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My mother wasn’t much of a baker. She loved making cookies and candies around Christmas; but if she was going to bake a cake, it came from a box. As she got older, that changed. A little anyway. She discovered hummingbird cake. Anytime she needed to bake a cake for anything (in the South, any life event requires food), she made a hummingbird cake. I inherited her recipe, and I’ve pretty much left it alone.
What is hummingbird cake?
Hummingbird cake is a cinnamon spice cake with pineapple, bananas, and pecans. Over the years, it has become synonymous with the South. Nearly every southern home cook has her (or his) own version. Most that I’ve seen agree on the fruit and nuts, although some do use walnuts instead of pecans. Vegetable oil is a must because the cake contains fruit. The spices vary according to taste.
How do I make hummingbird cake?
Making this cake is similar to making blueberry muffins. Combine the dry ingredients. Stir in the wet ingredients only until mixed. Do not beat. Fold in the fruit and nuts. Pour into cake pans and bake.
This amazingly simple cake doesn’t even require a mixer! In fact, if you tried to use one, you would ruin the entire cake.
When it comes to the frosting, cream cheese is the winner! We tried so many different versions of cream cheese frosting to find one that will actually hold up. There’s always the standard, which in south Florida, loves to melt if not refrigerated or frozen. Then we took the cream cheese and beat it into a Swiss buttercream. That just made a mess! For our last attempt, we beat heavy cream to stiff peaks and stirred it into the cream cheese. Guess what! We wound up with a light, fluffy, much more stable version of cream cheese frosting! Even in south Florida!
One important note. While hummingbird cake is good the day you make it, it is amazing the next day!
Do I need to refrigerate hummingbird cake?
Yes. While it can sit out for a day or so, I would certainly refrigerate it if you are keeping it longer than a couple of days. And if you are using our whipped cream version of cream cheese frosting, I would refrigerate it immediately.
Can I freeze hummingbird cake?
Sure. You can bake it in advance and freeze the layers. Just make sure to wrap them tightly. You can also make and frost the whole cake, and then freeze it. Just make sure you freeze it before you wrap it. And unwrap it before you defrost it or you’ll have a huge mess when the frosting comes off with the plastic wrap.
Let us know what you think about this recipe in the comments! Tag us on Instagram @msdeltahospitality or on Facebook at Mississippi Delta Hospitality.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple
- 4 bananas, chopped
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 8 ounce packs cream cheese
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray 3 9-inch round pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
- Mix only until moistened. Do not beat!
- Gently stir in bananas, pineapple, and pecans.
- Pour into prepared pans.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until it tests done.
- Remove from oven and let cool in pans for about 10 minutes.
- Turn out onto cooling rack and allow to finish cooling.
- Beat butter and cream cheese at high speed until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes).
- Add powdered sugar in small amounts, beating well after each addition.
- Stir in vanilla.
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Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 956 Total Fat: 56g Saturated Fat: 16g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 36g Cholesterol: 105mg Sodium: 576mg Carbohydrates: 110g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 79g Protein: 9g