Perfect Valentine’s Day Treat: Hummingbird Cake

I am an unabashedly huge Southern Living fan. I believe I first received a subscription to the magazine from my step-dad (who is probably the #1 fan of my cooking) when I was in middle school. I continued my subscription for years, even though one of my college roommates told me that the magazine was created to “keep housewives complacent”.


While I don’t doubt the veracity of her claim, I can’t help but love Southern Living. It paints the South as this idyllic, perfect place, and just reading through the recipes makes me hungry. I pretty much wish I could live inside the magazine.

SO when I recently found out that this Hummingbird Cake recipe, which was originally submitted by a woman from Greensboro, NC, is the most requested SL recipe of all time, I knew I had to make it.

I made the cake a couple of weeks ago when the Snowpocalypse hit NC, and I was snowed in with some family and friends. None of us had ever tried a Hummingbird Cake before, but it was a huge hit! It’s a dense, very rich cake, which I think makes it better suited for the cold, winter months–AKA Valentine’s Day!

The (slightly-adapted-from-the-original) recipe is below. Whip this up this weekend for a perfectly yummy Valentine’s Day treat.

Southern Living Hummingbird Cake

Yield: about 12 servings

What You’ll Need

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (8 oz.) can of crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups of chopped banana
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans, plus a 1/2 cup to a cup more for decoration

What You’ll Do

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  2. Add the beaten eggs and vegetable oil, mixing until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
  3. Stir in the vanilla, pineapple, chopped banana and chopped pecans. The batter will be thick–I thought it seemed more like bread batter than cake batter!
  4. Spoon the batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans, and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool the cake layers in their pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans and cool COMPLETELY (about an hour).
  6. While your layers are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: about 5 1/2 cups

What You’ll Need

  • 2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar (about 1 1/2 (16 oz.) boxes)
  • 3 tsp of vanilla extract

What You’ll Do

  1. Beat cream cheese and butter at a medium-low speed until smooth.
  2. Slowly add in sugar and then vanilla, beating at a low speed, until blended.
  3. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until fluffy.

Assembling the Cake–What You’ll Do

  1. Cakes typically rise in a dome shape, which can lead to uneven layer cakes. To prevent this, I use a bread knife and thinly slice off the raised center of the bottom two layers of cake.
  2. Place the first layer of cake on a serving platter. If you don’t have a raised cake platter, place a plate on top of an overturned mixing bowl–it’s easier to frost a cake that is closer to eye level.
  3. Spread about 1 cup of frosting over the layer of cake.
  4. Place the second layer of cake on top, and repeat the previous step.
  5. Place the third layer of cake on top, and spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake–this is your crumb coat. Place the cake into the fridge for about 30 minutes, or until the frosting is set.
  6. Now that the crumbs are sealed into the crumb coat, spread the remaining frosting over the rest of the cake. Use your remaining pecans to create a decorative pattern on the top of the cake, if you wish!

This was probably the most photogenic cake I’ve ever made–and believe me when I say that presentation has never been my strong suit!

Make this cake for your significant other, family or friends this Valentine’s Day, and prepare to impress! Enjoy, and happy V-Day!!


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