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How to Make Delicious Hummingbird Mini-Cakes

If you have grown up in the South, then you may be familiar with Hummingbird Cake. If you have never had a piece of Hummingbird Cake, then you have missed one of the best American cakes ever. So you can enjoy this cake, I’m here to show you how to make this Southern favorite in a smaller version – delicious Hummingbird Mini-cakes.

Southerners are known for their cakes. It’s a family tradition. We like to have a variety of cakes in our recipe boxes – yes, those still exist – for parties and special events.

I’m one of those who like to shake things up a bit when it comes to recipes. Just because a recipe says cake doesn’t mean that it can’t become a cupcake or a mini-cake.

Depending on the type of event you are hosting – a buffet or cocktail party rather than a sit-down meal – a small bite of a delicious sweet may be a better option than a big slice of cake.

I’m a fan of any dessert with “mini” at the front of the name. With a few adjustments, you can transform a big cake to mini-cakes.

Follow along as I share this scrumptious hummingbird cake that became a hummingbird mini-cake.

hummingbird cake on plate with fork

Since 1978 when a reader first contributed the recipe, it has been the number one requested cake recipe at Southern Living magazine. My first mother-in-law, who was a fantastic cook and homemaker, introduced me to this iconic cake.

I made it often for many years, but then as sometimes happens, sort of forgot about it. If you would like to read more about the history of Hummingbird Cake and its evolution, check out this article.

How to Make Delicious Hummingbird Mini~Cakes. This version of the traditional Hummingbird Cake is a smaller serving size, but still just as moist and delicious as the original. Try this Southern favorite for you next party.

source: Southern Living

Years ago for a cooking class, whose theme was traditional Southern recipes, I knew I wanted to make a Hummingbird Cake, but with a little twist. Rather than a traditional 3 -layer cake (and because I love anything with “mini” in front of it), I wanted to try a smaller, individual portion, so the delicious Hummingbird Mini-Cakes were born.

Hummingbird Mini-Cakes: a Southern Classic

What makes Hummingbird Cake so moist are three of its ingredients:

  • vegetable oil instead of butter
  • crushed pineapples and juice and
  • mashed bananas

Add chopped toasted pecans and you have a moist, but slightly dense cake. The cream cheese frosting just adds more flavor and creaminess to the cake.

Ironically, after I read about the Hummingbird Cake in my issue of Southern Living and decided to make it again, I was cleaning out files in my office and found a recipe for Hummingbird mini cakes, using half the original recipe.

This recipe yielded 48 mini-cakes. I didn’t want 48 mini-minis, but 12 larger minis would be just right. And as it turns out, this recipe makes exactly 12 cakes baked in a standard muffin tin.

To make them look like mini-cakes, I lined the tin with cupcake liners but then peeled the liners off. I didn’t want cupcakes, just small cakes.

They were as delicious as I remembered. I also remembered that my mother-in-law made her cake in a rectangular baking pan and spread the icing on top without any decorative swirls. If you want to make the original 3-layer cake or a 1-layer rectangle cake, just double the ingredients.

Preparing the Hummingbird Mini-Cakes

As usual, start with your mise place.

Here are some important items to make note of.

NOTE 1: DO NOT drain the crushed pineapple. That extra juice contributes to the moistness of the cake.

NOTE 2: Your banana should be ripe, but not to the point of turning brown. You should be able to easily mash it with a fork.

NOTE 3: Toast your pecans in a small skillet over low heat. DO NOT add any oil. Watch closely so they don’t burn. When you start to smell the aroma of the nuts, remove them from the pan to a small bowl until ready to add them to the batter.

NOTE 4: For the Cream Cheese Frosting, be sure that your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature for easy blending.

I highly recommend this cinnamon from King Arthur for superior flavor.

jar of cinnamon

Making the Hummingbird Cake Batter

The Hummingbird Mini-Cakes do not require an electric mixer.

First, whisk your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

whisking dry ingredients

Then add the eggs and the oil.

NOTE: Because I’m halving the recipe, it calls for 1 1/2 large eggs. To do that, break one egg into a small glass bowl and whisk it to blend. Remove 1/2 of the egg mixture and discard. Then break another egg into the 1/2 remaining egg. (I borrowed this image from another recipe.)

eggs in flour mixture

Blend the batter until smooth.

frosting in mixer

Then stir in the vanilla, pineapple, bananas, and chopped toasted pecans.

Be sure to fill the cupcake liners only 2/3 full. You might have a little bit of batter left over, but don’t be tempted to overfill your liners.

TIP: I like to use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin tins. You’ll get a more accurate amount in each cup.

Bake for about 14 minutes – after several batches at 10, 12, 14, and 16 minutes, I found that 12 -14 minutes was the sweet spot. Every oven is different, so check starting at 12 minutes.

TIP: Use a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cakes to test doneness. It’s O.K. if there are a few “crumbs” on the skewer.

After cooling on a rack, remove the mini-cakes from the muffin tin and allow to cool completely on the rack, about 30 miutes. At that point, I peeled off the liners.

hummingbird mini-cakes in nuffin tin

Making the Frosting

This is a traditional cream cheese frosting. The cream cheese and butter should be softened. Set them out on the counter at least a couple of hours before making the frosting.

I also recommend sifting your powdered sugar before using. That way you can ensure that you won’t have any lumps.

Beat the cream cheese and butter in your electric mixer until smooth. Then add the sifted powdered sugar.

Either spread the frosting on with a spatula or place it in a piping bag. I use a star tip to decorate the mini-cakes. I garnished mine with a bit of mint from our herb garden.

TIP: Place the piping bag in a tall glass before filling it with frosting.

piping bag in a glass with frosting

hummingbird cake on plate with fork

I love the size of these delicious Hummingbird Mini-Cakes. Just enough – 4 bites – to savor the natural sweetness of the pineapple, the creaminess of the banana, and the crunchiness of the pecans. It’s a win-win in cake heaven.

hummingbird cake on plate with fork
How to Make Delicious Hummingbird Mini~Cakes. This version of the traditional Hummingbird Cake is a smaller serving size, but still just as moist and delicious as the original. Try this Southern favorite for you next party.

Hummingbird Mini-Cakes

adapted from Southern Living
Delicious Southern classic cake that is moist and slightly sweet and fruity with the flavor of pineapple and banana.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 mini-cakes



Cake Batter

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ eggs* lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces (½ can) crushed pineapple in juice undrained
  • 1 cup chopped bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • ½ cup small chopped pecans toasted

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 16 ounces powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • mint leaves garnish


Making Mini-Cakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  • Add the eggs and oil, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract, pineapple, bananas, and chopped toasted pecans until thoroughly combined.
  • Place the cupcake liners in the muffin tin.
  • Fill each muffin cup ⅔ full with batter.
  • Place the muffin tin in the preheated oven. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes or until a wood pick inserted in the center of the mini-cakes comes out clean.
  • Cool the cakes on a cooking rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the muffin tin.
  • Remove the cupcake liners from the mini-cakes. Allow to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Make the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Beat the softened cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating at low speed after each addition until blended and smooth.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract and increase the speed to medium-high. Beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Frosting the Mini-Cakes

  • Place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a star tip.
  • Pipe the frosting on the mini-cakes.
  • Garnish the mini-cakes with a couple of mint leaves.
Keyword hummingbird cake, hummingbird mini-cakes, Southern cake, Southern dessert
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

What equipment do you need? Check out this list of baking supplies.

Kitchen tools for Baking

Here are some more favorite dessert ideas.

I hope you’ll PIN this awesome Hummingbird Mini-Cakes Recipe to your favorite Pinterest Boards. For more yummy sweets, check out these Pinterest Boards: Easter and Spring Desserts and Delicious Dessert Recipes.

Enjoy and share this dessert with friends.

PIn graphic for now for later
hummingbird mini-cakes

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  1. Oh my heavens. My mouth is watering. These mini cakes look delicious Carol. They are perfect for Easter too. Thanks for sharing your delicious recipe.

  2. I love hummingbird cakes! These minis look delightful…a perfect springtime recipe for Easter! Stopping by from FPT! ^_^

  3. Those sure do look yummy! I have never tried hummingbird cake so I made sure to pin this so we can give it a try.

  4. Hummingbird Cake is one of my favorites! This has to be amazing. I appreciate mini’s for the built in portion control. 😉