few explanations of the hummingbird cake’s origin.  The most probable story is that the cake was first made in Jamaica and named after their national bird, a type of hummingbird called the doctor bird.  In the late 1960s, the Jamaican tourist board shared a recipe for a banana and pineapple cake, called doctor bird cake, in their press kits.  The cake became very popular in the Southern United States, and by 1990, hummingbird cake was Southern Living’s most requested recipe of all time.

How many calories are in a slice of hummingbird cake?

It all depends on how big your slice is! 😊 However, if you cut the cake into 25 equal pieces, each slice will be 451 calories.  For more nutritional information, scroll down to the bottom of the post.

hummingbird cake on a plate

Can you freeze a hummingbird cake?

You absolutely can!  To freeze the undecorated cake layers, wrap them securely in plastic wrap, and then aluminum foil.  Place the wrapped cake in a zip-top freezer bag for additional protection.  To freeze the decorated cake, cut in slices and freeze in airtight containers.

How do you make a hummingbird cake?

Hummingbird cake is surprisingly simple to make–in fact, it’s almost like making muffins.  Start by measuring the ingredients.

ingredients for hummingbird cake

Stir together the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another.

wet and dry ingredients for hummingbird cake

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until well mixed; then fold in the chopped, toasted pecans.

folding in pecans for hummingbird cake

Equally divide the batter between three 9-inch cake pans.  Bake and cool completely.

cake batter in the pans for hummingbird cake

Frost the cake with homemade cream cheese icing and decorate with pecan halves.  Enjoy!

hummingbird cake on a plate

Hungry for more Southern desserts?  You’ll want to try these ones, too.

person holding a forkful of buttermilk pie white plate of banana pudding with a drink and two spoons plate of pralines with a wooden spoon

  • Buttermilk Pie: satisfy your sweet tooth with this easy to make, old-fashioned Southern dessert.
  • Banana Pudding: a refreshing dessert made from velvety pudding, bananas, cookies, and whipped cream.
  • Pecan Pralines: enjoy the taste of New Orleans with these sweet, nutty confections.

How did you enjoy this hummingbird cake?  Share your thoughts by leaving a recipe rating below.

hummingbird cake on a plate

Hummingbird Cake from Scratch

  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 25 servings 1x


Hummingbird cake is a super easy recipe featuring three layers of banana and pineapple cake with indulgent cream cheese icing.  It’s a simple yet impressive cake that’s perfect to serve for a crowd of hungry guests!



For the Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (360g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (198g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup light-tasting olive oil (237 ml)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed (144g)
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple with juice (227g)
  • 2 cups ripe bananas, mashed (about 4 large bananas; 379g)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (113g)

For the Decoration


Making the Cake (35 minutes + 20 minutes nut roasting + 25 minutes baking)

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F.  Lightly butter three 9-inch round cake pans and line their bases with parchment paper.
  2. Pour the chopped pecans on a 9 by 13-inch rimmed cookie sheet and gently shake the pan to spread out the nuts.  Roast the nuts at 300 F for 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Repeat with the pecan halves for decorating the cake.
  3. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice) in a large bowl until well blended.
  4. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl, then add the remaining wet ingredients (oil, brown sugar, pineapple, and mashed bananas) and stir until fully mixed.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently stir until no more clumps of flour remain.  Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Fold in the chopped and toasted pecans by running a large spoon around the edge of the bowl, then cutting through the middle.  Repeat until the nuts are evenly dispersed in the batter.
  7. Equally divide the batter between the three prepared cake pans.
  8. Bake the cakes at 350 F for 25-30 minutes on two oven shelves, switching the pans around halfway through.  The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a couple moist crumbs attached.
  9. Set the cake pans on wire racks and let them cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans and allow to cool completely, about 1 hour.

Decorating the Cake (10 minutes)

  1. Place one of the cake layers rounded side up on a large serving plate.  Lay strips of parchment paper around the edge of the plate, tucking them underneath the cake, to keep the plate clean.
  2. Spread some of the icing on top of the first layer, then place the second layer on top.  Spread more icing on top of the second layer, the place the third layer on top.
  3. Crumb coat the sides of the cake to fill in the gaps, then spread a good layer of icing on the top and sides of the cake.  Arrange the toasted pecan halves on top of the cake, then refrigerate or freeze any leftover icing for another bake.
  4. Place the cake in an airtight cake carrier and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving to make it easier to slice.  Refrigerate leftover cake for 5 days in the carrier or another airtight container, or freeze for later.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: hummingbird cake, recipe

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