Easy Hummingbird Cake with Cake Mix and Cream Cheese Frosting

This moist hummingbird cake is quick and easy because it starts with a cake mix plus added banana and pineapple then covered in a rich cream cheese frosting.

The best thing about this cake is that you can get a hummingbird cake that tastes like you made it from scratch, but it’s so much quicker using a box mix as the base.

Hey there! Before you scroll, there are lots of helpful things in this post…including an FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!

Table of Contents:

Starting with a cake mix just means the results will be predictable and you’ll get a great-tasting homemade hummingbird cake every single time.

It definitely won’t be apparent that you started with a cake mix.

Hummingbird cake slice on a plate with text for a pin image.

Ingredient Notes:

Now let’s talk about just some of the ingredients that are in this pineapple banana cake. (The printable list of all ingredients is in the recipe card below.)

Yellow cake mix: This is the base for this cake. You’ll be adding in other ingredients, but this will be the base to build off of and it will make things go super quick and easy. You could probably use any 15-ounce cake mix, but I used Betty Crocker’s yellow cake mix.

Flour, baking powder, sugar and salt: These ingredients will help extend the cake mix and help to make a little more cake batter, which will fill the pans a bit more and make for thicker cake layers. It will also help give it that from-scratch taste.

Cinnamon & vanilla extract: Cinnamon is the perfect spice to add to a banana and pineapple cake. It’s just enough to bring out the flavors, but subtle and not overpowering at all. Vanilla extract goes hand-in-hand when baking because it lends a nice taste and helps bring out the other flavors.

Oil and butter: These two ingredients will give a lot of moisture to the cake and the butter will give it a touch of butter flavor. If you want a strong butter flavor, just add a teaspoon of butter extract.

Bananas & Pineapple: It just wouldn’t be a hummingbird cake without bananas and pineapple. They make a great combination. Make sure to use very ripe bananas as they’ll have the strongest flavor.

Close up of moist hummingbird cake on a white plate.

How to Make this Cake:

Let’s talk about how to make a hummingbird cake. (The printable instructions are in the recipe card below.)

Step 1:

First, you’ll want to make the cake. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease and flour two, 8-inch round cake pans.

Make sure that the pans you are using are at least 2 inches deep (that’s a standard pan) as this cake will rise up when baking.

Two round cake pans that are greased and floured.

Step 2:

Add all of the cake ingredients, except for the chopped nuts, to a large mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer on medium speed for about one minute.

Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix again on medium for about 30 more seconds.

Mixed cake batter in a glass bowl.

Step 3:

Add the chopped nuts (which are optional), and keep a handful to crush for garnishing the cake. Fold the chopped nuts into the cake batter with a large spoon or silicone spatula.

Nuts added to pineapple banana cake batter in a bowl.

Step 4:

Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake at 325 degrees F for approximately 40-45 minutes. This cake will rise up quite a bit when baking, so if you’re worried about overflow, just add a cookie sheet on the rack below the cake pans.

This cake is fully baked when a toothpick inserted into the middle of each layer comes out with a few moist crumbs on it or clean.

Hummingbird cake batter poured into two round cake pans.

Step 5:

Once baked, set the cake layers onto a rack to cool for about 10 minutes.

Two round baked hummingbird cake layers.

Step 6:

Next, turn them out of the pans and set the cake layers directly onto the racks to cool completely before adding frosting.

Two round cake layers baked and cooling on a rack.

Step 7:

Now make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, add the room temperature butter and the cream cheese and mix well with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture is smooth.

Butter and cream cheese mixed together in a bowl.

Step 8:

Add the salt, lemon juice and three cups of confectioner’s sugar, and then mix on medium speed until well combined and smooth.

Butter and cream cheese mixed with confectioners sugar in a bowl.

Step 9:

Now add in the last three cups of confectioner’s sugar and mix on medium speed until smooth. Once it’s mixed well, check the consistency. If it’s too thin, add in another cup of confectioners sugar.

Once the desired consistency has been reached, mix on medium-high for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy.

Fluffy cream cheese buttercream in a white bowl.

Step 10:

Add the frosting to the cooled cake. Make sure that the cake has cooled completely throughout or the heat will travel up and the frosting will become thin and runny.

Once frosted, feel free to sprinkle crushed or chopped pecans or walnuts over the cake for garnish.

Fully baked and decorated hummingbird cake on a white platter.

Tips & FAQs:

What is hummingbird cake?

Hummingbird cake is a cake made with bananas and pineapple that was invented in Jamaica and became popular in the southern United States.

What type of cake mix, should I use?

This recipe calls for a yellow cake mix. Any type will probably do, but make sure to use a mix that’s about 15 ounces. I’ve had good luck with Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines cake mixes.

Can I use a vanilla or a white cake mix instead?

Yes, you probably could although it may taste slightly different than if you’d used a yellow cake mix.

Should I add the ingredients listed on the back of the cake mix box?

No, just add the cake mix dry and add in the other ingredients called for in the recipe card, but not the back of the cake mix box.

Why add flour and sugar and other ingredients?

The added ingredients will help this cake taste homemade like it’s made from scratch and not a mix. It will also extend the cake mix to make for thicker cake layers.

Tip for measuring the flour:

Make sure not to pack the flour down into the measuring cup. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level off the top. Scooping the flour will end up adding too much, which will make the cake dry.

What type of butter should I use?

Use real butter and preferably not margarine. Butter just works better and has a better taste. For the cake, you can use either salted or unsalted. There’s a small amount, so either will work. For the frosting, use unsalted.

My bananas aren’t very ripe and are a little green. Can I still use them?

You can, but the flavor just won’t be as strong. Very ripe bananas work better and have better flavor. You can set the green bananas into a paper sack, close the sack and let them sit like that for a few days and it helps to ripen them faster.

Do I have to add the bananas?

Well, you don’t have to, but then you won’t get a hummingbird cake. It would just be a cake with pineapple in it, which is fine if that’s what you’re going for.

Do I need to use fresh pineapple or canned?

Canned crushed pineapple works well, but if you prefer fresh pineapple, you can use that, but it needs to be fairly crushed up so there aren’t chunks in the cake batter.

Do I have to add the pineapple?

You can omit the pineapple, but just know you won’t get an actual hummingbird cake. It would just be a banana cake.

Can I omit the nuts?

Yes.

How can I tell when this cake is done baking?

This cake is fully baked when a toothpick inserted into the middle of each layer comes out with a few moist crumbs on it or clean.

Tip for the cream cheese:

When making the frosting, make sure to let the cream cheese come to room temperature before trying to mix the buttercream frosting.

Do I have to make the homemade frosting? Is there an easier option?

There is an easier option if you don’t want to make homemade frosting. You can use two cans of premade cream cheese icing to layer and cover the cake.

Can this cake be frozen?

This cake can be made ahead of time and frozen if desired. Let the baked cake layers cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and foil and place in the freezer for up to a month.
To thaw, place the wrapped cake layers on the counter at room temperature and let thaw completely, then remove the wrapping. Once defrosted, add frosting.

How do I store this cake and how long does it last? Does hummingbird cake need to be refrigerated?

Because this cake is covered in cream cheese buttercream, it will need to be kept in the refrigerator, well covered, and will last for 5-6 days.

What’s the best way to serve/eat this cake?

This cake is best served at room temperature, so set it out for about 20-30 minutes before serving.

Can this cake be made into cupcakes?

I have not tested this recipe out as cupcakes, but it should work just fine. Fill 2 cupcake pans (24 cupcakes) with cupcake liners and fill with batter about 2/3 of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees F and start checking for doneness at around 20-25 minutes.

Can I bake this cake in a 9×13 inch pan?

I have not tested that out, but it should be just fine. You shouldn’t need to make any changes regarding temperature and baking time although I would start checking for doneness about 10 minutes earlier just to be safe.

Can I make this cake into a bundt cake?

Oh, I’m sure that would be just fine. I haven’t personally tested this recipe out baked in a bundt pan, but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work. Don’t adjust the ingredients or the temperature, but you may end up baking it for longer since it’s baking in a deeper pan.

What other fillings go well with this cake?

This cake would be great with a lemon curd filling.

Large slice of moist pineapple banana cake with a fork on a plate.

Supplies used for this recipe:

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Video:

Large slice of pineapple banana cake laying on a white plate.

Easy Hummingbird Cake with Cake Mix and Cream Cheese Frosting

This moist hummingbird cake is quick and easy because it starts with a cake mix plus added banana and pineapple then covered in a rich cream cheese frosting.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: hummingbird cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 740kcal
Author: Kara @ Quick and Easy Baking

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 (15 ounce) box yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker yellow cake mix)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (1/2 stick)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 medium-sized very ripe bananas, mashed (about a heaping cupful)
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

For the frosting: (See notes for an even easier frosting option.)

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature (3 sticks)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 6 cups confectioner's sugar

Instructions

For the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour two, 8 inch round cake pans. Make sure that the pans are at least 2 inches deep as this cake will rise up when baking.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add all of the cake ingredients, except for the chopped nuts. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed for about one minute.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again on medium for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the chopped nuts, reserving a few to crush for garnish, and fold in with a large spoon or silicone spatula.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake at 325 degrees F for approximately 40-45 minutes. This cake will rise up quite a bit when baking. If you're worried about overflow, just add a cookie sheet on the rack below the cake pans.
  • This cake is fully baked when a toothpick inserted into the middle of each layer comes out with a few moist crumbs on it or clean.
  • Set onto a rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then turn cake layers out of pans and set directly onto racks to cool completely before adding frosting.

For the frosting: (See notes for an even easier frosting option.)

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the room temperature butter and cream cheese and mix well with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  • Add the salt, lemon juice and three cups of confectioner's sugar. Mix on medium speed until well combined and smooth.
  • Add in the last three cups of confectioner's sugar and mix on medium speed until smooth.
  • Check the consistency. If it’s too thin, add in another cup of confectioners sugar. Once the desired consistency has been reached, mix on medium-high for a couple minutes until light and fluffly.
  • Add frosting to cooled cake.

Notes

*For an even easier frosting option, you can cover the cake with two cans of pre-made cream cheese frosting.
Because this cake is covered in cream cheese buttercream, it will need to be kept in the refrigerator, well covered, and will last for 5-6 days. This cake is best served at room temperature, so set it out for about 20-30 minutes before serving.
Nutritional values are an estimate.
Make sure to check out the TIPS & FAQs for this recipe in the blog post, which may answer any questions you may have about freezing it, using substitutions and more.
This recipe card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 740kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 274mg | Potassium: 211mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 77g | Vitamin A: 990IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg
DislaimersTo see food safety, allergy & nutrition disclaimers, go here: Disclaimers!

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Collage of hummingbird cake with text overlay for pin image.

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