Hummingbird Cake Recipe - a Favorite Southern Dessert
Please Rate This Recipe for Hummingbird Cake
Hummingbird Cake has been a Southern favorite recipe for years, due to its taste, moistness, readily available ingredients and ease of making. What more could you ask for?
What started out as a tasty and simple cake has become a "claim to fame" for many high profile cooks. Paula Deen and Martha Stewart both have their versions of Hummingbird Cake. Southern Living magazine claims that they published the recipe first, in their February 1978 issue. However, I can remember my mother baking the same cake in the 1950s, without the fancy name of Hummingbird Cake. In our family we just called it Cake!
No one knows how it came to be known as Hummingbird Cake. Some have said it tastes so good that you hum when you eat it. Others believe it is as sweet as hummingbird nectar. Regardless of the name, it is an award winning cake having been voted the "Favorite Cake" at the 1978 Kentucky State Fair.
Truthfully, it is a very rich cake. But that's a good thing! It can be served in small slices so it stretches a long way for a large family or for a potluck dinner.
Tips for Success when Baking Hummingbird Cake
Here are some tried and true tips to assure success when baking Hummingbird Cake:
- Make certain the pecans are fresh. They have a high fat content so they spoil quickly. They can be kept in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for three months and in the freezer for six months. Don't forget to note the date on the container.
- Bananas become sweeter as they ripen and taste much better in this recipe. Very ripe bananas are also easier to mash and blend into the cake batter.
- You can replace the oil with butter if desired. However, using oil assures a cake that is more moist.
- Some people enjoy this cake without frosting (less sugar content!) but most bakers serve it with the Cream Cheese Frosting. Delicious either way.
- You can add whole maraschino cherries and pecan halves to the top of the cake which makes it very attractive on a nice cake plate. Remember, presentation is important.
- Put the cake in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving so the frosting can set up firmly. Uneaten cake (if any!) should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped tightly with plastic wrap or in a cake carrier with a lid.
Cook Time for Hummingbird Cake
Ingredients for Hummingbird Cake
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 4 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained
- 1 cup chopped pecans, optional
- Cream Cheese Frosting recipe below
Baking Instructions for Hummingbird Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour well three 9 inch baking pans.
- In a large bowl, beat the oil, sugar and vanilla at medium speed on mixer until fluffy. Add the lightly beaten eggs, a little at a time, and beat all together well.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to the mixture in the large bowl alternately with the buttermilk. Add mashed bananas, undrained pineapple and pecans.
- Pour the batter into the three pans evenly. Hold the pans a few inches above the counter and drop onto counter to get any bubbles out of the batter.
- Bake 30 minutes then check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center of each layer to see if it comes out clean.
- When done, remove the pans from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes while the layers are still in the pans. Then remove layers from the pans and let them cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Beat in sugar, vanilla and lemon juice.
Frost between each layer first then frost top and sides of cake.
You can leave the frosting plain or garnish with pecan halves, maraschino cherries (nice accent at Christmas) or chopped pecans as you desire. Lightly press the garnishments with your hand or fingers into the frosting.
Refrigerate cake at least 1 hour before serving so the frosting has time to get firm. Refrigerate any uneaten cake.
Have you ever eaten Hummingbird Cake?
Another Recipe for a Southern layer cake - Lane Cake
- Lane Cake, recipe and history of a Southern County Fair Winner
Recipe, baking tips and history of Lane Cake, a blue ribbon winner from an 1898 county fair and a Southern favorite.
© 2013 Thelma Raker Coffone