The recipe for Hummingbird Cake, a southern tradition like Red Velvet Cake, was first submitted by a reader to Southern Living magazine and published in the February 1978 issue.
There was no explanation of the name, but Food Timeline cites a 1985 article in the Arkansas Gazette that says the cake also was called Cake That Doesn’t Last, Cake That Won’t Last, Granny’s Best Cake and Never Ending Cake. (We’re down with Hummingbird Cake.)
Originally made as a layer cake (but also made into cupcakes), the batter includes bananas, crushed pineapple and pecans or walnuts, and the cake is filled and frosted with cream cheese frosting and typically topped with more chopped nuts. Think banana nut cake with pineapple and cinnamon.
It’s popular for Mother’s Day, but why not make one for Dad?
This recipe is by Annie for GoBoldWithButter.com. She adapted the layer cake into a brunch coffee cake.
Hummingbird Cake, a traditional southern layer cake, reinterpreted as a coffee cake. Photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter.
Annie writes: “This year I decided to put a brunch-worthy spin on this classic Mother’s Day cake. The banana, pineapple and yogurt all ensure that this cake stays moist and tender. This cake is very simple to put together and is a lovely contribution for any brunch, Mother’s Day or otherwise.”
She incorporated better-for-you ingredients, including whole wheat flour and lowfat yogurt. (It’s not a healthy recipe, but every little bit helps!)
RECIPE: HUMMINGBIRD COFFEE CAKE
Ingredients For 1 Cake/16 Servings
For The Cake
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for preparing the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for preparing the pan
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 mashed bananas (about a scant 1 cup)
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1 cup finely chopped pineapple
The classic Hummingbird Cake was a layer
cake. Photo courtesy Wholesome
For The Glaze
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, macadamia nuts, or pecans
1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Thoroughly butter a bundt pan. Coat the inside with flour, tapping out the excess.
2. COMBINE 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl. Whisk to blend; set aside.
3. COMBINE butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla and coconut extracts. Beat in the yogurt until well incorporated.
4. TURN the mixer to low speed and beat in half of the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Beat in the mashed bananas and then the remaining dry ingredients, again mixing just until incorporated. With a silicone spatula, gently fold in the coconut and chopped pineapple.
5. TRANSFER the batter to the prepared bundt pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake, rotating halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes. Let cool 20-30 minutes in the pan placed on a wire rack. Gently loosen the cake from the sides of the pan with a knife, and carefully turn out onto the cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.
6. MAKE the glaze: Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. If the glaze is too thin, whisk in more confectioners’ sugar. If the glaze is too thick, whisk in additional milk 1 teaspoon at a time. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cooled cake. Sprinkle with shredded coconut and chopped nuts for garnish. Let glaze set before slicing and serving.