Move Over Carrot Cake, I’m Coming For You! MB Recipe 34

Last week I finally treated myself to cake. Yes, cake! I have been avoiding the Cakes chapter of the Magnolia Bakery cookbook for a couple months. But I finally decided to make the cake that most intrigued me: the Hummingbird Cake.

This cake is similar to carrot cake in final texture. But, it is made with bananas, crushed pineapple, and nuts. This combination, though unusual, proves to be very tasty. And I think it’s actually become my favorite cake!

Go to the recipe!

Making It

One of the downsides to making this cake is all the dishes I used during the process. A bowl for the mashed bananas, a bowl for the dry ingredients, a frying pan to toast the pecans, a strainer for the crushed pineapple, another bowl for the crush pineapple, etc. It was a lot and this doesn’t include the the measuring utensils!

This cake recipe starts with mashing 6 (yes, 6!!) overripe bananas. Then you mix your dry ingredients. I placed the wet ingredients in the bowl for my stand mixer. What’s interesting about this cake is it’s an oil cake. There’s no butter in the cake recipe! Per the directions, I decided to mix the flour in by hand. It wasn’t hard but it did take longer than I though it would. Soon it was time to add the nuts and pour the batter into the prepared pans.

Baking It

After some previous cake baking disasters, I now own a set of higher-wall cake pans. But I still decided to bake then on cookie sheets just in case there was another overflow. Luckily (and thankfully!) there wasn’t!

While the cake was baking there was a wonderful aroma emitting from the oven. The scent of bananas and warm nuts filled the air. I think the cake layers baked for the exact middle amount of time provided for in the recipe, which seems to be pretty standard for my oven. Upon cutting into it and tasting it, I pulled it from the oven at exactly the right time.

I let the cake layers cool in their pans for an hour. It gave me more than enough time to do all those dishes I used while making it. I also took out the butter and cream cheese that I would need to make the frosting.

Frosting It

This Hummingbird Cake uses a cream cheese frosting. However, there was some butter in the recipe, too. Six tablespoons of butter was used but there was 16 ounces of cream cheese. I ended up not using all of the frosting and I think I ended up frosting it pretty well. Adding the powered sugar was interesting, as no matter what I did, I couldn’t get it all to incorporate. This is something that never happened to me before.

Frosting the cake started out pretty simply. I didn’t level the layers because I didn’t think it was necessary. I would just fill in the slight the uneven-ness with frosting. It worked well. However, as I was frosting the cake, the frosting itself because warmer and started losing its shape. Eventually it became challenging to frost the cake nicely. Instead of fighting it too much or taking the time to chill the frosting and cake a bit, I opted to just leave the “rustic look.”

Tasting It

Finally, it was time to taste the cake! This cake is dense, but it isn’t dry. There is so much moisture in the cake thanks to the oil and the bananas. The flavors play extremely well together and is definitely the spring/summer cousin to the carrot cake. While I do appreciate a carrot cake every now and then, I do think that Hummingbird Cake is superior. I was hesitant to include nuts in the batter (they are optional) but upon tasting it, I was glad I did. It added the texture that is needed to break up the density of the cake layers.

Though this cream cheese frosting wasn’t my favorite. I didn’t find it overly sweet, but I just found it somewhat bland. Still, subpar frosting aside, this cake is definitely a win-win for me. And it’s become one of my favorites now.


Since this is a cookbook cook-through blog, I do not normally post the recipes I make. I usually refer people to the cookbook or website where I found the recipe. I’ve decided to make an exception this time, however.

The recipe can be found in this post.

16 thoughts on “Move Over Carrot Cake, I’m Coming For You! MB Recipe 34

    1. Hi there! Thanks for reading. You can substitute a white (vanilla) regular buttercream frosting. I would use an American buttercream with just butter and powered sugar for ease. Hope this helps!

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  1. Just let me say I actually started not to read the article. However went back to it and was please that I did. It was like I was in the kitchen making decisions making the cake. I used to bake well. As I ‘ve aged standing is a problem. I became aware of this cake several years ago. Love the ingredients and will eventually make it. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. You need to put spices in hummingbird cake. I make it constantly and I sometimes add coconut. I also use the pineapple juice. I add vanilla flavor along with spices

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  3. The best recipe for this cake is found in Southern Living. It is rated as one of their top recipes. I have made it several times and it is always a knockout dessert!

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  4. When this cake first came out in the 1970’s a lady named Laura baked it. We didn’t know the name of the cake, so it was “Laura’s Cake”. I served it at my after rehearsal get together in 1976. Laura’s recipe called for cinnamon in the cream cheese icing. Delicious!

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  5. I would suggest adding some lemon zest or lemon extract to the cream cheese icing. That little bit of tang makes all the difference!

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