Gluten-Free Hummingbird Cake

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This is the Gluten-Free Hummingbird Cake you have been looking for. Bursting with bananas, fresh pineapple and pecans and lightly spiced with cinnamon. Filled and covered in a gloriously dreamy cream cheese buttercream. Here we make it with your favourite gluten-free flours for maximum flavour and perfect texture.

slice of Hummingbird cake on a plate

There is something incredibly special about The Hummingbird Cake. It feels like an occasion cake, joyous with tropical fruits and spices and indulgent with your favourite cream cheese buttercream. This gluten-free version has bags of personality thanks to a unique blend of sweet rice flour, oat flour and almond flour.

What is Hummingbird Cake?

Hummingbird Cake is a lightly spiced banana cake loaded with fruity pineapple chunks and pecans. It is moist, packed with flavour and traditionally layered with a dreamy cream cheese buttercream.

Although it is best known as a classic Southern American cake the Hummingbird Cake actually originated in Jamaica, hence the tropical vibe, and was named after their national bird.

If you are head over heels for cakes like banana bread and carrot cake then you’ll love the Hummingbird Cake.

Gluten-Free Hummingbird Cake on a wooden place surrounded by dried fruit and nuts

Why is this Gluten-Free Hummingbird Cake so brilliant?

  • The flavour – think bananas, pineapple, pecans, cinnamon, allspice
  • The texture – this cake is a beautifully moist gluten-free cake, no dry or crumbliness here thanks to our unique blend of gluten-free flours.
  • Fresh pineapple really elevates this cake into something special.
  • Cream Cheese Buttercream – truly buttery with the delicious tang of cream cheese and warmth of vanilla.

Gluten-Free Flours

By using alternative flours rather than a supermarket bought gluten-free flour blend we have control over the flavour and texture of the cake which makes for a far superior cake.

  • Sweet rice flour used here for neutral flavour and sticky nature which mimics the binding properties of gluten and gives the cake lovely bounce. If you want to know more about sweet rice flour then see here.
  • Oat flour used here for its toasty flavour and light airy texture which makes the cake fluffy. If you want to know more about oat flour then see here.
  • Almond flour used for its high protein content which helps with the structure of the cake. If you want to know more about almond flour then see here.

Note – If you are intolerant to oats then you can substitute with sorghum flour. It has a slightly grittier texture but that shouldn’t be noticeable in the context of the whole cake.

How do you make Gluten-Free Hummingbird Cake?

  1. Beat mashed bananas with olive oil, sugars, eggs and vanilla extract in large bowl or standing mixer until thoroughly combined.wet ingredients for Hummingbird Cake in a bowl
  2. Whisk sweet rice flour, oat flour and almond flour together in a separate bowl with bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt.dry ingredients for Hummingbird Cake in a bowl
  3. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.two mixing bowls with ingredients for Hummingbird Cake
  4. Stir in 275g of the diced pineapple and pecans until evenly dispersed.Hummingbird Cake batter in a mixing bowl with pineapple and pecans
  5. Divide the batter between the three baking tins and bake for 20-25 minutes.Hummingbird cake batter in cake tins ready for the oven
  6. Remove from tins and cool completely before decorating with buttercreamlayers of hummingbird cake cooling on wire racks

Pro Tips

  • Use ripe bananas – You want the bananas to mash easily so they incorporate well into the sponge batter. Plus they have more flavour and more sweetness.
  • Fresh Pineapple – a lot of recipes I see use tinned pineapple in the cake. This is absolutely fine if that’s all you can get hold of but I find that fresh pineapple really amps up the flavour.
  • Leftover pineapple – this recipe uses about 2/3 of a fresh pineapple. Don’t let it go to waste, use the remainder of the pineapple for decorating. Dice it and place in a very low temperature oven on a parchment lined baking tray for a couple of hours to dry out so it doesn’t seep juice all over the finished cake.

Gluten-free Hummingbird Cake on a wooden plate

Essential Equipment

The Best Cream Cheese Buttercream

This Cream Cheese Buttercream is incredibly quick and easy to make with deep vanilla flavour.

a bowl of cream cheese buttercream

  1. Cream the butter and icing sugar and mix for about 10 minutes until very light and fluffy.
  2. Add the cream cheese, salt and vanilla and mix again until just combined.

Pro Tips

  • Use the cream cheese directly from the freezer as cream cheese becomes too loose if warm and you won’t have much control when covering the cake.
  • Decorate the cake as soon as you have made the buttercream then store the cake in the fridge immediately to avoid the buttercream becoming too floppy.

Should you refrigerate Hummingbird Cake?

Yes, this cake should be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

I normally advocate that cakes should be taken out of the fridge and served at room temperature and there is nothing wrong with doing that here. Except that for some reason I have taken a particular liking for this cake cold from the fridge. Wow, what a treat, especially on a warmer day.

slice of Hummingbird cake on a plate

Are you interested in more cakes like this?

Red Velvet Cake
Carrot Cake
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Lemon Raspberry Cake
Sweet Potato Cinnamon Swirl Cake
Easiest Gluten-Free Banana Bread
Cinnamon Apple Cake with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream
Banana Rum Caramel Cake

If you make Gluten-Free Hummingbird Cake then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

slice of Hummingbird cake on a plate

Gluten-Free Hummingbird Cake

This is the Gluten-Free Hummingbird Cake you have been looking for. Bursting with bananas, fresh pineapple and pecans and lightly spiced with cinnamon. Filled and covered in a gloriously dreamy cream cheese buttercream. Here we make it with your favourite gluten-free flours for maximum flavour and perfect texture.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cake
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 16 people
Calories: 880kcal

Ingredients

  • 300 g bananas about (3-4), mashed
  • 300 ml olive oil mild and light
  • 200 g soft light brown sugar
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs medium
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 120 g sweet rice flour
  • 100 g oat flour
  • 80 g almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 75 g pecans roughly chopped + 25g decoration
  • 1 fresh pineapple diced
  • 25 g dried banana chips for decoration

Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • 525 g unsalted butter
  • 600 g icing sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 375 g cream cheese

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan assisted oven/gas 4 and line and grease three 8 inch x 4 inch round cake tins.
  • Beat the bananas with the olive oil, sugars, eggs and vanilla extract in large bowl or standing mixer until thoroughly combined.
  • Whisk the flours together in a separate bowl with the bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt.
  • Fold the flour into the wet ingredients one third at a time.
  • Stir in 275g of the diced pineapple and pecans until evenly dispersed.
  • Divide the batter between the three baking tins and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • Cream the butter and icing sugar and mix for about 10 minutes until very light and fluffy.
  • Add the salt and vanilla and mix again to combine.
  • Finally add the cream cheese and mix until just combined.

Assembly

  • Place one of the cake layers on a cake board or cake stand.
  • Fill a piping bag with the buttercream. Pipe concentric circles around the top of the cake layer. Use a small spatula to smooth so it creates an even layer of buttercream.
  • Place the second layer of cake on top of the buttercream then add another layer of buttercream.
  • Finally place the third cake layer on top and add a final layer of buttercream.
  • Pipe the rest of the buttercream around the sides of the cake and use a spatula to smooth.
  • Pipe buttercream, using a piping tip of your choice, around the top of the cake.
  • Decorate with dried banana, the extra pineapple (see notes below on how to dry it out) and extra pecans.

Notes

  • Use ripe bananas – you want them to mash well into the batter and ripe bananas have a deeper flavour.
  • Olive oil – make sure you use flavourless mild and light olive oil.
  • Vanilla extract – use extract not essence for the right flavour.
  • Oat flour – you can substitute for sorghum flour if you are intolerant to oats.
  • Almond flour – if you can’t get hold of it you can use finely ground almonds.
  • Pineapple – you can use tinned if you can’t get hold of fresh pineapple.
  • Leftover pineapple – use it to decorate the cake. To avoid the juice seeping over the top dry it out in the oven. Place the diced pineapple on a lined baking tray and baked for a couple of hours in an oven set to 100°C/80°C fan assisted oven/gas ½.
  • Storage – cream cheese buttercream doesn’t keep well out of the fridge so as soon as the cake is decorated then store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze – this cake freezes really well for up to 2 months. If you are freezing leftover cake then I like to cut into slices to freeze.

Nutrition

Calories: 880kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 61g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 384mg | Potassium: 253mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 65g | Vitamin A: 1224IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 1mg
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Georgina, the moment I saw this cake I just knew I had to try it and yesterday I did and it was amazing! I actually made 2/3’s because I only wanted two layers and it worked out perfectly. I added 75g sultanas because I like dried fruit in cakes and it was lovely. I was thinking a but if grated courgette would work well too. I love your recipes, mainly because they taste just like regular cakes. Thanks for sharing your recipes 🙂

  2. Nana Nickie says

    5 stars
    Hello Georgina, I have subscribed to your site for a number of years now, and this is the first time I have felt absolutely compelled to comment. Although most of your recipes have been very well received in our family, this Humming Bird Cake topped everything I have ever made from your collection. I did make the cake exactly as instructed in the recipe this time around, but throughout the process, my mind was niggling at me: “Where’s the grated carrots? What about carrots? In a cake like this, there should be carrots…” , etc. I haven’t tried it with carrots yet, but will let you know what happens when I do make it again, soon. We love your recipes, not because we have to live gluten free, but because your recipes make for a healthy – and very tasty – alternative to regular baking! Thank-you so much! (from Alberta, Canada)

    • That’s so lovely to hear – thank you!! Carrots sound like a lovely addition to this cake – they will add a lot of moisture though so you will need to increase the amount of flour or substitute some of the banana. I’m happy you love this recipe as much as I do!!

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