One Bowl Hummingbird Cake Bars

Hummingbird Cake Bars

One Bowl Hummingbird Cake Bars ~ these little bars have all the bells and whistles of the classic Southern hummingbird layer cake, but in a snack-able bar form.

One Bowl Hummingbird Cake Bars 2

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 a killer cream cheese frosting. Mine has a couple of secret ingredients thrown into the mix, but we’ll get to them later.

Hummingbird Cake Bars 1

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?

Cream Cheese Frosting

I don’t know what I love most about these…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.

Hummingbird Cake Bars
3.42 from 12 votes

One Bowl Hummingbird Cake Bars

Author Sue Moran


  • 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.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Hummingbird Cake Bars

Speaking of hummingbirds, my sister has had a nest on a spindly bougainvillaea  branch right outside her bedroom window for the past few weeks. She watched the mother build it bit by bit, wiggling her little butt around to form the hollow as she went,  carving out the perfect customized shape. She laid her first egg on Mother’s Day. No kidding. And the second one came soon after, and now the babies are getting too big to fit in the miniscule nest. They have to take turns sitting on the edge. She did some research and found out that mother hummingbirds are so diligent that they sometimes have two nests going at one time, and they shuttle back and forth between them. Eventually the babies get too big for the nest and the biggest one basically falls out and is forced to fly, and that’s his coming of age. The other one gets a few more days of luxury and then, that’s it, he disappears. We’ve both been glued to the window watching the whole thing. My sister has her oldest son going off to college later this summer, and my youngest is graduating. Pretty heavy symbolism, I know.

Hummingbird Cake Bars | The View from Great Island

I’m glad I have these bars to take my mind off it all.

Hummingbird Cake Bars


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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    May 11, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this recipe. 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 !

    • Reply
      July 11, 2020 at 6:06 pm

      5 stars
      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. ?

  • Reply
    November 1, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Any replacement if you just don’t have ripe bananas or bananas at all?

    • Reply
      June 27, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      Bananas are so unique, you might try leaving them out and adding a little bit more pineapple.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    Would this same recipe work with muffins (instead of bars)? Would the baking time change or ingredient quantity change?

    • Reply
      March 16, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    October 18, 2014 at 9:56 am

    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?

    • Reply
      October 18, 2014 at 11:00 am

      It’s just there for flavor, Teresa!

  • Reply
    June 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    LOVE hummingbird cake but i’ve never tried to make bars! brilliant and beautiful, sue!

    • Reply
      June 7, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      Thanks Grace!

  • Reply
    June 5, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Love recipes with a story, looks and sounds delicious Sue!

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