The one thing we do know about Hummingbird Cake is that it was first printed in Southern Living Magazine in 1978 and eventually became the most popular and requested recipe in the magazine’s history. What we don’t know about Hummingbird Cake, is how it got its name.
This moist, three-layer slice of heaven was created and submitted to Southern Living by Mrs. L.H Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina, 41 years ago. Over the years, information about Mrs. Wiggins was lost, but a recent post online from Southern Living revealed this:
“Stay tuned, because in the coming weeks, you’ll more about cracking the case of the Hummingbird Cake in a new Southern Living podcast – including exclusive interviews with Mrs. Wiggins’ family and Southern Living food editors throughout the decades.”
So maybe we will find out about the cakes’ origin and its name. Once you make it, you’ll find out why it’s been a time-tested and beloved recipe for dessert lovers for decades.
For the Cake Layers:
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
(such as Publix Crushed Pineapple in Pineapple Juice)
2 cups chopped ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 cups pecan halves, toasted for top of cake
For the cream cheese frosting
2 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup salted butter or margarine, softened
2 (16-oz.) pkg. powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Step 1: Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not burn.
Step 2: Prepare the Cake Layers: Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, bananas, and toasted pecans.
Step 3: Divide batter evenly among 3 well-greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
Step 4: Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely, about 1 hour.
Step 5: Prepare the cream cheese frosting: beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 6: Assemble Cake: Place 1 Cake Layer on a serving platter; spread top with 1 cup of the frosting. Top with second layer and spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with third layer, and spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Arrange pecan halves on top of cake.