Make This Easy Variation on Hummingbird Layer Cake

a hummingbird layer cake sits on a plate
Hummingbird Layer CakeBecky Luigart-Stayner

This classic cake has a storied history. The unique combo of banana, pecan, and pineapple in cake came from Jamaica. When a recipe was sent out to various American magazines in 1978 to promote tourism, it became a hit among Southern bakers, where it has lived as a favorite dish ever since.

Though you can make this moist, dense, fruity sibling to carrot cake for any occasion, we especially like to whip it up around Easter. The combination of flavors is as surprising as it is delightful! (Want an even easier version? Try our recipe for Hummingbird Bundt Cake!)

Yields: 12-16 servings

Prep Time: 50 mins

Total Time: 2 hours


For the Cake:

  • Cooking spray, for pans

  • 3 c.

    all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for pans

  • 2 c.

    granulated sugar

  • 1 tbsp.

    baking powder

  • 1 1/2 tsp.

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp.

    kosher salt

  • 4

    large eggs

  • 1 tsp.

    pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 c.

    canola oil

  • 1 c.

    whole milk

  • 1 c.

    mashed banana, from about 2 large ripe bananas

  • 1 c.

    chopped pecans, plus more for garnish

  • 1

    (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained

For the Frosting:

  • 1

    (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1/2 c.

    (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 tsp.

    pure vanilla extract

  • 5 c.

    confectioners’ sugar


  1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease then flour three 8-inch cake pans. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and kosher salt in a bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, oil, milk, and mashed banana and whisk to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Stir in pecans and pineapple.

  2. Transfer batter to prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake layer comes out clean, 28 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  3. Make the frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Slowly beat in confectioners’ sugar until combined, 1 to 2 minutes.

  4. Remove domed cake tops with a serrated knife, if desired. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate and top with 3/4 cup frosting, spreading evenly. Repeat two more times. Frost sides of cake. Garnish with chopped pecans. Serve immediately or store, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

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