Vegan Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird cake! A cake that’s in the shape of a hummingbird! A cake that you can feed to your pet hummingbird! A cake that turns you into a hummingbird!

Ahem, ok none of this is true but I just had to share a few of the assumptions that people have about hummingbird cake. When I told my friends that I was making a vegan hummingbird cake over the weekend, these are some of the assumptions they made ūü§£ Hummingbird cake is a VERY Southern dessert it seems, as few people in my L.A. circle seem to know about it.

And maybe you too are wondering ‘what is a hummingbird cake’? Hummingbird cake is a spiced layer cake made with crushed banana, pineapple, and pecans. Maybe you’re also wondering, ‘why is it called a hummingbird cake’? That I can’t answer for you, but maybe Wikipedia knows.

Unlike most of the vegan recipes on my blog, hummingbird cake is not something that I grew up with and had a lot of nostalgia for. In fact, I don’t think I even had my first slice of hummingbird cake until I was in my 20s. That’s an ironic fact now considering that hummingbird cake apparently comes from Jamaica, where my mom is from, but I’ve still never had it. But, it’s so good. It’s a really good freaking cake and it needs to be worldwide.

The texture of hummingbird cake is my favorite, especially for someone who likes when things are filled with nuts or seeds or something that I can sink my teeth into. This cake is dense, and almost always made with layers of cream cheese frosting. I made mine with a vegan cream cheese frosting and topped it off with flowers, because it’s summer so why not? ūüĆł

I made my vegan hummingbird cake with vanilla beans instead of vanilla extract, and oh. my. gosh. What a difference. I have never baked with vanilla beans before, but I really liked how intense the flavor was using this technique. Basically, you just take a vanilla bean and split it in half, and scrape out the tiny seeds that are inside. You know vanilla bean ice cream that has those tiny vanilla seeds? Yes, those. Native Vanilla gifted me a few vanilla beans to use for this recipe, and it’s such a great thing to try in your baking. These are premium beans, and every purchase helps to support farmers in Papua New Guinea, which is so amazing!

Another awesome thing about vanilla beans is that you can make vanilla extract using them too. All you need to do is cut the beans in half and split them open. Put them in a jar and add about one cup of vodka (make sure the vanilla beans are completely submerged). Let it sit in a cool, dark spot and remember to shake up the jar every now and then. After about a month, you’ve got homemade vanilla extract! And the flavor will only intensify over time ūüėä

So, have I sold you on these vanilla beans yet? Good. Now you’re ready to make yourself some vegan hummingbird cake!



  • 3¬†cups¬†all-purpose flour
  • 2¬†cups¬†granulated sugar
  • 1¬†teaspoon¬†baking soda
  • 1¬†teaspoon¬†baking powder
  • 1¬†teaspoon¬†salt
  • 1 1/2¬†teaspoons¬†ground cinnamon
  • 3¬†flax¬†eggs (3 tbsp flax meal + 9 tbsp water, let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1¬†cup¬†vegetable oil
  • 3¬†Native Vanilla beans (alt. 3 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1¬†(8-ounce) can¬†crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 3¬†ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 cups)
  • 1¬†cup¬†roasted pecans¬†finely chopped
  • Vegan cream cheese frosting (recipe linked)


  1. Preheat oven to 350¬ļ F. Spray three 8 or 9-inch round baking pans with nonstick spray.
  2. Cream together the flax eggs, oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, mashed bananas, and finely chopped pecans in the bowl of a large stand mixer on low speed.
  3. Add in the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon. Mix until just combined.
  4. Evenly divide the batter between the three prepared pans and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Turn cakes onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting with vegan cream cheese frosting.

Adapted From: Add A Pinch

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