Vegan hummingbird cake is filled with warming spices, natural sweetness from bananas and pineapples and toasted pecans. Get ready to fall in love with this moist and sweet southern staple!
Fear not, no birds were harmed in the making of this cake. Hummingbird cake is a classic Southern spice cake made extra sweet with bananas and pineapples. It was originally published in Southern Living in 1978, and since then it's been a classic Southern dessert staple.
This cake is like banana bread meets fruit cake, plus a little bit of nuttiness and warming spices. In short, it's delicious and a must try recipe.
- moist and dense: made with oil instead of butter and very moist from fruit
- fruit-filled: made with pineapple tidbits, pineapple juice, and banana
- nutty: topped and filled with toasted pecans for a great hint of nuttiness
- layered with a creamy cashew cream cheese frosting
Pineapple: I have made this cake with pineapple tidbits and crushed pineapples and it turned out the same. Choose an 8 ounce can of pineapple with fruit juice because we will be using the juice in the cake.
Banana: You want very ripe bananas, the kind you would use for banana muffins. The browner the peel the more ripe the banana. I recommend mashing the banana with a fork then measuring it out into cups.
Pecans: Choose toasted pecans if available. If not, raw pecans will work and you can toast them yourself.
Cashews: Choose raw, unsalted cashews. You can soak them overnight or soak for one hour in very hot water to soften them enough to blend.
Agave syrup or maple syrup work in the frosting. Honey also works depending on dietary preferences.
Oil: Canola or vegetable oil are my go-to's for this cake, but you can use olive oil if you prefer. I recommend using a light olive oil so that the flavor doesn't overpower the cake.
Step by step instructions
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Mash bananas and measure out two cups. Make flaxseed eggs by combining ground flax and water.
Step one: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.
Step two: Mix in the wet ingredients until just combined. Careful not to overmix. It will be a lumpy mixture because of the pineapple and mashed banana. Fold in the pecans.
Step three: Lightly spray two 9" cake pans with cooking spray. Divide the cake batter between the two pans, smoothing as needed.
Step four: Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cashew cream cheese frosting
Cashew cream cheese frosting is a healthier, lighter alternative to the classic cream cheese frosting that usually comes with a hummingbird cake.
The cashews are a great complement to the flavor of the pecans, and they create a wonderfully smooth and spreadable frosting.
To make the frosting, simply add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. Add extra oat or soy milk 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to make a spreadable consistency. Adjust for sweetness.
Yes! Two round 9" inch cake pans make about 24 cupcakes. Fill each tin about ⅘ full with batter. Bake cupcakes at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
You an store it in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days or cover and refrigerate for up to a week.
Yes, hummingbird cake freezes well with or without frosting. Freeze the entire cake or individual slices in a freezer safe container. Let thaw in the fridge or reheat in the microwave.
The true origin is up for debate, but one story says that because the cake is filled with sweetness from bananas, pineapple and sugar, it's weet enough for a hummingbird to eat.
Yes! Two 9 inch cake rounds of cake batter should fill one 9x13 inch sheet cake. You may need to adjust the bake time by a few minutes. Check the center of the cake for doneness before removing from the oven to cool.
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Vegan Hummingbird Cake with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting
- 9 tablespoon water
- 3 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 and ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 1 and ½ cups vegetable oil see note #1
- 1 and ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 (8 oz) can pineapple tidbits, with juice see note #2
- 2 cups mashed riped banana see note #3
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (plus more for topping) see note #4
Cashew Cream Cheese
- 1 and ½ cups raw unsalted cashews, soaked see note #5
- 3-4 tablespoons soy milk see note #6
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup more to taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray two 9" cake rounds with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Prepare flax eggs by mixing together 3 tablespoons ground flax and 9 tablespoons (½ cup + 1 tablespoon) water. Let set for at least five minutes before using.
- Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice.
- Stir in flax eggs, oil, pineapple tidbits with juice, mashed banana, and vanilla. Stir until just combined.
- Divide batter evenly between the two oiled cake pans. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool in cake pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then turn out of pans and let cool for one hour before frosting.
Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting
- Soak cashews in water overnight or in very hot water for an hour.
- Drain water off the soaked cashews. Add cashews, agave syrup, milk and vanilla extract to a food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste for sweetener. Add extra milk as needed to smooth to an easily spreadable texture.
- This recipe makes enough to frost just the tops of the cake. Double the recipe to frost the sides as well. Decorate the top with additional pecans.
- Oil: Canola or vegetable oil are my go-to's for this cake, but you can use olive oil if you prefer. I recommend using a light olive oil so that the flavor doesn't overpower the cake.
- Pineapple: If unable to find 8 ounces pineapple tidbits, crushed pineapples in juice will work.
- Bananas: Choose very ripe bananas. Two cups = about 5 small bananas or 3 large.
- Toasting pecans: If you're unable to find toasted pecans you can make your own. Line pecans on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Cashews: Cover with water and soak overnight or for one hour in very hot water.
- Soy milk: Most non-dairy milks, like almond, oat or cashew will work.
- Storage: You an store it in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days or cover and refrigerate for up to a week.
- Freezing: Yes, hummingbird cake freezes well with or without frosting. Freeze the entire cake or individual slices in a freezer safe container. Let thaw in the fridge or reheat in the microwave.
- Cupcakes: Yes! Two round 9" inch cake pans make about 24 cupcakes. Fill each tin about ⅘ full with batter. Bake cupcakes at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
This recipe was originally posted on April 3, 2018. The post was updated with new photos, a video, and more tips on February 5th, 2021. The recipe remains the same.