“I have always wanted to make hummingbird cake but most recipes looked daunting. This cake bar was the perfect size and turned out finger licking good !” ~Sari
Who could resist something called a hummingbird cake? I think it conjures up lazy Southern afternoons, porch swings, and sweet tea. It sounds like something that’s been around since the rebel yell, but in truth, it was a reader’s recipe that debuted in a 1978 issue of Southern Living. The fact that it’s become a household word since then is a testament to how wonderful it is.
The cake is rich with crushed pineapple, ripe bananas, and walnuts. And an insanely delish cream cheese frosting. Mine has a couple of secret ingredients thrown into the mix, but we’ll get to them later.
I’ve been in the mood for Hummingbird cake for a while now but I’m not a big layer cake kind of gal. That’s how you usually see it, sometimes with 3 or 4 layers. These little bars suit me much better, and as a bonus we can take these on the plane with us today. We’re heading out to Massachusetts for Molly’s graduation. I’m full of conflicting emotions, and I’m not a happy flyer, so I’ll need to distract myself on the plane. A crisp new copy of Bon Appetit, my spa socks, and a couple of these luscious bars in tupperware and I’ll feel more relaxed. Maybe we’ll even have an empty seat next to us… I can dream, can’t I?
ingredients for hummingbird cake bars
- all purpose flour
- salt and baking soda
- vegetable oil
- crushed pineapple, don’t drain
- ripe banana
- sweetened shredded coconut
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- cream cheese
- unsalted butter
- confectioner’s sugar
- lemon juice
- vanilla extract
I don’t know what I love most about these little hummingbird cake bars…the moist banana cake, the pineapple…the walnuts. Who am I kidding, I love the frosting best. Nothing beats cream cheese frosting. And what’s nice about these bars is that the frosting and the cake get equal billing. That means that although these bars are small, they pack a wallop. But you’re probably wondering about those secret ingredients…ok, I added coconut, and a little shot of Bourbon. I tinkered with the original 1978 recipe, which you can see here.
more bar desserts to try
- White Chocolate Pecan Cookie Bars
- Toffee Bars
- Blackberry Pecan Bars
- Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Amish Man Bars
- Chewy Toffee Pecan Bars
One Bowl Hummingbird Cake Bars
- 7×11 brownie pan
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp Bourbon
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, don’t drain
- 1 ripe banana, well mashed
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 5 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- squeeze of lemon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Set oven to 350F
- Put the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of a stand mixer and toss to combine. (You can do this by hand, too.) Mix in the egg, oil,and Bourbon.
- Blend in the pineapple, mashed banana, coconut,and nuts. Mix just enough to combine all the ingredients thoroughly.
- Spread the batter in a 71/2 x 11 1/2 greased brownie pan* and bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out without wet batter clinging to it. (Moist crumbs are ok.)
- Cool the cake before frosting.
- To make frosting, mix the butter with the cream cheese and then gradually beat in the sugar until the frosting is a spreadable consistency. Blend in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add more sugar if the frosting is too thin.
- Spread on the cooled cake, and top with more finely chopped walnuts. Store in the refrigerator.
Questions and Reviews
I was comparing the hummingbird cake recipe to the hummingbird cake bars and saw the that bars have coconut in the batter and the cake does not. Why is that?
Just different recipes, different variations. You can definitely add in some coconut to the cake without any problem. I would add sweetened coconut, and not too much. Unsweetened coconut tends to absorb moisture and might upset the balance of the batter.
Thank you for sharing this recipe. I Have always wanted to make hummingbird cake but most recipes looked daunting. This cake bar was the perfect size and turned out finger licking good !
I have never thought about making this into bars!! I make a hummingbird cake for my birthday every year. I have one in 2 weeks and I’m going to try this and give an update. ?
Any replacement if you just don’t have ripe bananas or bananas at all?
Bananas are so unique, you might try leaving them out and adding a little bit more pineapple.
Would this same recipe work with muffins (instead of bars)? Would the baking time change or ingredient quantity change?
I think you could probably bake the batter in a muffin tin, Carol, but I’m not sure how long it would take, I would watch them carefully and when they have risen, check them with a toothpick, on the early side.
I have made cream cheese frosting for years but never put lemon juice in it. Other than flavor is there something it does to the frosting?
It’s just there for flavor, Teresa!
I’ve never made a hummingbird cake but this would be a great way to started! It looks so good. Good luck on your flight!
LOVE hummingbird cake but i’ve never tried to make bars! brilliant and beautiful, sue!
Love recipes with a story, looks and sounds delicious Sue!