Prep Now, Have This Classic Hummingbird Cake Later

Photo by Stephen DeVries

Bits of juicy pineapple and toasty pecan coalesce with sweet banana and warm notes of cinnamon, all blanketed in swoops of Cream Cheese Frosting. This hefty cake is far less diminutive than the bird it’s named for. You don’t cream the butter and sugar. (No stand mixer needed for the cake layers!) This method, along with the myriad of batter ingredients, lends a dense, crumbly texture that verges on half-cake, half-quick bread. It tastes even better the next day. 

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Classic Hummingbird Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
  • 3⅓ cups (417 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1⅓ cups (267 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon (3.75 grams) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup (57 grams) chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup (227 grams) mashed ripe banana
  • ¾ cup (168 grams) canola oil
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (200 grams) finely chopped fresh pineapple
  • Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper; butter and flour pans again.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg; stir in pecans. In a medium bowl, stir together banana, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Make a well in center of flour mixture; add banana mixture, stirring just until moistened. Fold in pineapple. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  3. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 5½ cups
  • 16 ounces (455 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 6½ cups (780 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth. Use immediately.

Prep Tip:
Toast pecans, and freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months ahead of time.

Plan Ahead:
2 Days Ahead: Make Cream Cheese Frosting. Refrigerate in an airtight container.

1 Day Ahead: Bake cake layers. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Day of: Let Cream Cheese Frosting come to room temperature and rewhip if necessary. Frost and assemble cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

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