Hummingbird Cake

My friend Cyn, from Especially Southern Dishes, invited me to join her and a few other bloggers to post a Southern Recipe today. First of all, I was so honored, because I adore Cyn and her work. A “self-proclaimed introvert”, Cyn’s colorful and “extrovert” talent just shines in every single beautiful photo that she posts of her sinfully delicious recipes! I hope that you stop by her blog and Instagram page, because I know you will love her just as much as I do.

Secondly, I was worried, because I shamefully admit that I do not know anything about Southern cooking. So I emailed Cyn right away and told her that I had no idea what to make. She instantly came back and suggested a Hummingbird Cake.

What is this delightful confection that you suggest, Cyn?

I researched Hummingbird Cakes, and found that it is a delicious concoction of crushed pineapple, banana, pecans with a cream cheese frosting!

“Ooh La La…” I said to myself, and decided that I would do what I do best….

In my research on this delightfully moist gem of a cake, I found that this cake has one heck of a history with several different names, such as Doctor Bird Cake, Bird of Paradise Cake, Bumblebee Cake, Doesn’t Last Cake, Jamaican Cake, and Nothing Left Cake.

It is believed that this cake originated in the 1960’s in Jamaica, called the Doctor Bird Cake. Doctor Bird is a nickname for Jamaica’s national bird called the Red-billed Streamertail, which is a member of the Hummingbird family. In a marketing ploy, Air Jamaica adopted the Doctor Bird as its logo, and along with enticing foreigners to visit their island, the recipe for this cake was included in its media packages, which soon made its way to Virginia. And so began its popularity in many small town newspapers, winning baking contest after baking contest…when finally in 1978, Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina submitted her winning recipe of Hummingbird Cake to the Southern Living magazine to be published did it then become the Southern Classic that everyone loves!

Believe it or not, I found this recipe in one of my grandmother’s old church recipe cookbooks submitted by Leona Reynolds. I have gone through that little book so many times, I can’t believe that I never really looked at that recipe!  Laden with pineapple, banana, and pecans, this moist cake has won my heart. The tang of the cream cheese frosting, as it always does, pairs well with the cinnamon-y fruits and nuts. This is definitely a recipe that I will make again and again!

A special thank you to Cyn for inviting me to join you in this Southern Recipe post. I am truly honored.

Life is good. It’s a “You’re going to hover over these cupcakes like a hummingbird hovers over flowers… I promise… “ kind of good.

Hummingbird Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I love this recipe because you don't even need a mixer for the cake batter! It's a matter of stirring all of the ingredients together in a large bowl! Although you will need a mixer for the frosting!
Serves: 18 cupcakes
Hummingbird Cupcakes
  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large banana, mashed
  • 8 oz crushed pineapple, do not drain!
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 8oz pkg cream cheese
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp milk (divided)
  • 1 2lb package powdered sugar
  • Chopped pecans
  • Sprinkles
  • Maraschino Cherries
Hummingbird Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cinnamon.
  3. In a medium size bowl, mash the banana, sitr in the pineapple, eggs, pecans, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Stir until just combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients. Gently stir until just combined.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners about ⅔ full. I used a ¼ cup measuring cup for each cupcake.
  6. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Frost with cream cheese frosting, sprinkle with chopped pecans, sprinkles, and top with a maraschino cherry.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and 1 tbsp. of the milk. Beat on low for about two minutes or so, or until the mixture becomes creamy with no lumps. Add the powdered sugar, and beat on low until it is fully incorporated into the cream cheese mixture, and then set your mixer to high. Let beat for about five minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy. (If you find that the consistency isn't as light as you'd like it to be, add another tbsp. of milk).




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