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Hummingbird Upside Down Cake

Raise your hand if you’ve heard of hummingbird cake.

Chances are, if you’re from the south, you’re frantically waving you’re arms in the air right about now saying, “Uh, yea.  Of course I’ve heard of it.  Now could you pass a slice this way please?”  And that’s because hummingbird cake is a truly southern affair.

No one’s quite sure where the confection actually originated or what the meaning of the hummingbird name is although there are several theories regarding both.  I’ve read that it was originally created in Jamaica, but it is most famously known from it’s original submission to Southern Living magazine back in 1978.  The hummingbird is the national bird of Jamaica; another point for it’s potential tropical beginnings. Since it’s debut, the cake has gone on to win several awards throughout the South and was elected Southern Living’s favorite recipe ever in 1990.  Now that’s a dessert I can seriously stand behind.

Hummingbird cake combines the warm weather flavors of bananas, pineapple, coconut and pecans and as a result is a perfect springtime finish to any southern meal.  Seeing as we’re finally starting to warm up here in North Carolina, I decided this would be a fitting end of the week addition to the blog.   I wanted to put my own spin on the original flavors so I shook it up a bit and created a hummingbird upside down cake.  This version sports a moist and delicious banana cake base topped with pineapple, coconut and pecans.  Served alongside a healthy dollop of cream cheese whipped cream, you’re certain to get in touch with your Southern side after a bite or two this treat.

So what do you say?  Who’s ready to feed their sweet tooth?

You’ll start out by mixing together a little melted butter and brown sugar.  Pour it into a cake pan and top with coconut, pineapple and pecans.

It’s looking pretty darn tasty already.  Am I right or am I right?

Move over to your mixer and whip up a quick banana cake batter.  The riper the fruit the better when it comes to banana desserts.

Next up, grab a cake pan and pour your finished product over the top of the pecans and pineapple.  There’s no greasing necessary because that nummy ummy brown sugar butter mixture will coat the sides of your pan as it cooks, caramelizing and “unsticking” all in one fell swoop.  Pretty friggin’ awesome if you ask me.

Check out my cooked up cake.

The good stuff’s on the bottom (soon to be the top), so let’s flip this thing, shall we?  Simply run a knife around the outer edge of the pan and let ‘er drop out.

Much, much better.  Just look at that caramelized crust.   Please pardon me while I head to the kitchen and grab another slice.

“But wait, there’s more!”  (as proclaimed in my best infomercial voice)

Hummingbird cake wouldn’t be complete without the cream cheese frosting.  I didn’t want to cover up that beautiful caramelized coconut topping, so I decided to make a flavorful whipped cream accompaniment instead.  I’m sure you’ll concur that it was a dessert pleasing decision.

Grab up a couple ounces of cream cheese and whip it around with a mixer until smooth.  Add in a pour of cream, a splash of vanilla, a little sugar and a couple spoonfuls of pineapple juice reserved from the fruit you used on the cake.  Spin on high speed until whipped cream forms.


Serve up a slice with a dollop of cream and enjoy a truly southern springtime treat.

Hummingbird Upside Down Cake

Yield: 12 Cake Slices

Total Time: 1 hour 30 min


For the Cake:

6 Tbsp Melted Butter
11/4 Cup Brown sugar
3/4 Cup Shredded Coconut
1 20 Oz. Can Pineapple Chunks
Two Handfuls Pecans (about20-25 pecans)
8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (1/2 Cup or 1 Stick)
3/4 Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Almond Extract
1/4 Cup Buttermilk
1 3/4 Cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
3-4 Ripe Bananas

For the Whipped Cream:

2 Oz. Room Temperature Cream Cheese
3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
3 Tbsp Reserved Pineapple Juice


Mix together the melted butter and 3/4 cups of the brown sugar. Spread it into a 9" round cake pan.

Sprinkle the coconut across the top of the butter mixture.

Drain the can of pineapple, reserving 3 tablespoons of the juice.

Place the pineapple and the pecans across the bottom of the pan and set to the side.

In a mixer, cream together the butter, white sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar.

Add in the eggs and the two extracts.

Mix in the buttermilk.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Add the dry mixture to the wet in batches, stirring after each addition.

Add in the bananas and mix until combined.

Pour the cake batter over the top of the pecans and place in a 350 degree oven for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean in the middle.

Allow about 5 minutes to cool and then run a knife around the edge and flip over onto a serving dish.

For the whipped cream, begin by whipping the cream cheese in a mixer until smooth.

Add in the cream, brown sugar, vanilla and pineapple juice.

Whip on medium/high speed until whipped cream forms.

Serve a hearty dollop of the whipped cream along side the cake.