Hummingbird Carrot Cake

By 6 m read

Hummingbird Carrot Cake (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Hummingbird carrot cake is like four delicious cakes rolled into one! Just imagine biting into a super-moist and fluffy layer cake with all the best ingredients, topped with a delectably smooth cream cheese frosting, pecans, and candied carrot curls.

 

While most Hummingbird carrot cake recipes have just two ingredients (carrots and bananas OR carrots and coconut), my recipe has four! For the moistest, tastiest cake, my recipe includes carrots, bananas, coconut, and pineapple. 

Hummingbird Carrot Cake (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

What is a Hummingbird Cake?

The original hummingbird cake is a banana-pineapple spice cake with its origins in Jamaica (named after its national bird, the scissor-tailed hummingbird), and is also known as Doctor bird cake. It has also been a popular dessert in the US since the late 1970’s, when a recipe by L.H. Wiggins was featured in Southern Living Magazine.

 

My recipe has a few more main ingredients than the original, with the addition of carrots and coconut.

Hummingbird Carrot Cake (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Hummingbird Cake Ingredients

2 c all-purpose flour, sifted

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1 c olive oil

3 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 c granulated sugar

1/2 c light brown sugar, packed

1-1/2 c ripe bananas, mashed (about 3)

1 c pineapple, pureed (about a 20-oz can, drained)

3 c carrots, shredded

1 c sweetened, shredded coconut flakes

Cream Cheese Frosting

24 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 c confectioners sugar (aka powdered sugar, 10x sugar, or icing sugar)

Hummingbird Cake Decoration

1 c chopped pecans

Candied carrot curls (see recipe below)

Hummingbird Carrot Cake (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Hummingbird Carrot Cake Recipe

Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease and parchment line two round 8” x 2” cake pans.

 

In a bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.

 

Using a stand mixer or electric handheld mixer, blend together olive oil, eggs, and vanilla. Then, add both sugars and mix until smooth.

 

Turn off the mixer and add the bowl of dry ingredients to the wet, all at once. Mix everything together just until combined (don’t overmix, or the cake may become too dense). 

 

Finally, by hand, fold in bananas, pineapple, carrots, and coconut. 

Hummingbird Carrot Cake (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Evenly distribute the batter between two baking pans (or if you only have one pan, like me, bake one at a time). Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

Waiting…patiently waiting and watching…

Hummingbird Carrot Cake (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Let cool on the counter. More patiently waiting…

Hummingbird Carrot Cake (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Using a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla.

 

Then, add confectioners sugar and mix until smooth.

 

Candied Carrot Curls

Using a vegetable peeler, make long, wide strips of carrot.

 

Preheat oven to 225℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

 

Add 1 c water and 1 c granulated sugar to a pot and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature slightly, add carrots, and simmer for 15 minutes. Then, drain carrots from the pot and let cool for about 5 minutes.

 

Next, place carrots on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. 

Hummingbird Carrot Cake (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

While still warm, wrap carrots around the handle of a wooden spoon, then let them cool for about 30 minutes.

Hummingbird Carrot Cake (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Tip: Keep an eye on the carrot curls as they’re cooling. I found that a few of them kept wanting to uncurl a bit, so as they cooled, I would nudge them back into a curled shape.

 

Decorating Hummingbird Carrot Cake

Once the baked cakes have cooled, apply a thick layer of cream cheese frosting on top of one layer, then add the second layer on top, and apply a crumb coat of frosting to the entire outside of the cake. 

 

Note: A crumb coat is a thin layer of frosting applied to a cake, to catch all those little crumbs that would otherwise get mixed up in your main frosting layer.

 

After applying the crumb coat, place the cakes in the fridge for 30 minutes before adding the final layer of frosting.

Hummingbird Carrot Cake (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Finally, add cream cheese frosting over the entire cake and decorate with pecans and candied carrot curls. Enjoy!

Hummingbird Carrot Cake (Photo by Viana Boenzli)
(Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Love desserts? Check out a few more of our delicious recipes now!

 

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Hummingbird Carrot Cake (Photo by Viana Boenzli)

Hummingbird Carrot Cake

Hummingbird carrot cake is like four delicious cakes rolled into one! Just imagine biting into a super-moist and fluffy layer cake with all the best ingredients, topped with a delectably smooth cream cheese frosting, pecans, and candied carrot curls.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Hummingbird Cake

  • 2 c all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c olive oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c light brown sugar, packed
  • 1-1/2 c ripe bananas, mashed (about 3)
  • 1 c pineapple, pureed (about a 20-oz can, drained)
  • 3 c carrots, shredded
  • 1 c sweetened, shredded coconut flakes

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 24 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 c confectioners sugar (aka powdered sugar, 10x sugar, or icing sugar)

Hummingbird Cake Decoration

  • 1 c chopped pecans
  • Candied carrot curls (see recipe below)

Instructions
 

Hummingbird Carrot Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350℉.
  • Grease and parchment line two round 8” x 2” cake pans.
  • In a bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  • Using a stand mixer or electric handheld mixer, blend together olive oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  • Then, add both sugars and mix until smooth.
  • Turn off the mixer and add the bowl of dry ingredients to the wet, all at once. Mix everything together just until combined (don’t overmix, or the cake may become too dense).
  • Finally, by hand, fold in bananas, pineapple, carrots, and coconut. 
  • Evenly distribute the batter between two baking pans.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool on the counter.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Using a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla.
  • Then, add confectioners sugar and mix until smooth.

Candied Carrot Curls

  • Using a vegetable peeler, make long, wide strips of carrot.
  • Preheat oven to 225℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Add 1 c water and 1 c granulated sugar to a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Lower the temperature slightly, add carrots, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Then, drain carrots from the pot and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  • Next, place carrots on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. 
  • While still warm, wrap carrots around the handle of a wooden spoon, then let them cool for about 30 minutes.

Decorating Hummingbird Carrot Cake

  • Once the baked cakes have cooled, apply a thick layer of cream cheese frosting on top of one layer, then add the second layer on top, and apply a crumb coat of frosting to the entire outside of the cake. 
  • After applying the crumb coat, place the cakes in the fridge for 30 minutes before adding the final layer of frosting.
  • Finally, add cream cheese frosting over the entire cake and decorate with pecans and candied carrot curls. Enjoy!

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2 Comments
  • Kalin
    April 24, 2021

    This sounds delicious! I love the trick of the curled carrots — I will be trying that soon!