Have you ever heard of Hummingbird Cake?
Well – it is one of my Dad’s faves…
So I decided I was going to give it a try for his birthday.
This sweet, dense, banana, pineapple and pecan smothered cake is not for the faint of heart! A thin slice goes a long way!
It reminds me of carrot cake with its thick layers of cream cheese frosting between the three layers of decadent delightfulness.
But WHY is it called Hummingbird Cake?
Considering the key ingredients – bananas and pineapple – this famously southern cake is thought to have been invented in Jamaica in the late 1960s.
It was originally called the “Doctor Bird Cake,” nicknamed after a Jamaican variety of hummingbird called the Red-billed Streamertail. The name came from the way the bird’s long beak probes flowers, like a doctor inspecting a patient.
But what does that have to do with a pineapple and banana cake? According to Celebrity Chef, Jamie Oliver’s website, some say the cake was named after the bird because it was sweet enough to attract hummingbirds (who eat only nectar), while others say the yellow streaks of banana are reminiscent of the bird’s plumage.
In 1968, the Jamaican tourist board decided to try attracting tourists by sending out press kits to the US. In the packs were a few recipes from the island, including one for the Doctor Bird Cake. Shortly thereafter, similar recipes started to crop up in local papers and community cookbooks across the South.
Most food historians agree the first printed recipe for Hummingbird cake was by Mrs. L. H. Wiggin. She supplied the recipe to Southern Living magazine in February 1978. Even before then, however, there were countless references to the cake in county fair reports and baking competitions across Southern America.
This is a really lovely special occasion cake for that someone special in your life.
And it freezes well to save individual servings for just when you need that something special for a guest or yourself.
I sure enjoyed sharing a slice with Dad and Mom II and hubby yesterday – and then leaving the rest with them, so I am not tempted to eat more!
I’d love to hear if you are familiar with this cake or if you make it and how it differs from the recipe I found that is the “Most requested recipe in Southern Living Magazine history.”
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 2 cups chopped ripe bananas
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 (8-ounce) pkgs cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 (32-ounce) bag powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.
Pour batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
While cake is cooling, prepare cream cheese frosting by combining softened cream cheese and butter with electric mixer until creamy. Slowly add powdered sugar until incorporated and desired consistency. Stir in vanilla until combined.
Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans on top. Store in refrigerator.
Enjoy this special cake!
Cheers & Hugs,