Hummingbird Cake


I have been making this cake for years. It is my son’s cake of choice for his birthday and the traditional batter for our Easter Bunny Cake.

It is similar to carrot cake (minus the carrots) only better!

I have several Southern Living Cookbooks dating back to the 1970’s and this recipe made its original appearance in 1978.

It was the all-time most requested recipe and from the moment you take your first luscious bite … you will understand why.

I have never come across anyone who could tell me why this cake is called Hummingbird Cake, not even the folks at Southern Living.

I am fascinated with these tiny winged creatures and have several bird feeders in the yard. I have seen them build their itty-bitty nests, watched one of the two white eggs hatch and witnessed fledglings attempt their first flight (very precious to watch). They have hovered right in front of my face and sat on my wrist. For weeks the same hummingbird sat on the same branch of our lemon tree at the same time each evening. Jack and I would watch Grace (yes, I named her) dart back and forth to the flowers enjoying her evening meal as we ate ours. These little jewels of the bird world are my favorite and bring me much joy.

Apparently, no one seems to know what the inspiration was in naming a cake after a small bird, so I have drawn my own conclusions:

Legend says that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. Hummingbirds open our eyes to the wonder of the world and inspire us to open our hearts to loved ones and friends. Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover and savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday.

The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation … so why not celebrate this joy with cake?



  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup olive oil  (Delicate) (original recipe called for vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, with the juice
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted, chopped
  • 2 cups bananas, chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted, chopped (top of cake)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the first five ingredients, then add the eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened (Do not beat).
  2. Stir in the vanilla, pineapple (with juice) and the pecans.
  3. Using a fork, smash the cut up bananas until they become like baby food (pureed) and then add to batter.
  4. Spoon into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake in a 350* oven for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter, beating until smooth.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, beat until light and fluffy.

Assembling the cake:

Spread the frosting between the layers, then frost the top of the cake. Sprinkle with pecans.


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