16 January 2009

Hummingbird Cakes

Quite a long while ago I discovered Hummingbird Cake. It's apparently something out of the American South, which might explain why I (coming from the Canadian prairies) had never heard of it. I had been looking for recipes for cupcakes with fruit in them and I found a cupcake blog with a lot of really cool recipes, including this one. Hummingbird cake tastes a lot like a more-cake-than-bread banana bread, with pecan bits and crushed pineapple. And it's ridiculously good.

I've only ever made hummingbird cake as cupcakes - mostly I find them easier to work with. You can share them at work more easily and icing a cupcake is easier than icing a whole cake.

Here's the recipe, for 24 cupcakes:

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 8oz can crushed pineapple, with liquid
2 cups mashed, ripe banana
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt in a good sized bowl. In a second bowl, beat eggs lightly with a whisk. Add oil and vanilla to beaten eggs and mix until combined. Add the liquids to the bowl of dry ingredients. In the now empty egg bowl, mix together pineapple, bananas, pecans until combined. Add to the rest of ingredients and stir to combine.

Bake at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan after 15 minutes, until golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

I topped these with cream cheese icing and a half pecan. The icing recipe is as follows:

2 tbsp butter, softened
4 oz/125g cream cheese, softened
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Whip the butter until creamy. Then add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Then add the sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Either spread or pipe icing onto the cupcakes in a thin layer.

Both of these recipes came from the aforementioned cupcake blog.


  1. WOW! They sound great and I like the way you've iced them. I can't ice cupcakes for toffee.

  2. They're easier to ice with a piping bag. A while back I bought a kit with 3 or 4 icing tips, which you can use with disposable piping bags. (I don't know what brands or anything you get in the UK, but mine are Wilton brand.) A fairly large round tip is what I used for this (about 1/2 cm diametre). If I try to spread on the icing, I always wind up with tons of cake bits in my icing and it always looks a bit miserable :D

    Anyway, if you hold the icing tip quite close to the cupcake and move around in a circle (going from the outside in) you can get a nice thin layer that looks like that.

  3. Cool, thanks for that. I always spread it and yes get cake crumbs which don't really look that good.