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Welcome to Charnopia, a little left of Utopia. We document our adventures at home, in the kitchen and garden, as well as from the road. Stay a while and enjoy. 

- Trac and Diane Charno

A Southern Classic: Hummingbird Cake

A Southern Classic: Hummingbird Cake

I love a making a classic recipe and this is one of the most famous classic cake recipes. Mrs. L.H. Wiggins’ Hummingbird Cake is the most requested recipe in Southern Living’s history. It appeared in the February 1978 issue of Southern Living and is said to have won many blue ribbons at county and state fairs over the years.

Mrs. L.H. Wiggins' original hummingbird cake recipe as published in 1978

The cake is three layers of yumminess. It’s loaded with bananas, pineapple, pecans and cinnamon that makes it similar to a sweet banana bread. The three cake layers are frosted with a homemade cream cheese frosting and covered with pecans.

hummingbirdcakecut

The original recipe is not exactly low fat or low in sugar. It’s loaded with 1-½ cups of oil and 2 cups of sugar, not counting the frosting which has 4 cups of powder sugar, 2 sticks of butter and 2 packages of cream cheese. Others have adapted the recipe over the years to be a lighter version or to suit their tastes. I chose to start with the original.

The only tweak I made was to stick with butter, instead of margarine (I don’t use fake butter). You could also use chopped walnuts instead of pecans. I stuck with pecans as it just seemed more southern to me.

I’m not much of a cake maker as I just don’t have the patience for the frosting and decorating. Heck, even my pie crusts aren’t very fancy. I call them “rustic.” Let’s just call my hummingbird cake  rustic too. I had plenty more frosting I could have added to this, but it seemed like it was a TON of frosting. I opted for a thinner layer of frosting and added some “fancy” with pecan halves instead of chopped pecans.

hummingbirdcakewhole

I think the cake is delicious. It is rich and very moist. I too may try to ease up on the oil the next time around or toast the pecans first. I'm thinking it may be easier to frost if the frosting was chilled a bit. I also wouldn’t mind trying to make these fancy pineapple flowers for the decorations next time. If they don’t look perfect, I’ll just call them rustic!

Annies-eats.com Pineapple Flowers

Annies-eats.com Pineapple Flowers

I hope you enjoy this cake. Let me know if you have any frosting or decorating tips.

Hummingbird Cake with three layers and cream cheese frosting.

Hummingbird Cake with three layers and cream cheese frosting.

Hummingbird Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup or 8 ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 2 cups chopped pecans, divided
  • 2 cups chopped bananas
  • Cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 9 inch cake pans. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and vegetable oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup chopped pecans, and bananas. Spoon batter into 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks completely. Cut off cake tops if needed to even out the layers. Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with 1 cup chopped pecans.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Combine cream cheese and butter; cream until smooth. Add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.

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