Hummingbird cake

Published Sep 19, 2022 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Irina Taskova

Most have attempted or tried the staples chocolate and vanilla cake, but if you’re in the mood for something different that provides not only a host of delicious flavours but also a fun experience, then you’re in for a real treat with hummingbird cake. This Jamaican dessert tastes like a delightful combination of carrot and banana bread, with subtle notes of pineapple.

What is hummingbird cake?

Hummingbird cake was originally called doctor bird cake, which is a nickname for the Red-billed Streamertail, a vibrant species of hummingbird that is commonly found in Jamaica. It’s a layered cake with a unique texture, brimming with fresh fruits like bananas, and pineapple, alongside pecans with a pinch of spice.

How to make a hummingbird cake

This tropical dream cake includes a bonus of thick, decadent frosting made with cream cheese, and though there are many complex flavours and textures, it’s actually quite simple to make, using ingredients you might already have lying around the pantry. It’s moist, tender, and crumbly with a smooth, tangy finish and a hint of coconut crunch.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Calories: 658

Servings: 8-12

Cake ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cup mashed banana
  • 1 cup pineapple (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup pecans
  • ½ vegetable oil
  • ½ cup cannabis-infused oil (vegetable or canola preferred)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Frosting ingredients

  • 12 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 9-inch cake pans (2)
  • Parchment paper
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowls (2)
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Electric mixer
  • Butter knife
  • Silicone spatula


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F, and while you wait, line both 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, followed by a light greasing with butter.

  2. Dust the buttered paper with a thin layer of flour.

  3. Stir ¼ cup of all-purpose flour and pineapple together in a small mixing bowl. Set it aside.

  4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the remaining 2 ¼ cups flour with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda. Put it aside for now.

  • In a clean and larger mixing bowl, use an electric mixer set to high to whip the eggs and both types of sugar into a light, fluffy paste.

  • Slowly add in both types of oil and vanilla extract.

  • Add half of the flour to the fluffy paste at a time, using an electric mixer set to medium to slowly work in each amount.

  • Next up is the mashed banana, but it’s important to switch to a silicone spatula so that the fruit can be blended in soft folding motions to avoid over-mixing the cake batter, which could significantly alter the texture.

  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the two pans.

  • Bake the cakes in a preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick pierced in the center comes out clean.

  • Move the fresh cakes from the oven to a wire rack, and loosen the edges while it’s still hot, using a butter knife by running it gently around the edges.

  • Leave the cake to cool completely before icing.

  • To make hummingbird icing, whip the cream cheese frosting until smooth and lump-free.

  • Slowly add in the icing sugar and vanilla extract and work these ingredients in until the icing is soft and fluffy.

  • Toss the frosting into the freezer for 3 minutes to harden it up a bit.

  • Remove the cooled cakes from the pans and ice the top of one with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting.

  • Place the second cake on top of the first, doing your best to ensure the edges are aligned.

  • Use the remaining frosting to cover the whole outer layer of the cake until none of the fluffy insides are exposed.

  • Hummingbird cupcakes

    This hummingbird cake recipe is perfect for making cupcakes too! You’ll just need to divide the cake into 8 or more equal portions and cut 10 minutes from the baking time. The process is otherwise the same, and the results will be just as delicious as you’d expect from this elegant dessert.

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