Southern Living Magazine is credited with first publishing Hummingbird Cake recipe in 1978, submitted by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, N.C. No one knows for sure how this cake got its name, but most likely because the whimsical little bird it’s named for is a symbol of sweetness (or maybe because the cake tastes so good you want to hum?) The cake has won many awards and is a southern delight. There are many variations of the original recipe, including my take on it below. Originally developed as a 3 layer cake, I converted it to a half sheet cake 11” x 15” (see alternate pan sizes below) because a flat cake is easier to bake, frost, transport, serve and store. A perfect size cake for gatherings, as its larger area serves many – figure on 30 servings for crowds, depending on size cut. The cake freezes well too.
Set oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a half sheet cake pan with vegetable spray. (I used an 11 x 15-inch Wilton sheet cake pan, but you could also make two cakes, one to serve and one to freeze, by using a 9 x 13 rectangular pan PLUS an 8 x 8 square pan.)
Measure flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into large mixing bowl and stir well.
Add beaten eggs, oil, vanilla, bananas, pineapple and pecans. Mix until combined well.
Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake 25-30 minutes or until cake is lightly golden brown and tests done.
Cool in pan on wire rack.
FOR THE FROSTING:
Beat together cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla until smooth and creamy.