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6-Inch Hummingbird Cake

For an impressive dessert for a smaller gathering, this 6-Inch Hummingbird Cake is sure to please! Such wonderful flavor!

6-Inch Hummingbird Cake on a white cake stand

One of my all-time favorite cakes is Hummingbird Cake. The combination of flavors and the soft texture is pretty darn perfect in my book.

A traditional Hummingbird Cake is a tall, layered cake that can feed a crowd. But for smaller gatherings, this scaled down small batch Hummingbird Cake is just as beautiful and delicious!

overhead view of slices of  6-Inch Hummingbird Cake on colorful plates

What is Hummingbird Cake?

For those of you unfamiliar with Hummingbird Cake, let me happily introduce you to it and all its glory. It’s an absolutely lovely cake made with bananas, pineapple, pecans, and a hint of cinnamon. And it’s usually topped with cream cheese frosting. And it’s so, so good.

It’s a wonderfully soft, moist cake that’s about 85% cake and 15% banana bread. Somehow, it manages to be soft and sturdy at the same time.

There’s not a clear history of why it’s called Hummingbird Cake. I’ve read things like it’s sweet enough to attract hummingbirds. I’m not sure about the validity of that, but it’s a charming name for a special cake.

Tips for Success

  • Measure accurately. Use a kitchen scale if you can. Otherwise, spoon and sweep.
  • Use light-colored metal pans. Darker pans tend to bake the outside edges more quickly, leaving the middle under-baked.
  • Line the pans with parchment paper. This may seem like a tedious, needless step, but I assure you it will make removing the cake layers from the pans much easier.
  • Don’t toss out the pineapple juice. You’ll want some of that juice for both flavor and moisture in Hummingbird Cake. I most often use canned pineapple for this cake, but you can use fresh if you like. When you’re measuring the pineapple, try spooning it into a measuring cup so that you’re also getting some of the juice. You can add a bit more juice if the batter seems dry or tacky.
  • Toast the pecans. While this isn’t a requirement, the flavor of toasted pecans really works well here. To toast them, place them in a single layer on a lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes, or until fragrant and toasted.
  • Divide the batter as evenly as possible. Having equal amounts of batter in each pan will help ensure even baking. I find it’s easiest and most accurate to weigh my mixing bowl when it’s empty and again when the batter is mixed. Subtract the empty weight from the filled weight, and divide by two to determine how much batter to put in each pan. One at a time, place the baking pans on your scale and zero the weight before adding batter to the pan.
  • Sift the confectioners’ sugar. To make the smoothest possible frosting, don’t skip the sifting step.
  • Use a crumb coat when frosting. I’m the first to admit that my frosting skills aren’t the greatest. But even with my limited skill (or maybe because of it?), I find that the texture of this Hummingbird Cake can make it a little tough to frost well. Especially when frosting the sides of the cake, a thin coat of frosting applied first will help the remaining frosting go onto the cake more smoothly without as much cake crumb working its way into your frosting.

How to Store Hummingbird Cake

Cream cheese frosting doesn’t hold up very well at room temperature for long. You should be able to leave it at room temperature for a couple of hours.

Keep any remaining cake tightly covered in the refrigerator, and then bring it to room temperature before serving. If stored well, it should keep for up to a week.

For longer storage, you can tightly wrap and freeze it. Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator, and then bring to room temperature for serving.

slice of 6-Inch Hummingbird Cake on a pink and white plate

In a dessert world populated with lots of chocolate and vanilla, Hummingbird Cake stands out as a unique treat. And as someone who adores all things chocolate and vanilla, it seems quite the testament that I list this cake among my all-time favorites. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

Find more cake recipes in the Recipe Index.

More Hummingbird Desserts

6-Inch Hummingbird Cake

Yield 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

This small batch Hummingbird Cake is a uniquely delicious dessert for those times when you want a fantastic dessert for a smaller gathering.

6-Inch Hummingbird Cake on a white cake stand

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
  • 
2/3 cup (133g) granulated sugar
  • 
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
  • 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 
1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 
1 large egg, beaten
  • 
1/2 cup (118ml) vegetable oil
  • 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (80g) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
  • 
2/3 cup chopped ripe bananas (about 1 medium banana)
  • 
1/3 cup (40g) chopped pecans, toasted (plus more for garnish)

For the frosting:

  • 5 ounces (141g) cream cheese, softened
  • 
1/3 cup (75g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 & 1/2 cups (275g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • toasted pecans, for garnish

Instructions

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 6-inch round baking pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper, and grease the paper.*
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the egg, oil, and vanilla, mixing just until combined.
  4. Stir in the pineapple, bananas, and pecans.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cakes are golden brown.
  7. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, remove the cakes from the pans to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting:

  1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and butter until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  2. Reduce mixer speed to medium-low. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, and mix until combined. Mix in the vanilla. Continue mixing for another minute or two, until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  3. Frost the cooled cake layers. Garnish with toasted pecans.

Notes

*I use a cooking spray with flour, like Baker's Joy or Pam for Baking.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living.

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    21 Comments on “6-Inch Hummingbird Cake”

  1. Can you use a 13x 9 pan instead of two round cake pans?

    • Hi, Nancee. This isn’t enough batter for a 9×13 pan. The closest you’d get for a single layer would be an 8-inch square (which is slightly too big) or 8-inch round (which is slightly too small). If you double the recipe, it would be roughly the amount you’d need for a 9×13.

  2. Thank you ever so much. I am always looking for 6 inch cakes for just the two of us and this is one of my favorite cake recipes. I know it will be delicious as I’ve made your creations before💕

  3. Oh yay! A 6-inch cake recipe. I love it.I’m always on the lookout for small cake recipes. It’s just my husband and I at home. And this is definitely something I will attempt soon. Thank you. Keep ‘em coming pls.  

  4. I so appreciate small batch cooking….Thanks, from a senior.

  5. Can this be baked in a 6 inch Bundt pan?

  6. I have a 6-inch springform pan that I use for cheesecakes in the mini Instant Pot. Will this work as a single layer in the springform and what do you recommend for the cook time? I’m excited to try this. I’m getting the ingredients tomorrow. 

  7. How does this cake withstand freezing?

  8. I only have one 6in cake pan (I bought it for your chocolate cake with marshmallow frosting recipe) Could this recipe be baked in one pan and then halved? If so, what would the baking time be?

    • Hi, Lori. I wouldn’t bake all of this batter in one pan. If you just have one pan, then I would make half the recipe. Alternately, you could bake the full recipe in an 8-inch square pan for a one-layer cake.

  9. My friend Debbie made your Hummingbird Cake and I’ve never gotten such an emphatic “You’ve got to make this” which is different than her normally calm demeanor. She was more than spot on with this command. The texture evokes some of what pleases from a double layer, cream cheese frosted carrot cake, but with the yumminess of banana. This is a game changing cake. Moistness, meeting tropical, and being decadently rich from the cream cheese frosting is addictive. A total winner, and huge thanks for sharing this recipe. I followed all weights other than the Pineapple. For that I used volume measure.

  10. This cake is amazing.  Have made it twice.  It deserves more than five stars!

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