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Hummingbird cupcakes are a classic Southern dessert. Filled with fruit and nuts, these party-ready cupcakes will make everyone hum with excitement!
One of the things I’ve realized I love to do as an adult is throw parties. It could be the food blogger in me, but I have a suspicion it has to do with living in Texas the past 12 years.
While not everyone includes Texas in the “South,” Texans are definitely just as proud of their hospitality as any other Southerner. Plenty of food and drink must be available at all times, even if that means you have to run to the store five minutes before the party starts. You also must make sure everyone else eats before you do, even if the food does run out.
One dessert that is popular down here is Hummingbird Cake. This fruit-filled cake originated in Jamaica, but quickly became popular in the South when it was featured in Southern Living magazine.
The cake is almost more like an amped-up banana bread, but I think that’s what makes it so amazing, because I LOVE banana bread. It’s usually a layer cake, but I opted to make Hummingbird Cupcakes for easy serving.
Hummingbird Cupcakes are filled with bananas, crushed pineapple, spices, and pecans — or walnuts if you’re not in the South — and then topped with a cream cheese frosting. Most people say it’s called “hummingbird” because everyone hums in happiness like the tiny bird when they eat it!
I use cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg as the spices in this cake, but feel free to use your favorite baking spices. Some recipes call for ginger instead of cardamom, so it just depends on what you prefer. If you can use fresh grated nutmeg, please do! It’s so much better than the pre-ground jar from the store, and whole nutmegs are actually not too expensive.
I’ve also used applesauce in this cake to replace some of the oil and make it a tiny bit healthier. Since there is already a lot of fruit in the cake, the applesauce blends in perfectly. If you like, you can add shredded coconut to the cake or the frosting, but I like it without.
This recipe makes 1 dozen cupcakes, the perfect amount for using up wayward bananas. You can also easily double the recipe for parties, or if you want to make it into a layer cake instead.
Try these Hummingbird Cupcakes for your next family gathering!
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Pinch grated nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup mashed banana, (about 2 large bananas)
- 4 ounces crushed pineapple, undrained
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
For the frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar, plus more to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake papers.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cardamom, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together applesauce, oil, banana, pineapple, and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Stir in pecans, if using.
- Scoop batter into prepared pan, filling cups about 3/4 full.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan briefly, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the frosting, using a hand mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy, adding more sugar as desired. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with a pecan half, if desired.