I’m not sure when the first time I ever had Hummingbird Cake was, but I do know it was many years ago after I had moved to Laurinburg as a college student. I remember loving every scrumptious bite and wondering where this Southern tradition had been all my life. Fast forward to a few weeks ago while standing in the grocery store aisle where I saw the 50th Anniversary issue of Southern Living (Feb. 2016).
Being one of my favorite magazines I grabbed a copy and let it make a home on my living room end table until I had a quiet moment to enjoy it. Low and behold, the Hummingbird Cake was featured as a reader favorite from 1978 with many appearances since then.
It had been so long since I had last enjoyed a delicious slice of this favorite of Southern cakes that I just had to find an occasion to make one. When a going away party was planned for a friend I grab the opportunity and got to baking. For those who have never had Hummingbird Cake I would describe it as a sweeter carrot cake with a bit more texture due to the fruit chunks.
3 cup flour
2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
8 oz crushed pineapple undrained
2 cup chopped bananas
1 cup chopped pecans (optional – I omitted)
shortening/flour for greasing pans
Double batch cream cheese frosting (One patch = 8 oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 16 oz powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla)
1 cup chopped or whole pecans for decoration (I chopped)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk together flour (I sifted the 3 cups first), sugar, salt, soda, and cinnamon. Add oil and eggs, stir until just moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, and bananas. Pour into 3 well-greased/floured 9″ round cake pans. Bake 25-30 mins. Cool in pans for 10 mins. Cool on wire rack out of pans for 1 hour. Layer with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle top with nuts.
The batter is very thick and chunky so don’t be alarmed when it doesn’t resemble other cake recipes.
I recommend freezing the layers before icing them because it is a very tender cake that is easy to tear when icing. I also prefer thinner layers of icing than many people which is easier to do with a frozen cake rather than a fresh cake.
The nuts are optional both inside and outside the cake. Neither Neal or myself care for nuts in our cakes very often and think this recipe is just as great without them. Neal suggested fresh fruit as a top garnish and I might indeed give that a try next time around. However you choose to top your Hummingbird Cake, I hope you enjoy this Southern classic as much as we do.
Happy Homesteading and God Bless!