This incredible gluten-free hummingbird cake recipe is topped with a thick cream cheese frosting. Each decadent layer is filled with pineapple and pecans. It is a delicious cake for any occasion! Nobody will know this cake is gluten-free!

A frosted gluten-free hummingbird cake on a white cake stand.

If you are looking for an extra special cake full of flavor, this gluten free hummingbird cake is the cake to make! This recipe makes a big cake, so I took it to our weekly neighborhood get-together. Our whole cul de sac devoured this delicious layer cake!

If you are new to cake baking, here is a good write-up of my favorite Kitchen Tools For Baking Cakes. I also have lots of Gluten Free Baking Tips to take your cake to the next level.

What Is A Hummingbird Cake?

A hummingbird cake is a southern cake made with crushed pineapple and mashed bananas. It is traditionally topped with a thick cream cheese frosting and topped with pecans.

This hummingbird cake would make an incredible Gluten Free Wedding Cake!

Why this is the best gluten free hummingbird cake recipe:

  1. It has incredible flavors from crushed pineapple and bananas.
  2. This pretty cake would be suitable for any occasion, including a wedding cake. The batter can also be used to make cupcakes or a sheet cake.
  3. The cake itself is dairy-free. To make it 100% dairy-free, use dairy-free butter for the frosting.
  4. My recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients!

One of my very favorite recipes. My non- gluten free friends couldn’t even tell it was gluten-free which the highest compliment in my book. Thank you for such great recipes all the time!”

Kristin H., Facebook comment

Thank you for posting this cake recipe… so I made it! Flashbacks to working in a bakery as a teenager. 😂

Tammy P., Facebook comment

Allergen Information:

This homemade hummingbird cake is gluten-free, dairy-free, oat-free, nut-free, and soy-free.

I created this easy hummingbird cake recipe without almond flour so that it is easy to make nut-free for my readers with multiple food allergies. The cake is dairy-free, and you can easily make a frosting

A mason jar filled with gluten free flour sitting on the counter.

Flour Blends Tested:

  1. King Arthur Measure for Measure—This blend works really well in my cake recipes; in fact, it is my favorite for making gluten-free cakes. I find it isn’t necessary to let the flour blend rest in the batter.
  2. Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Blend—This blend also works well, but this flour blend does benefit from resting the batter for 15 minutes before baking. The rest allows the rice flour in this blend to soften, so you don’t have gritty baked goods.

Ingredient Notes:

For the full list of ingredients and amounts, please go to the recipe card below.

  • Gluten Free Flour Blend – I tested this recipe using the two flour blends listed above. That doesn’t mean others will not work; I just have not tested other flours, and I can not guarantee the recipe will work if you use other mixes. If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  • Milk or Non-Dairy Milk – Either is acceptable. I used almond milk, but another dairy-free kinds of milk will work. I do not recommend canned coconut milk.
  • Cooking oil – I used avocado oil, but any light oil or butter will work.
  • Crushed pineapple – You can use canned or crushed fresh pineapple. Use unsweetened pineapple if you are using canned.
  • Bananas – Use ripe bananas because the recipe is better with a sweet banana flavor.
  • Pecans – Use unsalted toasted pecans. To make this cake nut-free, omit the pecans.

How To Ripen Bananas:

  1. Place your bananas on a baking sheet and bake at 225º F for 20 minutes.
  2. If you are not in a rush, you can place your bananas in a brown paper bag and let them sit on the counter for a few days. (Don’t forget to close the bag!)
  3. You can grill the bananas. Use a knife to slit down the peel. Place the bananas on the grill. Close the lid and cook at 300º F for 15 minutes.

Step-By-Step Photos and Directions:

Photos of the wet and dry ingredients in bowls.

Step 1: Add the gluten free flour blend, white and brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and sea salt to a large mixing bowl. Use a whisk to blend the dry ingredients. If you see any lumps in the brown sugar, break the lumps up.

I recommend using either the spoon or the leveling method to measure your gluten-free flour.

Spoon Method: You can also use a spoon to fill the measuring cup. Use a knife to level along the top to remove the extra flour. Leveling Method: Put the measuring scoop into the flour and fill. Do not pack the flour. Use a knife to scrape along the top to remove the extra flour.

Step 2: In a smaller bowl, add the ripe bananas and mash them with a fork. Next, add the crushed pineapple, eggs, oil, milk or non-dairy milk, and vanilla extract. Mix well.

HINT: If you use a food processor to crush fresh pineapple, make the chunks very small.

Photos of the wet and dry ingredients being blended.

Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add the chopped pecans if you include them.

Step 4: Mix the ingredients until they are just barely mixed. The secret to a fluffy gluten free cake is not to overmix the cake batter!!

📢 Sandi says: Every gluten-free flour blend has a different starch-to-grain ratio. The brand of gluten-free flour you use will affect the moisture of the batter. If your cake batter is too runny, add more flour, and if it is too thick, add more liquids.
Read Why Gluten-Free Flour Blends Vary to learn more about this.

Photos of the cake batter in the cake pans and of the baked cakes in the pans.

Step 5: Add the cake batter to two prepared 9-inch round cake pans. I coated my pans with avocado spray oil. Use a large spoon to spread the batter evenly.

Step 6: Bake the cakes for 30 minutes at 350º F. Baking time will vary depending on the size of your pans.

To test whether the cakes are finished baking, insert a toothpick into the center of each one. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the cakes must be baked longer.

Step 7: Move the cakes in their pans to a cooling rack. After 5 minutes, gently remove the cakes from the pans onto a wire cooling rack.

The frosting on a standing mixer beater.

Step 8: Add the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk to a standing mixer bowl. Start mixing at a low speed and gradually increase the speed as the powdered sugar mixes in.

Whip the frosting for 20 more seconds and turn the mixer off. Do not frost the cake until it is thoroughly cooled.

Using a scraper to scrape frosting from the side of the cake.

Step 9: Decide how you want to frost your cake. I decided to do a naked frosting style, which involves frosting the top of the cake and minimal frosting on the sides. I have a LOT of cake decorating tips in my Gluten-Free Wedding Cake recipe post.

Add a dollop of frosting to your cake stand. Add the bottom layer of the cake. Add frosting to the top of this layer, then place another layer of cake on top of the frosting.

Frost the top of the cake. Add frosting to the side of the cake. I used a frosting smoother to scrape most of the frosting off the sides of the cake, as seen in the photo above.

If you want to decorate further, add the rest of the frosting to a piping bag and pipe on the top of the cake. Top with finely chopped pecans or coconut. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set the frosting.

If you love pineapple in cakes like this, try my Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe.

Two slices of gluten free hummingbird cake on small plates.

I made this for my birthday last week! It was a big hit!!!

Shelly S., Facebook comment

Storage/Freezing Tips:

Store the cake in a cake storage container to protect it. It will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

I recommend slicing the cake and flash-freezing the slices on a sheet pan to freeze this cake. After they are frozen, move them into a freezer-safe storage container or freezer bag.

You can also make this cake ahead and freeze the cake rounds before frosting, then thaw and freeze when needed.

Cake Troubleshooting:

Baking the perfect gluten-free cake can be tricky. The most important parts are choosing the right flour, not overmixing the batter, and ensuring the recipe liquid ratio works for the flour blend you choose.

Why did my gluten-free cake turn out dense or crumbly?

There is nothing more frustrating than having your gluten free cake turn out dense. This can be caused by a few potential issues.

  1. I always tell my readers not to use a stand mixer when they mix cake batter. They tend to overmix your batter, leaving you with a denser cake. Mix the gluten free cake batter only until the ingredients are combined, and avoid overbaking by checking the cake a few minutes before the suggested baking time.
  2. Another reason for a dense cake is that every gluten-free flour blend has a high starch-to-grain ratio. This will greatly affect the cake’s moisture level. If you are using a flour blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust the liquid or flour amount to get the right batter consistency.
  3. The same answer for #2 applies if your cake is crumbly. You may need to add more liquid to your cake batter to compensate for the grain-to-starch ratio of your flour blend.

Why did my gluten-free cake sink in the middle?

  1. I know it is tempting to open the oven door and check on your cake, but opening the door while your cake is baking can cause it to sink in the middle. Cakes need a consistent, steady baking temperature. Opening the oven door lets cooler air into the oven, slowing the baking process.
  2. Always check the expiration date of your baking powder or baking soda before using it. An expired leavener can cause all sorts of issues in baking.
  3. Is the cake underbaked? Know that the cake bakes from the outside in, so if you take it out of the oven too soon, the middle hasn’t had a chance to finish baking. Do the toothpick test to ensure your cake is thoroughly baked. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the cake needs to bake longer.

For more cake troubleshooting help and tips, see my Gluten-Free Cake Troubleshooting Guide.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you substitute the oil for applesauce?

I haven’t tested this substitution. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out.

Does hummingbird cake need to be refrigerated?

Yes, you definitely will need to store this hummingbird cake in the refrigerator to prevent it from going bad.

Can you make this cake into cupcakes?

You can easily bake this gluten free hummingbird cake batter in a cupcake tin!

The top view of the hummingbird cake.

More Gluten Free Cake Recipes:

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. Please include which flour blend you used. This will help others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

Two slices of hummingbird cake on small plates.

Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Sandi Gaertner
A rich decadent gluten free hummingbird cake that has incredible flavor! Make this recipe as a layer cake, sheet cake, or cupcakes.
5 from 22 votes
gluten free allergy icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Gluten Free Cake Recipes, Gluten Free Dessert Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices
Calories 372 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ¾ cups gluten free flour blend * see note
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 eggs large
  • cup oil * see note
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup toasted pecans optional
  • ½ cup almond milk * see note
  • 2 ripe bananas

Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons of milk if needed

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350º F. Be sure the oven rack is set to the middle of the oven.
  • Add the gluten free flour blend, white and brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and sea salt to a large mixing bowl. Use a whisk to blend the dry ingredients together. If you see any lumps in the brown sugar, be sure to break them up.
  • In a smaller bowl add the ripe bananas and mash them with a fork. Next, add the crushed pineapple, eggs, oil, milk or non-dairy milk, and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add the chopped pecans if you are including them.
  • Mix the ingredients until they are just barely mixed. The secret to a fluffy gluten free cake is to not overmix the cake batter!!
  • Add the cake batter to two prepared 9-inch round cake pans. I coated my pans with avocado spray oil. Use a large spoon to spread the cake batter around so it is evenly dispersed.
  • Bake the cakes for 30 minutes at 350º F. Baking time will vary depending on the size of your cake pans.
  • To test to see if the cakes are finished baking, insert a toothpick into the center of the cakes. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the cakes need to bake longer.
  • Move the cakes to a cooling rack. After 5 minutes, remove the cakes gently out of the pans onto a wire cooling rack.
  • Add the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk to a standing mixer bowl. Start mixing at low speed and gradually increase the speed as the powdered sugar mixes in. 
  • Whip the frosting for 20 more seconds and turn the mixer off. Do not frost the cake until it is fully cooled.
  • Frost the cake as you like. I did a naked style of cake where I kept the frosting minimal on the sides.

Notes

  1. I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF. That doesn’t mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours.
  2. Xanthan Gum – If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  3. Use a light oil that doesn’t have a strong flavor. Canola and avocado are both good for cake.
  4. I used almond milk but other dairy-free kinds of milk will work but I do not recommend canned coconut milk.
  5. This cake will keep for up to 4 days in an air-tight container or up to 4 months in the freezer.

SPECIAL NOTE

Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 372kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 5gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 220mgPotassium: 87mgFiber: 4gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 74IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 2mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @FearlessDining or tag #FearlessDining!

Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




32 Comments

  1. Hello! I am assuming that this is for regular 9 inch pans if I wanted to use this to make with two 8“ x 2“ pans would you recommend doubling the recipe?

      1. Sorry I was t specific. I should have asked if your pans are 9*1 9*2 etc…

        To test the recipe I used cupcakes pans. It made 24 and I was also able to use a small size Bundt pan.

        Baking now, will see how it turns out! I’m making this in two weeks for a client but will be using two 8*2 pans. I’m sure it will be plenty. Instead of making the cream cheese icing I will be making a crusted pineapple buttercream.

  2. If I want to make a 9 x 13 cake with this recipe, could I just leave the cake in the pan rather than removing it to cool? It is so much easier to just keep it in the pan for transport and serving at a potluck. I know that some recipes say to always remove a cake to cool.

  3. 5 stars
    I made cupcakes with this recipe. I used Pillsbury GF flour mix fresh pineapple I had on hand with my ripe banana. I did omit the nuts, I didn’t have any. This tasted like a regular cake fluffy and moist. I also made the frosting to top them. Absolutely will be making these again.

  4. Is it imperative to use a non dairy milk such as almond milk? Is there a reason why cows milk could not be used?

  5. 5 stars
    I made this with GF Jules gluten free flour blend, as 24 cupcakes (baked for about 17-18min), and used Vegan cream cheese for the frosting. Delicious! Loved by all (with and without food allergies) at our church gathering.
    When I make it again I will keep the pineapple chunks and pecan pieces a bit larger for more texture variations.
    Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    This gluten free Hummingbird cake is absolutely delicious! I even took a slice to church member and her and her husband loved it and said he could not tell the difference from regular to gluten free. It was so moist and I did use the King Arthur gluten free and canola oil. It was the best gluten free cake I have ever made!

  7. Hi just wondering if anyone has tried Bob mills 1-1 gf flour also if yr not a fan of pineapple does the taste come thru strong if it’s not strong but adds to the mix as moisture & there’s replacement for it maybe will give it a go

    1. Hi Kay, The recipe is brand new so I am not sure if anyone tested that flour blend yet. I would say it should work fine as I often do use that mix too. Also, I do not taste the pineapple. Maybe you could substitute applesauce, but I have not tested with applesauce.

    1. Hi Sobia, I saw you asked this question in a FB group too. Since you are not using my recipes, it is hard to speculate why your cakes dry so quickly. What gluten free flour blend do you typically use? Many blends are starch heavy and do not work well as a 1:1 substitute for wheat flour. I write what flour blends I test in all of my cake recipes so perhaps you may want to try one of my recipes with a recommended flour blend.

  8. Hi Sandi, Hummingbird cake is my fav & since it’s coming near my birthday, I think I’ll treat myself <3 but recipe doesn't say how many bananas, and the icing ingredient amounts are not including. Thank you for making things better for us 😉

    1. Hi Joy, it seems like a few people are having difficulty viewing the recipe card. I responded to your email and sent the recipe that way. Hopefully, my tech support will help figure this out!

  9. Sounds very good. I have a belly and s/b sugar free, so I ask… (and GF)
    Have you considered using granular Swerve sugar?
    How about, have you considered, substituting mayonnaise for the eggs?

    I play with food regularly. You have exciting recipes, and I would like to make them a little less sugary, but still be good.
    I need an occasion to bake your great stuff, b/c if I did each time I saw an exciting recipe I would fat-explode.

    1. Hi Howard, thank you so much for the compliments. I am so glad you are able to use my recipes to experiment with. Swerve and other sugar-like sweeteners upset my stomach so I do not use them. I do know some of my readers are able to use swerve in place of the sugar, but I personally haven’t tested it. If you try it, please let me know how it goes.