Hummingbird Cake with Buttermilk Glaze

April  5, 2018
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Makes 1 layer cake
Author Notes

Whether or not you’ve ever actually had a piece hummingbird cake before, you’ve probably seen it on your favorite southern food blog. The quirkily named banana-spice cake with crushed pineapple and chopped nuts is slathered with cream cheese and full of southern charm. My version has a sticky-sweet buttermilk glaze that goes on the cake straight out the oven (a tip from Chrissy Teigen), which adds a luscious, stick-to-your-fork texture that’s absolutely divine and incredibly addictive. It’s a super-simple one-bowl and no-mixer cake (excluding the frosting). But since it’s only one layer, you won’t have to spend a lot of time frosting it, which means less time you’ll have to wait before eating it. —Grant Melton

What You'll Need
  • For the Cake:
  • 1/2 cup mashed, over-ripe banana (approximately 2 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • For the glaze and frosting:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 handful chopped pecans, dried pineapples, or edible flowers
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease one 9-inch round cake pan with butter and dust with flour, shaking out any excess. Place a round of parchment in the bottom of the cake pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, crushed pineapple, olive oil, canola oil, sugar, and eggs until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. One the batter has come together and is smooth, fold in the pecans. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.
  3. While the cake bakes, make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and buttermilk until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Let the cake rest for 5 minutes when it comes out of the oven. While the cake is still warm, carefully invert the cake onto a plate. Remove the parchment from the cake and pour half the glaze on top of the cake. Using an offset spatula spread the glaze to the edges of the cake. Let the cake soak up the glaze for a minute and then repeat with remaining glaze. Let the cake rest for a few hours until completely cool before frosting.
  5. While the cake cools, make the frosting. In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and cream cheese. Once mixed well, add the powdered sugar little by little. Add the vanilla and salt.
  6. Put the frosting on to the cake and rustically frost the top. Decorate with chopped pecans, dried pineapple, edible flowers, or a mixture of all three.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • keithcancook
  • DonnaM
  • Kate K
    Kate K
  • Nanners

8 Reviews

Nanners May 16, 2018
My daughter made me this cake for Mother’s Day and this is now one of my favourites!
keithcancook May 13, 2018
The glaze soaked into the top half making it doughy and an under baked texture.I would make it again but without the glaze
Paul D. April 14, 2018
I'm relatively new to baking and looking forward to trying this recipe. Does the glaze go on the bottom (flat side) and the frosting on the top (rounded) after the cake is inverted?
Paul D
DonnaM April 14, 2018
I inverted the cake, top side up, onto a cake plate with two rectangular pieces of parchment under each half so I can pull them out easily from underneath when finished glazing and frosting. I did glaze the rounded(top) side. I lightly pricked the top with a fork in several places before glazing for better absorption. Also went slowly with the glaze to give each application time to soak in....cake was fantastic! Several raves - one guest said it was one of the best cakes he's ever had!!! Good Luck
Paul D. April 14, 2018
Thank you, Danka. That sounds easy enough.
DonnaM April 6, 2018
I'm having family over Sunday for Orthodox Easter and think this cake would be perfect! Can I make it a day ahead and store covered at cold room temperature?? Looks aaaaahhmaaaaazzzzinnngggg
Kate K. April 7, 2018
I haven't made this hummingbird (yet), but most fruit/spice cakes benefit from a day of rest while covered and kept cool. I would make the cake and glaze it Saturday afternoon/evening and then frost it on Sunday.
DonnaM April 7, 2018
Thank you Kate! Makes sense - just made the cake and put the glaze on. It rose up very nicely and smelled wonderful while baking! I will frost tomorrow - can't wait to taste :-)