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The Tastiest Tuesdays of 2014 · Hummingbird Cake


Every January it is our annual tradition to revisit our most popular Tasty Tuesday recipes from the past 12 months… they fly by so quickly, we are amassing quite an archive!

First up, one of our all time favourite Melbourne foodies, Julia Busuttil, who generously contributed the most delectable Hummingbird cake for a special Rooftop Cinema screening we hosted last summer. Julia’s cake was the first to go – this lady can BAKE! An Italian teacher by day, self taught culinary whizz by night, Julia has the most brilliant food blog called OSTRO which you should most definitely check out. Her Hummingbird cake won many hearts back in May when we first shared this recipe – who knew overripe bananas and pineapple could result in such a refined, sublime dessert treat?!

6th January, 2015
Julia Busuttil of OSTRO
Tuesday 6th January 2015

A cake that has pineapple, bananas, pecans, cinnamon, and cream cheese frosting may appear to be a little confused. But somehow it works, and really well! Hummingbird cake emerged from a kitchen in North Carolina, America in the late 70’s, and is really a banana cake turned up a notch (or three)! With gems of pineapple studded throughout, and the crunch of the lightly toasted pecans, not to mention the frosting, this cake wins friends!

I’ve tasted some very sweet versions of this, but if you find the right balance, it is one of the best cakes you will ever eat! It’s a big statement, but once you try it for yourself, I guarantee you will be a hummingbird cake advocate too.

You can make it as easy or as complicated as you like – just one cake smothered with cream cheese frosting is lovely for a simple afternoon tea, or a few cake layers, filled with extra pineapple, banana and frosting for something special. I love how impressively tall the layered cake looks, especially once you cut into it. This recipe makes enough for three cakes. You can halve the quantity if you’re after something a little more modest.

If you’ve decided to fill the cake with the extra banana and pineapple, the cake will be even more delicious the following day!


For the cake

  • 3 eggs
  • 200ml olive oil
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 380g self-raising flour
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 140g pecans, lightly toasted, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 320g fresh pineapple
  • 3-4 really ripe bananas, mashed

For the frosting

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 400g cream cheese frosting
  • 500g icing sugar, sifted

For the filling

  • 80g reserved fresh pineapple reserved, drained really well
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed

To serve

  • Pecans, lightly toasted


For the cake

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line three 20cm round cake tins.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, oil, and vanilla until well combined. In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar, pecans and cinnamon and stir to combine. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and beat well.

In a food processor, blitz the pineapple until crushed, but not yet pureed. Reserve 80g for the filling and put the remainder into the cake mixture, juice and all! Add the banana too and mix until thoroughly combined.

Divide batter into the three cake tins and bake in the oven until a skewer or tooth pick comes out clean when placed in the center of the cake. Leave to cool a little in the tin and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before assembling.

For the filling

Mash the banana and combine in a bowl with the reserved 80g of crushed pineapple.

For the frosting

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth and there are no lumps. Slowly add the icing sugar until well incorporated.

To assemble

Place one cake on the bottom of a serving plate or board. Spread with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting and distribute half of the filling mixture on top. Repeat with the next cake layer, making sure the cakes are in line with each other. Finish layers with the third cake.

Place a big spoonful of the cream cheese frosting on the top of the cake and with a palate knife, slowly work your way down and around the cake. This is the first layer of frosting (a.k.a. crumb coat), to smooth it all out and pack down the crumbs, so don’t be too pedantic. Once the whole cake is thinly covered, pop the cake in the fridge for about an hour or until the icing has firmed a little.

Finish the cake with the final layer of frosting. Top with lightly toasted pecans.

Julia putting the final touches on her delicious Hummingbird cake with some toasted walnuts. Recipe by Julia Busutill. Styling – Lucy Feagins, styling assistant – Nat Turnbull. Photo – Eve Wilson.

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