Hummingbird Cake

Post image for Hummingbird Cake

by Amber on May 4, 2011

Hummingbird Cake is one of those recipes that’s uniquely Southern, and found nearly every springtime at someone’s baby shower, wedding, or barbecue.

Rumor has it the cake’s name comes from its over-the-top sweetness – so sweet that there’s no way a hummingbird could resist it’s sugary lure.

Personally, it reminds me a lot of carrot cake, but instead of getting its sweetness from carrots, it gets it from fresh pineapple, ripe bananas, and warmly roasted walnuts. They’re each equal stars of this show.

James loved the cake for its denseness, and it’s cream cheese frosting. I loved it for all the fresh fruit and walnuts – both of which are incredibly good for you. That makes it healthy, right?!

If you’ve never had a Hummingbird Cake, take my advice and add it to your Springtime celebrations menu. Everyone could use a little Southern hospitality in their lives, don’t you think?



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sweetsugarbelle May 4, 2011 at 3:15 PM

The epitome of church dinners. All of the old ladies around here still get all riled up about a good hummingbird cake. I am so glad to see it carrying on. If you asked me on a normal day, I’d never pick this cake but anytme it shows up its always an unexpected treat. Great choice :-)

Amber May 5, 2011 at 6:48 PM

I’d agree with you. It was definitely an unexpected treat around here too :)

Three Baking Sheets May 4, 2011 at 5:14 PM

I could always use a little extra cake in my day and I would gladly welcome some Southern hospitality to go with it. Politeness is hard to come by in some areas around here. In fact, I think I’ll start carrying slices of this cake around with me…

Amber May 5, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Now *that’s* a great idea. Maybe it’d make these New Jersians a little nicer on the roads around here.

Annie May 4, 2011 at 5:54 PM

BEAUTIFUL photos!!

Amber May 5, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Thank you, Annie! I was well chuffed with them :)

DessertForTwo May 4, 2011 at 9:06 PM

Gorgeous photos!

Love love love hummingbird cake! Been tryin’ to scale it down to serve 2 for ages. Someday! :)

Amber May 5, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Oooh. We should talk about that. I’ll help!

Danielle May 4, 2011 at 9:53 PM

I don’t think I’ve ever had this cake. It looks yum, as all things southern ultimately are! It doesn’t look like you frosted between the layers if the cake, just stacked and did tour crumb coat. Is this true?

Amber May 5, 2011 at 6:47 PM

Danielle, I did frost between the layers, but I was nervous about doing a ton of frosting in the layers because I never seem to have enough to do the final coat if I do that. But I definitely did add a fair amount between each layer too, when I did the crumb coat. Thanks for checking!

Lyuba May 5, 2011 at 7:51 AM

Ok, I want to eat this whole cake for breakfast!!! sent it my way please :)
Congratulations on being featured!
Come see me at http://willcookforsmiles.blogspot.com/

Amber May 5, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Lyuba, I believe my husband’s coworkers actually did!

Amy May 5, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Oh goodness…this is always a favorite at our church potlucks. YUMMY!

Amber May 5, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Amy, I love to take it to any potluck. It’s always such a crowd pleaser and goes far because it’s so dense.

JenniferA May 5, 2011 at 10:24 AM

I’ve never heard of this cake! But I would like to get to know it better. I think New Englanders need to know about this one. Beautiful pictures!!

Amber May 5, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Thanks, Jen! I think you’d love this cake a lot. It’s fruity and creamy and perfect.

Melissa May 5, 2011 at 12:22 PM

I love hummingbird cake. It reminds me a lot of carrot cake as well. Very southern, reminds me of my grandma.

Amber May 5, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Same here, Melissa. I’m glad I brought your grandma to mind. Grandmas are great :)

Katie @ This Chick C May 5, 2011 at 12:31 PM

That is a fantastic looking cake! I think my mom (and I) would love this so I might make it for her soon. Thanks for the recipe.

Amber May 5, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Katie, it’d be perfect for Mother’s Day! Thanks for stopping by :)

Maris (In Good Taste May 5, 2011 at 7:17 PM

What a beautiful cake! I had never heard of it, but now that I have seen it, I will be baking it!

Amber May 6, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Maris, you are going to love it! Such a Southern cake, I can’t even explain.

Cookbook Queen May 5, 2011 at 7:34 PM

MMM….I’m starving right now and would push an old lady out of the way for a slice of that!!

That cake would make any Arkansas after church potluck crowd proud!!

Amber May 6, 2011 at 11:17 AM

LOL! Best comment ever. I can just see you shoving that nice little old lady out of the way for a slice.

Nicole May 5, 2011 at 7:52 PM

That’s my kind of cake (and frosting)! Lovely photos, Amber.

Amber May 6, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Thanks, Nicole! I was really happy with them :)

In Katrina's Kitchen May 5, 2011 at 8:20 PM

Oh please you’re killing me! I need this cake in my life!

Amber May 6, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Yes, yes you do. Make it!

Michelle May 5, 2011 at 8:47 PM

I have never seen a cake like this before! I love the story about how it got its name!

Amber May 6, 2011 at 11:21 AM

It’s super good, Michelle. Maybe you could tweak it to make it a little healthier, or maybe just let the kids indulge once a year?

Sylvie@GITK May 5, 2011 at 9:31 PM

I always wondered about the name, that totally makes sense!

Amber May 6, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Me too, Sylvie! I researched a bunch of sites, and that seemed to be the consensus, plus I called my nan and asked her. Nans are never wrong, you know.

Jen Schall May 5, 2011 at 10:05 PM

I’ve never heard of hummingbird cake before, but this looks just lovely! It just begs to be made for Mother’s Day, I think :)

Amber May 6, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Jen, you simply must make it for Mother’s Day! It’s perfect.

Teri May 5, 2011 at 10:23 PM

This sounds perfect for my daughter in laws baby shower! Thank you for sharing.

Amber May 6, 2011 at 11:23 AM

Teri, it’s great for a baby shower because it goes so far. You can make the one cake and it’ll feed the whole crowd because it’s dense and you only need small slices to keep folks happy.

Jaime May 6, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Looks great! How do you divide the batter between the layers evenly? I always have trouble when I simply eyeball it, so I tend to stay away from layer cakes for this reason. Any tips?

Amber May 6, 2011 at 11:25 AM

I sure do. Jaime, what I do is pour the batter into a giant measuring cup or bowl so I know how much I have in cups. You can even do this between multiple measuring cups if you don’t have one cup or bowl big enough. Then just do the simple math of how much batter you have, divided by 3.

The other thing to keep in mind is that it’s okay if layer cakes aren’t exactly uniform in size per layer. The end result is going to be completely covered in frosting, and you won’t be able to tell whether or not one layer is bigger than the other until you cut into it. And at that point, do you really care? You’ll be too busy eating delicious cake! :)

Jaime May 6, 2011 at 11:43 AM

good point, thanks!

Jamie | MBA May 6, 2011 at 12:50 PM

This is gorgeous! Now I want a honking slice of cake for lunch!

Amber May 6, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Me too, Jamie. It went with James to work on Monday and I didn’t get anything but like 2 bites!

Shelly May 6, 2011 at 1:56 PM

I saw your photo, and my first thought was, “Ahh, a real cake. That’s what cake is SUPPOSED to be.” Hummingbird cakes were a favorite of my little old Cajun Maw-Maw.

Amber May 6, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Aww, Shelly, your comment made my day. I love your Cajun Maw-Maw. I have a midwestern Nanny. They’re awesome, aren’t they?

Brenda May 6, 2011 at 3:41 PM

I have heard alot about this cake, but have never made or eaten it. It sounds delicious – and it’s beautiful!

Amber May 6, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Thanks so much, Brenda! I think you’d really like it.

Lucy@The Sweet Touch May 6, 2011 at 4:20 PM

This looks delicious! I’ve been wanting to make this cake forever, thanks for sharing this recipe!

Amber May 6, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Get to it, Lucy! Every second you waste is a second you didn’t have hummingbird cake in your life. ;)

Tricia May 6, 2011 at 8:15 PM

We call that Dr. Bird cake

Amber May 7, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Tricia, what’s the story behind that?

Lauren @chigallauren May 6, 2011 at 9:40 PM

I’m so excited to try this recipe, I’ve never made Hummingbird cake myself!!! If you are ever in Chicago-Art Smith’s Hummingbird Cake at Table 52 is TOO-DIE-FOR!

Amber May 7, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Lauren, I have wanted to go to Table 52 since I saw that Sunday Fried Chicken of Art Smith’s on Best Thing I Ever Ate on the food network. I’m excited to know that good Southern man is making hummingbird cake too! Now we just have to get ourselves to Chicago!

Michelle May 6, 2011 at 10:36 PM

I love Hummingbird Cake! I always make mine with pecans, though. I just prefer them, and I was raised in Seguin, Texas (Home of the World’s Biggest Pecan!). LOL

Amber May 7, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Pecans would definitely be good in this too.

Elizabeth May 21, 2011 at 12:21 AM

Thanks or sharing this recipe! I never had this cake before and it looked amazing so I just had to make it. It was delicious!

Maggie July 7, 2011 at 6:10 PM

This reminds me I haven’t made one of these in AGES. And they are so good. And yours looks great. Thanks for the reminder.

Cassie July 7, 2011 at 6:39 PM

This looks SO good! Posting as my entry for the cupcake carrier here :) Thanks!

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