This recipe is one that I finally decided to try out after looking for a delicious cake to make for a celebratory return of all my roommates after winter break. My grandma gave me this Southern recipe a very long time ago and I never seriously considered it because of the odd, but simple, ingredients list. I decided to go for it because it is a very short, simple ingredients list and is a simple cake to make.
What stands out the most in this cake is the sweet and the spicy, the vanilla and cinnamon. I served it at a party, having never actually tried the cake myself, and it was a hit! I even got a compliment that it looked like and tasted like a “professional” deal. A nice little boost to my ego, I guess! Neither myself nor my guests could really taste the pineapple in the cake, but I am almost positive it was a great contributing factor to the cakes perfect moistness. The chopped pecans sprinkled on top bring the whole cake together for an irresistible final product.
I searched for the reason why this cake is called Hummingbird cake and failed on several internet searches, only to ask a co-worker about it who pulled out a Cake Doctor book and showed me the story right there in print. The cake, known for its sweetness, was named by the creator and her son because of the way hummingbirds are attracted to sweet things. It’s that simple, just like this recipe.
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped pecans, plus extra to sprinkle on top of cake
2-3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 8oz can crushed pineapple (not drained)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
a homemade batch or 2 store-bought cans of basic cream cheese frosting
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare three 9″ cake pans by coating with cooking spray, dusting with flour, and getting rid of excess by gently tapping the bottom of the pan upside down over the sink.
In an electric mixer, mix eggs, vegetable oil, pecans, bananas, crushed pineapple (with juice) and vanilla until well incorporated. Stir together remaining (dry) ingredients and add to wet mixture. Mix on medium until well incorporated and slightly lighter in color and fluffier, 1-2 minutes.
Divide batter evenly among cake pans. Bake on center rack of oven for 18-22 minutes, until toothpick inserted in to center of cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack for quicker cooling.
Once cakes are cool, place first layer on cake plate or serving dish of choice. Frost with 1/4 of the frosting, then add next layer and repeat. Use remaining frosting to cover top and sides of cake, then sprinkle chopped pecans on the top, if desired.