Black Dog Cafe, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

What is Hummingbird cake?

This is a question we are frequently asked at The Black Dog.

The definition – a moist layer cake made with bananas, pineapple and pecans. The cake is filled and frosted with a cream cheese frosting and garnished with additional pecans.

Contrary to popular belief this cake does not originate from The Hummingbird Bakery in London. Hummingbird Cake is thought to be an authentic Southern American recipe. The exact origin of the name is unknown, with some believing it to be because the cake is sweet like the nectar that hummingbirds feast on.

 Here’s our recipe should you want to re-create at home (or if you can’t be bothered come in and enjoy Amy’s instead!)


300g caster sugar, 3 eggs, 300ml sunflower oil, 270g mashed banana, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 300g plain flour, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, 100g tin of pineapple pieces, 100g pecans chopped (or use walnuts) ,Cream cheese icing (see below for recipe)


Grease and line 3 x 20cm sandwich tins with baking parchment

Preheat oven to 170 ̊C

Put the sugar, eggs, oil, mashed banana and cinnamon in a freestanding mixer (or use handheld mixer) and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until everything is well mixed.

Stir in the chopped pineapple and pecan nuts by hand until evenly dispersed.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cake to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

When the cakes are completely cold, put one cake on a stand and spread about ¼ of the cream cheese icing over it with a palette knife. Place a second cake on top and spread another quarter of the icing over it. Top with the last cake and spread the remaining cream cheese icing over the top and sides. Finish with pecan nuts and a light sprinkling of cinnamon.

Cream cheese icing

600g icing sugar, 100g butter at room temperature, 250g cream cheese

Beat icing sugar and butter together in freestanding mixer or handheld mixer slowly until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat on medium/high until it is completely incorporated, light and fluffy.

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