Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sweet, sweet Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird cake is a longtime favourite of mine.  Its combination of banana, pineapple and nuts makes beautifully moist, while slatherings of cream cheese frosting make it deliciously tangy sweet. It is like a blond fruit cake, but lighter.

I decided to make this cake because I got some bananas from the supermarket.  Here is the 'ripeness' timetable:
Wednesday: Bought some bananas.  Status: Green
Thursday:  Green/yellow
Friday:  Green/yellow
Saturday:  Yellow/green
Sunday:  Yellow/green (note: weekend baking deadline has passed)
Monday:  Yellow
Tuesday:  Yellow/brown spots
Wednesday:  Yellow/more brown spots
Thursday: Ripe enough for hummingbird cake (but no time to bake).
So I put the bananas in the freezer till the weekend.

Hint: Peel the bananas and put them back in their peels before freezing.  Otherwise, you'll have to cut the peels away from the frozen bananas when you need to use them.  The skins will also turn a horrid brown colour, but the bananas are still okay.

The cake can also be made with pecans or walnuts, though I've used macadamia nuts in this version.  Hope you like it.

Hummingbird Cake
serves 12

2/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
3 cups self-raising flour
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 desiccated coconut
1 tsp vanilla essence
440g can crushed pineapple, lightly drained
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups canola or vegetable oil

250g light cream cheese, softened
150g unsalted butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar mixture
2 tsp grated lemon zest

1.  Preheat oven to 160 deg C.  Grease and line the base and sides of a 24cm springform tin.
2.  Place macadamia nuts on a baking tray and roast for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
3.  Sift the flour into a bowl and add the caster sugar, brown sugar, coconut and cinnamon.  Stir to combine.
4.  In another bowl, mix the mashed banana, eggs, oil, pineapple, vanilla and macadamias.
5.  Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well combined.
6.  Pour into the baking tin.  Bake for at least one hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Cool the cake completely, then remove from the tin.
7.  To make the icing, place all ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth.  Spread over the cold cake.

Ingredients (some of), including frozen brown bananas

The cake is lovely and golden, but still needs a protective coating of cream cheese icing...
This is a moist, flavoursome cake, offset by the tang of the icing.


  1. I usually make banana bread with ripe bananas but this is MUCH MUCH better! Thanks for the idea.

  2. I love Hummingbird Cake too. It was the first cake I made after I moved out of home. It cost me more that $50 in cake tins and ingredients. I then managed not to cook it through so it was still a little gooey. I still ate it :)

  3. You know there’s something so whimsical about the name of this cake. Love it.
    PS: thanks for the freezing tip. I never eat my bananas quick enough!

  4. I love hummingbird cake but have not actually made it myself, though it is on my list! Yours looks just perfect.

    I have weird bananas in my fruit bowl right now... they went from green to overripe in a matter of seconds. So annoying,particularly as I already have bananas in the freezer!

  5. Nice! I've never made hummingbird cake before, but always loved eating it...

    yummm cream cheese frosting :)

  6. I've never heard of hummingbird cake before but it looks divine! And the cream cheese frosting has me drooling :)

  7. Ahh yes Hummingbird, one of my favourite cakes ever as it's so moist and lovely! I'm forever wishing that avocadoes came in ripe and unripe states. Sometimes you just want to use one that day and not a week later.

  8. I love hummingbird cake - especially the cream cheese frosting. Yum!

  9. I usually make banana bread with my over-ripe bananas too! But this is a very attractive alternative =)

  10. One of my favourite cakes (maybe you can suggest to Adriano Zumbo about trying a macaron version of this, hehe) because of its combination of flavours and having such a pretty delicate name!

  11. bwahaha love your banana timetable! and lol at the peeling of skins before freezing tip!

  12. I've seen Hummingbird Cake around, but the addition of pineapple scared me off. Your pics make it look really delicious though. I think you've convinced me to try!

  13. My bananas have been ripening really fast... They end up being really ripe before I use or freeze them. Can you believe I still haven't made a Hummingbird Cake?

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  15. YUM! And such a simple recipe too! Will save some bananas for this recipe.

    Can the pineapple be replaced with something else?

  16. this looks great its my bf's birhtday in the first wk of april so i might make this - thanks for sharing this is a great cake ive had it once before and loved it :O)

  17. I've never eaten hummingbird cake. I guess it doesn't help that I have a partner who absolutely despises bananas. Maybe one day I'll eat it and not tell him... shhhh!

    Beautiful photos and you make the cake look scrumptious.

  18. i'm pretty sure i'd love this cake

  19. what a lovely spreading of cream cheese! the other day, i was so glad to inherit two old bananas from a girl at work who was about to throw them out before i jumped in and said i could use them for baking. i think she must've thought i was a bit weird but it actually takes a good week to ripen a banana before it's ready for baking ;)

  20. I am so licking my fingers. Wish I had a piece right now.

  21. Eeek! I didn't realise I hadn't responded to all your comments.
    I'm really sorry! I did read them all, though, when I published them, so thanks for looking!

  22. i tried both the hummingbird cake and the sunken chocolate cake recently - both really good recipes. i onlu used a cup of oil though and omitted the butter in the icing!