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Hummingbird Cake

203

This Southern layer cake features a crowd-pleasing combination of banana, pineapple, and coconut. The name's origin remains something of a mystery: Some say it's because the cake is as sweet as nectar; others, that it makes you hum with happiness.

  • Servings: 12
  • Yield: Makes one 9-inch layer cake

Photography: Alan Benson

Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 2003

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter, room temperature, for pans and racks
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)
  • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, or pecans
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut, unsweetened
  • Cream Cheese Frosting for Hummingbird Cake
  • Dried Pineapple Flowers, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in the center. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Butter paper, and dust the pans with flour, tapping out any excess. Set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat oil, vanilla, and sugar until combined, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each before adding the next. Beat at medium speed until mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

  4. In a medium bowl, mix together banana, pineapple, walnuts, and coconut. Add to egg mixture; stir until well combined. Add flour mixture; blend well.

  5. Divide batter between pans. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.

  6. Transfer pans to a greased wire rack. Let cool 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges to loosen. Invert onto racks; reinvert, top side up. Cool completely. Assemble cake, or wrap each layer well and freeze (thaw before using).

  7. With a serrated knife, trim and discard rounded top off one layer. Place layer on serving platter. Using an offset spatula, spread top of layer with 1/4 inch of frosting. Top with untrimmed layer. Frost sides and top of cake with remaining frosting. Decorate with pineapple flowers, if desired. Serve at room temperature. (Cake can be refrigerated up to 3 days.)

Reviews Add a comment

  • hang-it-up
    25 JUL, 2017
    My husband is allergic to coconut. Any suggestions for a substitute? This recipe sounds delicious.
    Reply
  • jensturdivant77
    11 MAY, 2017
    Made this cake after seeing it on Martha Bakes. It was a HUGE hit for my dad's birthday. Although I did have to double the frosting recipe, it was wonderful, I even made the dried pineapple flowers. Everyone who tried it raved that it was their new favorite cake. Only made 2 alterations - I used cake flower and I added a dollop of sour cream for some added moisture. It was perfect!
    Reply
  • madformysteryo
    22 AUG, 2016
    Made this cake originally when it was featured in Living years ago. It was terrific! Big hit! Made twice since but I don't remember the piece about greasing the cooling racks. Feel like it would be problematic putting hot pans on greased racks but maybe there's a reason. Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences? Thanks B
    Reply
  • Kimmyrose14
    3 NOV, 2014
    After making and taste testing, I dropped everything and ran to the store to start over! -Was completely too oily! I exchanged oil with unsalted butter. -I used King Arthur Cake flour to make a much more airy cake. -I added about 1/4 cup of vanilla yogurt, because it's amazing! That's why -I added a little Captain Morgan rum and a dash of ginger for a bit of spice. Then it turned out so much better without an after taste or guilt of oil. Yumm! Thanks.
    Reply
  • igazic
    3 NOV, 2013
    Love this cake. It is really very simple to do. Personally, would make it little bit less sweet. I made it for my stepdaughter's birthday and she loved it. However, it is so simple that it does need to be big event cake only. I would say it is perfect with coffee.
    Reply
  • CaliforniaCook
    25 FEB, 2011
    I made this cake for my son's birthday (without the frosting or pineapple flowers - I covered it in fondant to fit the the theme). It was so easy and delicious I decided to make it for every birthday party in the future. I am going to double it this year for my daughter's party.
    Reply
  • CaliforniaCook
    25 FEB, 2011
    I made this cake for my son's birthday (without the frosting or pineapple flowers - I covered it in fondant to fit the the theme). It was so easy and delicious I decided to make it for every birthday party in the future. I am going to double it this year for my daughter's party.
    Reply
  • Vinylsmack
    8 MAY, 2010
    I make this amazing cake every year for my mom on Mothers Day. She usually starts hinting the month previous........like I would forget! The dried pineapple is well worth the time
    Reply
  • DebBaxley
    3 APR, 2010
    I just made the cake for Easter. I had a very difficult time getting the pineapple slices dry, but finally did and when I put them on the cake it looked exactly like the picture - I am very happy with the results. (recipe makes much too much frosting, about a third was left over)
    Reply
  • marleenk
    11 MAR, 2010
    I made this cake 2 weeks ago. It was quick and simply and the best thing is... its already being requested...
    Reply