Sweet Treats – Hummingbird Cake

From the southern states of the US, this cake is the over-the-top creation you would expect from a part of the world that prides itself on hospitality. This is not the cake to have if you want a pared-back cake of utter simplicity. Instead it belts you over the head with the sweetness of banana, pineapple, coconut, cream cheese and brown sugar.

But oh, how it soothes you.

This cake makes a very wet batter and I don’t want you to be alarmed at the amount of oil you need either. This is an intentionally sticky cake,  with a texture that sometimes fall apart. With a taste that is best paired with a cool iced tea and a warm late-summer’s afternoon, it’s all part of the joy.


Makes a 20cm round cake or a 23cm square cake


  • 250g (1¾ cups) self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 270g (1 1/3 cups tightly packed) brown sugar
  • 50g (¾ cup) desiccated coconut
  • 440g can crushed pineapple or pineapple chunks which you have finely chopped
  • 2 ripe bananas (about 350 – 400g), mashed
  • 60g (½ cup) chopped pecans
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 250ml (1 cup) sunflower or canola oil

Cream cheese icing

  • 100g cream cheese
  • zest and juice of ½ a lemon
  • 225g (1 ½ cups) icing sugar mixture
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans, to garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 170°C. Line the base of a 20cm springform pan with baking paper and lightly grease the sides. Set aside.

Sift the flour and spices into a large bowl. Add the sugar and coconut and stir briefly to combine.

In a second large bowl, place the finely chopped pineapple and juice, mashed bananas and chopped pecans and stir to combine. Add the lightly beaten eggs and oil and stir well.

Add the wet ingredients to the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it is well combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and cook for 30 – 40 minutes until a skewer in the centre comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack. Cool completely before icing.

Icing: Place the cream cheese in a bowl and beat briefly with electric beaters until smooth. Add the lemon juice, zest and sifted icing sugar and blend thoroughly. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes (this helps it to firm up a little) before topping the cake.

Use a palate knife to smooth the icing over the top of the cake, then scatter with roughly chopped pecans.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. The un-iced cake is suitable to freeze.

One thought on “Sweet Treats – Hummingbird Cake”

  1. Yum! This is a real blast from the past for me. I used to buy a slab of this beautifully moist cake every week from a lovely bakery in Malvern (in Adelaide) and wondered at the time about the recipe (pre-internet days!) I haven’t thought about it in years, but now I want to make it just to relive the joy of it.

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