Hummingbird sheet cake transforms a slightly fussy classic Southern cake into something easy and portable yet still SO delicious – and pretty.
Being a Type A perfectionist and a blogger with a full-time job are things that are sometimes at odds in my life. My time is limited, and sometimes if I know a recipe is good I just want to get it up here to share with you guys. That means that my photos aren’t always perfect, but sometimes I just don’t have the time, energy, or, honestly, desire to retake the photos before I put them up here. I hope you guys will forgive me.
Another thing is that in the frenzy of beautiful images that I am surrounded by every day on blogs, Pinterest, and Instagram I sometimes start to feel like my recipes aren’t enough. Like, if I can’t put lavender or goat cheese in all the things then I probably shouldn’t share them. Or if I can’t make the prettiest deconstructed and perfectly lit bowl meal then I lose👎🏼. Oh boy. We’re our own worst critics, right? Seriously, no one has ever criticized one of my recipes for not being pretty or fancy enough (it’s probably coming now that I’ve put it out there. Que sera sera).
I listen to a few podcasts for food bloggers and one of the things I’ve heard recently is that we need to blog for our audience, not for other bloggers. That hit me like a splash of cold water in the face. I realized that thinking that everything I post has to be vegan, Paleo, and artfully arranged in a handmade ceramic bowl being held in front of a window by a European hand model was not based on any preference that a single one of my readers has ever expressed to me. It’s based on the things that I think are pretty on Instagram but not the way that I cook, eat, or live or probably the way that the majority of my readers cook, eat, or live (the last handmade ceramic bowl I priced was like 70 smackers. If any of y’all have that kind of dough to spend on dishes, pass some my way).
That’s where this hummingbird sheet cake comes from. Hummingbird cake, with pineapple, bananas, and spices baked into a cake coated in a thick layer of cream cheese icing (💯) and toasted pecans, is one of my favorite cakes. But the first version I posted, while tasty and beautiful, was incredibly fussy. It broke while I was taking it out of the pan! While a perfect four-layer cake is what my overbearing perfectionist brain aspires to (and yes, I am perfectly capable of making it), a hummingbird sheet cake is what my tired, full-time job working, rest of the time blogging self finds realistic. And goodness, look at it. Is this hummingbird sheet cake really less pretty than this hummingbird layer cake? Personally, I don’t think so. That could just be because the approachability of Exhibit A is about 10000 times higher than Exhibit B. But I digress. They both taste equally delicious, and that’s really what matters anyway, right?
So if you’re a little short on time (or even just a little lazy, which is just fine with me), hummingbird sheet cake is where it’s at!
Yield: one 9x13 cake (about 20 servings)
30 minPrep Time:
50 minCook Time:
1 hr, 20 Total Time:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons Alchemy Spice Wake and Bake Blend in place of the cinnamon & nutmeg)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 8 ounce cans crushed pineapple (with juice)
- 2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4)
- 2 cups finely chopped pecans (can toast them lightly if you wish)
- 8 ounces (1 block) cream cheese (softened)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter-1 stick (softened)
- 1 lb powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9x13 baking pan and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- In another medium to large bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, and sugar. Stir in the mashed bananas, the pineapple, and one cup of the pecans (I did all of the mixing for this cake by hand...do not use a mixer. I also forgot to put pecans in the batter, and the world did not come to an end).
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just combined (it's fine if you have a couple of lumps of flour in your batter). Pour into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool briefly in pan then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
- Make the frosting: using a hand or stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and the butter until well incorporated, then beat in the powdered sugar a little bit at a time, making sure that the previous addition is fully incorporated before adding more (going slowly will keep you from making a gigantic mess...like I did). Beat in the vanilla.
- To assemble the cake, spread the frosting across over the top of the cake and sprinkle the cake with one cup of toasted pecans.