In 1978, Southern Living Magazine published Mrs. L.H. Wiggin’s Hummingbird Cake recipe in its February issue. This publication is the first known printed reference to the cake. Mrs. Wiggin provided no explanation of the cake’s name in the issue, leaving readers to wonder as to its origin. Hummingbird cake quickly became the magazine’s most requested recipe and was elected favorite recipe ever in 1990. It has won many awards at various Southern county fairs including the Favorite Cake Award at the 1978 Kentucky State Fair. The recipe consists of two to three layers of cake filled with pecans, mashed bananas, crushed pineapple and cream cheese frosting.Despite its name, Hummingbird cake is not made from or for hummingbirds. It is a moist, flavorful cake made from a relatively simple recipe. Many speculate that the cake’s name is due to its sweetness, but the origin of the cake remains a mystery.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
11/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups chopped bananas
1 cup chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, bananas, and 1 cup chopped toasted pecans. Spoon batter into 3 well-greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes our clean. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup Cream Cheese Frosting over cake layer. Top with second layer, and spread 1 cup frosting over cake layer. Top with third cake layer, and spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Arrange toasted pecan halves in a circular pattern over top of cake.