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Hummingbird Cake

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
Photography: Alan Benson

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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
  • 3 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
  • Candied Pineapple Slices (optional)

Variations

The version of this cake featured in the June 2003 issue of Living is topped with Dried Pineapple Flowers rather than candied pineapple.

Directions

  1. Step 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. Step 2

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

  3. Step 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. Step 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. Step 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. Step 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. Step 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.)

Source
Martha Stewart Living, June 2003

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Reviews (13)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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)

  • 11 Mar, 2010

    I made this cake 2 weeks ago. It was quick and simply and the best thing is... its already being requested...

  • 24 Sep, 2009

    I made this cake for my husband six years ago and he STILL talks about it! I'm going to make it again this weekend for his 40th birthday.

  • 19 Jul, 2008

    I made this cake and everyone that tried it came back for more. It is very easy , beautiful, and delicious!

  • 17 Jun, 2008

    I made this as one of 3 cakes for our family Easter celebration. It was a great hit we have family members who arn't big fans of chocolate (like myself) and thought I bought it at a bakery. I also made this as a two teir cake for a 62 wedding anniversary and it was loved by all. It a perfect alternative for and early day celebration since it is more bread sweet that cake sweet.

  • 9 Jun, 2008

    This cake is delicious and decadent, and quite easy to do, but the flowers (see dried pineapple flowers), can be tricky. I suggest practicing with the pineappe a couple of days in advance, as they take a while to dry out.

  • 9 Jun, 2008

    This cake is delicious, and decadent. The flowers are tricky to dry out, so I suggest practicing with the pineapple a couple of days in advance, as they take a while to dry out.

  • 21 Mar, 2008

    I love that cake and so did my family. Not only is it good but it's really beautiful with the flowerlike pineapple slices.It's also quite easy to do.

  • 25 Jan, 2008

    This cake is wonderful!!! My friends and family loved it!! The icing is excellent!!!!!