hummingbird cake cut into nine slices

Gluten-Free Hummingbird Cake (Snack Size!)

A gorgeous snack-size Hummingbird Cake that’s perfect for Easter or an after school treat! Gluten-free and easily dairy-free.

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Get ready for this Gluten-Free Hummingbird Cake to rock your world. It’s a cute mini sheet cake dream that’s perfect as a holiday dessert or after school treat. Made with a unique blend of banana, pineapple, and cinnamon and topped with luscious cream cheese frosting, you won’t be able to stop eating it!

overhead shot of cake slices to show texture

Hummingbird Cake Origins

This delectable cake originated in Jamaica and is so-named because the Scissors-Tail Hummingbird is their national bird. The recipe was “exported” to the United States via their Tourism Board in the 1960s as a way to increase interest in visiting the island. Southern Living magazine published the recipe in 1978 (thanks to a reader from my hometown of Greensboro, NC!). It’s Southern Living‘s most requested cake recipe to date, and it’s most associated with the American south these days. For even more background on this amazing little cake, check out this article.

hummingbird cake slice on a plate

Key Ingredients

Banana: As ripe as possible, please! Ideally they will be brown and spotty.

Pineapple: You certainly could use canned pineapple if that’s easiest, but I love using fresh pineapple here.

Neutral Oil: Any neutral-tasting oil works! Vegetable, canola, avocado, or refined coconut oil are all great. If you use refined coconut oil, be sure to melt and cool slightly before using.

Maple Syrup and Powdered Sugar: We’ve combined my fave refined sugar-free sweetener and powdered sugar in this recipe because #balance. We’ll use the maple syrup in the cake itself and the powdered sugar will go in that incredible cream cheese frosting.

Eggs: For structure and binding!

Oat and Almond Flour: I mean, are you surprised? This is the best gluten-free flour combo ever, in my opinion. It creates such tender baked goods.

Nuts: Either pecans or walnuts work!

Cinnamon: A small but crucial component that makes this a true Hummingbird Cake!

Butter and Cream Cheese: For that beautiful frosting! You can use vegan butter and cream cheese to keep things dairy-free.

overhead shot of hummingbird cake before icing
cake being iced with cream cheese frosting
cake being sliced

Hummingbird Cake Keys to Success

  • Measuring the Flour: Spoon your oat flour into a measuring cup and level it with a knife to avoid a crumbly, dry cake. On the other hand, you want to pack your almond flour.
  • Don’t Overmix! You’ll be mixing the cake batter by hand, which will minimize this risk. Overmixing can lead to a gummy and/or oily cake. Hard pass.
  • Sift the Powdered Sugar: While it’s a bit of extra work, it creates such a smooth cream cheese frosting and removes any lumps. So worth it. I use a cheap mesh strainer from Ikea similar to this one.
  • Offset Spatula: This is certainly optional, but an offset spatula for frosting will make your cake prettier.

I hope this Hummingbird Cake changes your life! If you give it a try, be sure to leave a rating and review. This encourages others to give it a try and makes my day. Also look out for me on Pinterest and Instagram!

hummingbird cake slices on parchment paper

More Amazing Spring Baked Goods

hummingbird cake cut into 9 slices
overhead shot of cake slices to show texture

Gluten-Free Hummingbird Cake

A gorgeous snack-size Hummingbird Cake that's perfect for Easter or an after school treat! Gluten-free and easily dairy-free.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Jamaican
Servings 9

Equipment

  • 8-inch metal pan
  • Hand or Stand Mixer
  • mesh strainer (optional)
  • offset spatula (optional)

Ingredients
  

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup mashed banana (about 2 large very ripe and spotty bananas)
  • ¼ cup neutral oil (such as vegetable oil, canola oil, avocado oil, or refined coconut oil; if using refined coconut oil, melt and cool slightly before using)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon (plus more for topping if desired)

Mix-Ins

  • ½ cup finely chopped pineapple
  • ½ cuo chopped raw pecans or walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese (half an 8-ounce block) softened
  • ¼ cup butter (half a stick) softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted if possible)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350° F and line an 8×8 metal cake pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease to ensure nothing sticks.
  • Mix together all wet ingredients in a large bowl until well-combined using a wooden spoon. Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined (don't overmix). Add mix-ins and stir once more.
  • Pour batter evenly into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a tester or toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  • Once your cute little hummingbird cake has cooled, make your cream cheese frosting! Use your hand or stand mixer (use the flat paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) to beat together the cream cheese and butter until well-combined. Add in powdered sugar, vanilla, and pinch of salt and beat on medium-high until well-combined. (psst, it's a little extra work, but I sift my powdered sugar first to remove any lumps! It makes such a huge difference.)
  • Spread cream cheese frosting evenly over the top of the cake using an offset spatula and sprinkle with more cinnamon if desired. Cut into nine slices and enjoy!

Notes

Storage: Keep cake refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
To make dairy-free: Use vegan cream cheese and butter to make the frosting!
Keyword dairy-free, easter dessert, easter recipes, gluten free, gluten free cake, hummingbird cake, vegetarian

Photography by Hope Agresti

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