This gluten free hummingbird cake is made without nuts, so it's perfect if you're baking for someone with allergies! It's moist, perfectly spiced, and the cream cheese frosting adds that extra special touch.
Having grown up on the West Coast, hummingbird cake has never really been a "thing." I had certainly heard of it, but it wasn't until recently that I decided that it needed to be part of my Spring and Summer baking rotation.
It's safe to say this gluten free hummingbird cake has quickly become a favorite around here! And I'm thinking it will be a hit for everyone you make it for, too.
What Is Hummingbird Cake?
If you've never heard of hummingbird cake (or even if you have), you may be wondering about its origins and why it's called hummingbird cake.
Although this tropical cake was first introduced in an issue of Southern Living magazine in the 1970s (it's very popular in the South), it actually is believed to have originated in Jamaica. My research tells me that it was called Doctor Bird cake (Jamaica's national bird, also a type of hummingbird).
This particular cake typically calls for pineapple, bananas, and nuts and is traditionally paired with cream cheese frosting. My version is allergy friendly because we're not including nuts in this cake. But I promise it's Just As Tasty!
Why You'll Love This Recipe...
- Personally, I love the spices in this cake. We're adding a perfect amount of cinnamon and nutmeg, so that it's not too overpowering but complements the other flavors perfectly.
- I'm using a mix of granulated and brown sugar, and I just love that flavor combination. Plus the brown sugar adds even more moisture (which we're already getting from the pineapple)!
- This is a naturally eggless cake, meaning you won't need to buy any egg replacer. The bananas and yogurt take care of that for us!
What You'll Need...
- Flour: regular readers know my go-to is Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1, but any gluten free blend will work.
- Greek yogurt: I like to use plain Greek yogurt as an egg substitute. It adds moisture, richness, and even helps bind things together - all things that eggs usually do in baking.
- Mashed banana: depending on the size of the banana, 1 should do the trick.
- Crushed pineapples: juice and all! We're not draining the pineapple in this recipe.
How To Make Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake From Scratch...
To make this two layer cake, we'll start by combining all of your dry ingredients in a bowl, just so it's ready when you need it. Give it all a quick whisk and set aside.
Use a mixer to cream the butter with the sugar until it's smooth. Add the rest of your wet ingredients, give it a quick mix, then add in your dry ingredients. Make sure not to over-mix, just beat on low speed until the cake batter just comes together.
Divide the batter evenly between two greased cake pans. Bake on 350ºF for about 38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean.
To Make The Cream Cheese Frosting...
Beat the cream cheese and butter together first for about 5 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar and mix until it's fully combined.
To assemble the cake, I like to scoop about 3/4 cup of frosting onto the first layer, spread all the way to the edges, then top with the second cake layer. After that, you can use up all of the frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake!
I went for a semi-naked cake look here, just because I love how imperfect and rustic it looks. To achieve the look, you just need a very minimal amount of frosting all around the sides of the cake. A bench scraper makes smoothing out the frosting much easier. I also like to use a bit for some simple piping on top.
The frosted hummingbird cake can be stored at room temperature for 8 hours. After that, I recommend covering and/or popping it in an airtight container and storing in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Tips For Making Hummingbird Cake...
- As with all of my recipes, I highly recommend weighing your flour using a kitchen scale. Too much flour will most definitely alter the end result, and it's easy to inadvertently add too much when using measuring cups. We'll need 444 grams of gluten free flour for this recipe.
- Do NOT drain your crushed pineapple! We want all of that wonderful pineapple juice in the cake for added flavor and moisture.
- When it comes to adding your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, you may want to do this in two parts. It's a lot of flour and you want it to incorporate into your batter without over-mixing.
- Make sure to use room temperature ingredients, especially when it comes to the cream cheese frosting.
- Speaking of the frosting, I recommend taking your time when beating the cream cheese with the butter. I like to set a timer for at least 5 minutes and just let my mixer run. You'll end up with the most creamy frosting ever!
- This cake can be made ahead of time. You can wrap each layer individually in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator, then frost them the next day. Make sure you wrap tightly so that the cake layers don't dry out.
- I recommend making the cream cheese frosting fresh, right before you're ready to assemble your cake, but you can also make it the day before and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. You will want to let it come to room temperature so it's smooth and easy to spread, and I recommend beating it briefly using your mixer just to give it that creamy consistency again.
For More Gluten Free Cakes, Check Out My...
Hummingbird Cake - Gluten Free, Eggless
- 3 cups (444g) gluten free flour blend
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter room temperature
- ⅔ cup (133g) light brown sugar packed
- ⅔ cup (133g) granulated sugar
- 8 ounces crushed pineapple undrained
- ¾ cup (170g) mashed banana about 1 large banana
- ¾ cup (170g) plain Greek yogurt room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 16 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 cups (360g) powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg together. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with both sugars until smooth. Add the crushed pineapple, mashed banana, yogurt and vanilla extract and beat to incorporate. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for 38-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
To make the cream cheese frosting:
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and the butter until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and beat to combine.
To assemble the cake:
- Use a large serrated knife to level the top of each cake, if necessary, to create a completely flat surface. Place one layer on your cake stand and spread ¾ cup of frosting evenly on top. Position the second layer on top and evenly cover the top and sides with the remaining frosting.