Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Matthew and I head into Manhattan for meetups in the evening quite often. Sometimes, we like to stop for a treat before heading home. About 2 weeks ago we were passing by Magnolia bakery and decided to stop in. I chose the peanut butter cupcake with jelly filling and Matthew chose the hummingbird cupcake. While the PB&J cupcake was good it was the hummingbird cupcake we couldn't stop talking about. It was so yummy with a great cream cheese frosting.

So what is hummingbird cake? It seems the origin of the name has many theories of explanation. One theory I do enjoy is that with each bite this cake will make you "hum" with delight! I would describe this cake as a tropical banana bread, with pecans, and cream cheese frosting. I wanted to add a bit of my own flair so I made a brown sugar cream cheese frosting to top it off.

Ingredients: (yields 24 cupcakes)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups banana mashed
  • 1 (8oz) can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1/2 cup pecans chopped medium fine + more for topping (finely chopped and whole)

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and lined my muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl I whisked together 3 cups of flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of salt. I set that aside.

In a mixer bowl, I added 2 cups of sugar and 1 1/4 cups of vegetable oil. I mixed that together until combined.

Then I mixed in 3 eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.

Then I added 2 cups of mashed banana and one entire 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple. I mixed that until incorporated.

I added the dry ingredients in three equal parts and I made sure to scrape down the bowl after each addition.

Lastly, I folded in 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.

Then I placed my batter into my muffin tins and baked them for about 20 minutes making sure to rotate half way through. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. After the short trip through the oven, I let them cool on a cooling rack.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter softened and cubed
  • 1 8oz cream cheese softened and cubed
  • 3 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar
  • 4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping, I wanted to make something slightly different, but this is a pretty standard cream cheese frosting. I mixed together 2 sticks of unsalted butter and 8 ounces of cream cheese until nice and smooth. I added 4 teaspoons of dark brown sugar mixing until incorporated. Then I added in 3 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar and beat until smooth and no lumps remained. Lastly I added in 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract and mixed that one final time.

I topped the cooled cupcakes with some frosting and some finely chopped pecans. I added some whole pecans on top for added decoration.

At first bite, Matthew and I knew that we had hit a home run with this cupcake. It is pleasantly sweet and has great banana flavor, without being overpowering. The pineapple adds a tropical refreshing twist while the pecans add great flavor and texture. Of course, whats not to love about cream cheese frosting topping the whole show.


  1. Hi Ashley! Your cupcakes look divine and the cream cheese frosting looks just perfect! I always have problems with cream cheese whipping...i don't know why, but it just tends to separate. How long do you whip cream cheese?

    1. Hello Malvecka,

      Thank you for the kind words!

      I whip the cream cheese and butter for 3-4 minutes and no lumps remain. I add my sugar and vanilla and mix for another 3-4 minutes and no lumps remain. Once everything is added and incorporated I mix for another 3-4 minutes to make it nice and smooth.

      Some tips...
      - Make sure the butter and cream cheese is soft and cut into cubes.
      - Make sure to scrape down your bowl often to ensure everything is being incorporated.
      - The temperature of the room can affect the frosting. If it is warm the frosting can become more loose, you can add more sugar to offset.

      Let me know how it turns out!

    2. Thanks a bunch Ashley!!.....I'll definitely try it with your tips this time!! Happy to subscribe to you....waiting for your next great post!!

  2. I have never had these flavors together, banana and pineapple, in a cupcake. These look great. I think you might need a taste tester over there, are you hiring??

    1. Thanks Shelby! This combo of flavors works really well :)