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Dessert that's a southern tradition

For a sensational July 4th dessert, try "Hummingbird Cake", a southern favorite
For a sensational July 4th dessert, try "Hummingbird Cake", a southern favorite

This week, I've been giving recipes that you could have for the July 4th weekend or anytime this summer. So far, I've shared recipes for "Fire and Ice Tomatoes" and "Ranch Potatoes". If by chance you missed these recipes, here's the link to them so you can get those and have them for the weekend:

One of the most anticipated things about any July 4th gathering or summer picnic is, of course, dessert! And today, I have a special dessert that's a southern tradition! For many years, I've seen recipes and heard about a southern favorite, "Hummingbird Cake". This cake appears to be a famous recipe that has an interesting and history-making background. According to Wikipedia, "the cake has been a tradition in the Southern United States since the mid 19th century. The first known publication of the recipe was in a February 1978 edition of Southern Living by L.H. Wiggin. It was elected the magazine's favorite recipe in 1990, and won the Favorite Cake Award at the 1978 Kentucky State Fair. The cake has two or three layers with pecans, mashed bananas, crushed pineapple and cream cheese frosting". One source I found stated that this recipe has been the most-requested recipe from "Southern Living" magazine in its history. Going by all of this information, you can see that this cake has to be a hit!

Last year, I got the recipe and decided to give this cake a long, overdue try....and I'm so very happy I did! I then found out for myself why this recipe has had a long-standing popularity. This cake is filled with bananas, pineapple, pecans and cinnamon. It's iced with a cream cheese icing which makes this cake absolutely wonderful! Some versions of this recipe call for it to be baked in layers and some call for a tube pan. Both versions use a cream cheese icing, though some versions have a rather generous amount of the icing.

This cake is also mixed by hand, so you can save the electric mixer for the icing. The cake ingredients are stirred together and the mixture turned into the pans and baked. Once they're cooled, they're ready to be iced and topped with chopped pecans. This cake is deadly rich, as you can see by the recipe, so try keeping the servings small, if at all possible!

The version I prefer is made in layers. It calls for 3 of the 9-inch layer pans but I'm including the baking time for a tube pan, if you decide to make it in that form. Don't let the icing ingredients scare you. It does make a lot of icing, but if you would rather have less, simply make half of the recipe of icing. Half of the icing recipe will also ice the tube cake perfectly.

Since I'm talking about history-making recipes, I shared a recipe last year for a "Watergate Cake", which has an interesting history, too. Along with it is a recipe for a "Watergate Salad" and both recipes are great! To get them, follow this link:

If you've heard of this "Hummingbird Cake" and haven't yet tried it, don't delay any further! Try the cake and see why it's been a favorite with many, especially in the south, for as long as it has!


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained well
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 cups firm ripe banana, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add eggs and oil. Stir with a wooden spoon to moisten. Add the vanilla, pineapple and pecans and combine. Stir in the bananas. Spoon the mixture into 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cakes test done. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks and cool completely before icing.

For a tube cake, prepare batter as directed above. Spoon the batter into a well-greased and floured 10-inch tube pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until cake tests done. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a serving plate. Cool completely before icing.

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 lbs. confectioner's sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

Cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually add the confectioner's sugar, beating with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla. Frost the tops of all three cake layers, stacking as you go. After the layers are assembled, frost the tops and sides. Sprinkle the top evenly with pecans.

For a tube cake, or if less icing is desired for the layers, prepare only half of the icing.

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