Hummingbird cake

Hummingbird cake

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  • 6 to 8
  • Medium
  • 1 hour
  • 50 minutes

“The banana and pineapple gives you an exceptionally moist cake packed with a burst of flavour. The result is something like a carrot cake, but really so much better.” – Abigail Donnelly


  • 280 g flour
  • 265 g sugar
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 3⁄4 t salt
  • 1⁄4 t baking powder
  • 3⁄4 t bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 large free-range eggs, beaten
  • 1 1⁄2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 x 440 g can Woolworths pineapple pieces in syrup, undrained
  • 2 ripe bananas, chopped
  • 125 g pecan nuts, chopped
  • For the French buttercream:
  • 100 g sugar
  • 3 T water
  • 5 large free-range egg yolks
  • 240 g room-temperature butter, cubed
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • salt a pinch

Cooking Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Grease, flour and line a 22 cm cake tin with baking paper.

2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl.

3. Stir in the oil, eggs, vanilla and pineapple until evenly combined. Mash the bananas, then add to the bowl with the pecan nuts. Stir to combine. Pour into the tin and bake for 50 minutes.

4. Cool the cake in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the tin and cool completely for about an hour.

5. To make the buttercream, place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over a low heat, stirring continuously, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Cook until it reaches softball stage, about 112–115°C on a candy thermometer.

6. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a stand mixer and beat until thick and foamy using the whisk attachment. Remove the syrup from the heat and slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the egg yolks with the mixer still running. Continue mixing until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch and the yolk mixture has cooled to room temperature.

7. Add the butter, one cube at a time, fully incorporating each piece before adding the next. Add the vanilla and salt and mix until smooth, about 5–6 minutes.

8. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle. Starting on one side of the cake, pipe large dots down the side. Using a mini offset spatula, gently press down on the centre of the dot, and pull outward to make a smear. Repeat this process until the whole cake is covered.

Find more cake recipes here. 

Photograph: Jan Ras
Production: Abigail Donnelly and Hannah Lewry
Food assistant: Josh van Zyl and Tahila Pillay

Abigail Donnelly Recipe by: Abigail Donnelly
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Nothing excites Woolworths TASTE's Food Director quite as much as the challenge of dreaming up recipes with innovative new foods – or the thrill of creating deliciousness on a plate with the humblest of ingredients. With Abi by your side, you’ll be a cooking expert in no time at all.

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