The History of Hummingbird Cake

October 22, 2012 | By | Comments (2)

Every season is cake season. However, as the holidays approach, these traditional masterpieces become tablescape mainstays, especially in the South. And let’s be honest, layer cakes don’t come more Southern than Hummingbird Cake.

As the most requested recipe in Southern Living history, the  Hummingbird Cake was originally submitted by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina in the  February 1978 issue. With white waves of cream cheese frosting draping moist layers of pineapple, banana, and pecan batter, this Southern staple garnered a blue ribbon-reputation at countless county fairs.

Traditional Hummingbird Cake

But the question still stands: Why is it called a Hummingbird Cake? Well, it’s certainly no secret that Southerners are famous for their tall tales, thus the actual origins of the name remain uncertain, but this didn’t deter folks from formulating theories…

1) Some say this cake is so delicious, your guests will hum with happiness.

2) Others say guests will hover over this cake like a hummingbird hovers over flowers.

3) And of course, many believe this cake is simply sweet enough for a hummingbird.

But whatever the theory, you can expect this cake to be a crowd-pleaser.

This Hummingbird Bundt Cake simplifies the three-tiered dazzler into a one-dish dessert.

This Mile-High White Chocolate Hummingbird Cake dishes eight layers of decadence. With the same banana, pineapple, and pecan batter and white chocolate-cream cheese frosting, rest assured your guests will hum with happiness.

The Southern Living Test Kitchen created this Lightened Hummingbird Cake by substituting applesauce for oil, using less butter, sugar, and eggs, and substituting light for regular cream cheese. But don’t let this low-fat cake fool you–it’s still just as delicious.


  1. Tricia Prewitt

    I remember my grandmother making this and assuring me that it didn’t have any hummingbirds in it.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm
  2. Trinunggal

    My All member family like this cake especially with topping of chesnut..cheers

    November 5, 2012 at 1:33 am

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