This delicious hummingbird cake recipe features ultra-moist tropical pineapple banana cake layered with rich cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of toasted pecans.
Hummingbird Cake Ingredients:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom*
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups well-mashed ripe bananas
- 1 1/4 cups finely-chopped fresh pineapple*
- 1 cup finely-chopped pecans, lightly toasted (plus extra for topping the cake, if desired)
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- Prep the oven and cake pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8-inch* cake pans, tapping out any excess flour.
- Mix the cake batter. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, cardamom, and ginger until combined. Add the eggs, oil and vanilla extract, stirring until the ingredients just combined and no dry streaks remain. (Try to avoid over-mixing.) Add the bananas, pineapple and pecans and stir until evenly combined.
- Bake. Portion the batter evenly between the three cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let them cool completely to room temperature before frosting.
- Mix the frosting. In a large mixing bowl (or see stand mixer option below), whisk together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and salt until evenly combined. Gradually add in the powdered sugar until incorporated, then whisk the frosting vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth and fluffy. If the frosting seems too thin, add extra powdered sugar. If it seems too thick, add in a tablespoon or two of water.
- Assemble the cake. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread about 1 cup of frosting evenly on top of the cake, extending over the edges. Repeat with a second layer of cake, followed by an additional 1 cup of frosting. Repeat with the third layer of cake, then spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake until smooth. Sprinkle extra chopped pecans on the cake as decoration, if desired.
- Serve. Slice, serve and enjoy!
Fresh pineapple: I strongly recommend using fresh instead of canned pineapple, in order for the pineapple flavor to really shine through. Be sure to also lightly strain off any excess pineapple juice before measuring and adding the chopped pineapple to the recipe. (No need to aggressively press the juice out; if there just happens to be any excess juice on the cutting board, try not to add it to your measuring cup.)
Use 9-inch cake pans: Alternately, you can use two or three 9-inch cake pans, instead of three 8-inch cake pans. If you only use two pans, be sure that they are at least 2 inches tall. And be sure to keep an eye on the baking time and use the toothpick test to determine when the cakes are finished baking. If you use two 9-inch pans, the baking time will be around 27-32 minutes. If you use three 9-inch pans, the baking time will be around 20-25 minutes.
Use a stand mixer: To make the cream cheese frosting a stand mixer, add the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and salt. Mix with the paddle attachment on medium-low speed until evenly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 1 to 2 more minutes until light and fluffy.
Prep time: The hands-on prep time is listed above. But you will need additional time (generally between 1 to 2 hours) for the cakes to cool completely to room temperature before frosting.