Tropical Hummingbird Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese & Rum Frosting


Tropical Hummingbird Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese & Rum Frosting

Thought to have been created in Jamaica, hummingbird cake is a Southern favorite. Far from delicate, this downright hefty cake is packed with tropical fruit and flavors. At its most simple, it’s a banana cake scented with warm island spices, namely cinnamon. We added a little allspice and nutmeg, because can it really be considered Caribbean-inspired without them?! Crushed pineapple is typical, coconut isn’t unheard of, and we insisted on rum, too. Again, not only is it in keeping with the island theme, but rum-flavored desserts are quite in vogue, not to mention decidedly delicious. And since it’s an oil-based cake (with lots of mashed bananas), this is an incredibly moist (and dense) cake that keeps well. Adorned with the most luscious, and not too sweet, cream cheese frosting you’ll ever taste, this cake is in a class all its own. But make sure to store the cake in the refrigerator because of the heavy cream and cream cheese in the frosting.


16 servings

Total Time

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Test Kitchen Tip

When it comes to dividing the cake batter, you can eyeball it. Or for the most even layers, use a scale to weigh the batter, then divide it evenly.

To provide maximum aeration, be sure to chill the stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment prior to whipping the cream for the frosting.


Preheat oven to 350°. Coat bottoms of three 9-inch-round cake pans with butter, line with parchment, then coat parchment and sides of pans with butter and flour, shaking out excess.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, and nutmeg in a bowl.

Cream eggs, granulated and brown sugars, rum, and vanilla in a bowl with a hand mixer on high speed until it forms ribbons, 57 minutes. With mixer running, slowly drizzle in oil until incorporated.

Beat in bananas and pineapple until evenly distributed.

Fold flour mixture into banana mixture just until incorporated, then stir in pecans and coconut.

Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 2530 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.

Transfer cakes to a cooling rack; cool in pans 15 minutes, then turn cakes out to cool completely.

For the frosting, whip together heavy cream, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium-low speed until sugar dissolves, 12 minutes.

Add rum; continue whipping until cream thickens, 12 minutes more.

Add cream cheese, with mixer running, about 2 oz. at a time, until incorporated, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl and whisk attachment (frosting will look curdled).

Whip frosting on high speed, scraping down sides of bowl, and whisk every 30 seconds, until frosting is smooth and light with only a few tiny bits of cream cheese throughout, about 2 minutes.

Arrange one cake layer on a serving plate; spread one-third of frosting to edges. Top with second cake layer and one-third more frosting; stack final cake layer on top and spread frosting to edges.

Decorate top of cake with coconut chips and edible flowers. Chill cake until ready to serve.


To help lighten the texture of this naturally dense cake, add the oil in a thin, steady stream to emulsify with the sugar and eggs.


Once you’ve added all the cream cheese, the frosting will look curdled (like cottage cheese). But have no fear! Turn the mixer on high speed and whip the frosting until smooth, about 2 minutes. (A few bits of cream cheese here and there are okay. They’ll smooth out when you frost the cake.)


A dinner spoon is the only tool you’ll need to frost the cake. Simply use the back of the spoon to spread on the smooth and creamy frosting.

Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Facts

Per serving

Calories: 564

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 32g 49%

Saturated Fat 13g 65%

Cholesterol 105mg 35%

Sodium 422mg 17%

Carbs 64g 21%

Protein 7g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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