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BAKING | Hummingbird Cake + Cupcakes

Thursday, June 7

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Hummingbird Cake is about as southern as it gets when it comes to cakes. In fact, this classic cake has been the single most popular recipe in Southern Living Magazine since it was submitted back in 1978. (Let me do the math for you on that...for 40 years!

So you would think this girl right here would have tasted this cake a time or two and even attempted baking it at least once by now, right? Nope.

I don't even have a good excuse for not having tried it yet. It could be that my memory just isn't the maybe I actually have tried it in the past and it's just been soooo long ago it just completely slipped my mind?

Umm...yeah...I'm really not buying that excuse because now that I have actually tasted this cake, (as of this weekend), I just cannot imagine it ever "slipping my mind" because it's just really delicious.

Having officially baked it and tasted it now, I've determined the Hummingbird Cake to be the sister-cake to Carrot Cake. The crushed pineapple and bananas in the Hummingbird Cake certainly seem to give a nod to the Spring/Summer season while the shredded carrots in Carrot Cake shake hands with Fall - the peak carrot season. 

So yes...if you love Carrot Cake (imagine me throwing both arms up in the air with an emphatic "yes!" and waving them around like a crazy cake lady) then you will love this cake too! Guaranteed.

Thank goodness my oldest daughter, Clara, came to visit for the weekend.
She had one thing on her mind: baking...with me. (you know that made my mama heart happy).

So that's just what we did too. We baked.
One of the things we made was this cake.
I'd like to say we had things all planned out before Clara even arrived but that would be far from the truth. We simply sat down together once she got here and thumbed through a couple of Southern Living Magazines I'd picked up over the last couple of months: Southern Living Famous Southern Cakes + Pies and the Southern Living Special Collector's Edition Cakes + Pies - apparently I have a thing for cakes + pies. *wink*

The Hummingbird Cake caught our eye and was in BOTH of the magazines. We just couldn't say no.
I didn't have three 8-inch cake pans so we opted to do a smaller 3 layer cake and made cupcakes with the extra batter. (plus she got to take the cake home and the cupcakes stayed here with me - a win for the both of us).

We love how the cake + cupcakes turned out. So moist. So delicious. And did I mention cream cheese frosting? very favorite.

I definitely encourage you to try it. It will not disappoint you or anyone who's lucky enough to sample it. I have an idea!! How about making it for any of those summertime potlucks and gatherings you've got on your calendar. (although be mindful that cream cheese frosting doesn't pair well with sitting outside in the heat - you'll want to make sure you have an air-conditioned space for keeping/serving).

by Southern Living Magazine


3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (8oz) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
2 cups chopped ripe bananas (about 6 bananas)
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
vegetable shortening - for pans

2 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup salted butter or margarine, softened
2 (16oz) pkg. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

12- 24 pecan halves, toasted - for decorating top of cake
1/2 - 3/4 cups chopped pecans, toasted - for decorating sides of cake

1. Prepare the cake layers: Preheat oven to 350ºF.
    Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring
     just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, bananas, and toasted pecans.
2. Divide batter evenly among 3 well-greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
3. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. 
    Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely, 
    about 1 hour.
4. Prepare the cream cheese frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on 
    medium-low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high,
    and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Assemble cake: Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter; spread top with 1 cup of frosting. Top with
    second layer, and spread with 1 cup frosting. top with third layer, and spread remaining frosting over 
    top and sides of cake. Optional decorating: Arrange pecan halves on top of cake. For a more "fancy"
    finish, gently press chopped pecans around the sides of frosted cake using your hand.

Tip: For cupcakes, bake for 18-20 minutes. Once frosted, roll edges in chopped pecans. 

(Thought you might also enjoy this step-by-step video for Southern Living Hummingbird Cake I found while typing up this blog post). 

Enjoy my sweet friends!!
I hope you'll try it and report back.

PS - Let me know if you'd like a cute printable Hummingbird Cake Recipe Card. I'm not really sure if you all prefer just reading the recipe right off the blog or if you love the free recipe cards I've created and shared before? Or maybe you want both? I'd love your feedback.



1. I prefer my cream cheese frosting to be a tad tangier than this version but it's still delicious. (And until I find the recipe I want to share with you this one will have to do). Ha! And by all means, if you already have a fave cream cheese frosting recipe...use it!!

2. Clara and I didn't realize I only had a bag of pecan halves instead of the whole pecans we needed to to decorate the top of the cake. So, we did what any good OCD baker would do and we painstakingly took time to try to match up pecan halves to make them look whole. I think we did a dang good job. I can hardly tell when I look closely at the photos. Ha!!

3. These photos turned out surprisingly well despite the immense pressure I was under to "hurry up". Clara was trying to head back home and she was behind schedule so with each push of the shutter button on my camera and every rearranged shot of the cake I made in an attempt to capture the perfect image,  I could feel her hot eye balls glaring at me while she stood impatiently nearby waiting to drive off with the cake.  Some things never change - she's never been very patient when it came to me + my photo-taking. I still love her though. And besides, this cake wouldn't have happened this weekend without her. Thanks Clara!! *wink*
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