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!
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!
I created this easy hummingbird cake recipe without coconut and without almond flour so that it is easy to make nut-free for my readers with multiple food allergies. The cake itself is dairy-free, and you can easily make a dairy-free frosting.
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 Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake Is Great:
- It has incredible flavors from crushed pineapple and bananas.
- This is a pretty cake that would do well for any occasion. You can even use the batter and make cupcakes or a sheet cake.
- The cake itself is dairy-free. To make it 100% dairy-free, use dairy-free butter for the frosting.
- My recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients!
- Gluten free flour blend - I tested this recipe using King Arthur's Measure for Measure Gluten Free Blend. 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.
- Xanthan or guar gum - If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add 1 teaspoon. This is important because it acts like glue in the cake to keep it from crumbling.
- Milk or non-dairy milk - Either is acceptable to use. I used almond milk, but other 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:
- Place your bananas on a baking sheet and bake at 225º F for 20 minutes.
- 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 couple of days. (Don't forget to close the bag!)
- 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.
Recipe Step-By-Step Directions:
Step 1: Add the gluten free flour blend, white and brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and sea salt to a large
To measure your gluten free flour, I recommend using either the spoon method or leveling method.
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.
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!!
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 cake batter, so it is evenly dispersed.
Step 6: Bake the cakes for 30 minutes at 350º F. Baking time will vary depending on the size of your 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 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.
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.
Step 9: Decide how you want to frost your cake. I decided to do a naked frosting style which is frosting on top of the cake and minimal frosting on the sides of the cake.
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.
Store the cake in a cake storage container to protect it. It will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To freeze this cake, I recommend slicing the cake and flash-freezing the slices on a sheet pan. Move them into a freezer-safe storage container or freezer bag after they are frozen.
You can also make this cake ahead and freeze the cake rounds before frosting, then thaw and freeze when needed.
Tips and Recipe FAQ:
Don’t open the oven door early. I know it is tempting, but it is important not to crack the oven door until you are ready to check your cakes for doneness or until you see the tops are golden. Opening the doors can cause your cake to cook unevenly and fall in the center.
I haven't tested this substitution. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out.
Yes, you definitely will need to store this humming bird cake in the refrigerator to prevent it from going bad.
You can easily bake this gluten free hummingbird cake batter in a cupcake tin!
I also have a great Gluten Free Cake Troubleshooting Guide to help further.
More Gluten Free Cake Recipes:
- Decadent Gluten Free Chocolate Pound Cake
- Homemade Gluten Free Sponge Cake (It is perfect for Gluten Free Tiramisu!)
- Gluten Free Honey Cake
- This Gluten Free Carrot Cake makes an incredible birthday cake.
Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting
- 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
- ⅔ 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
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons of milk if needed
- 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.
- 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.
- Xanthan Gum - If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
- Use a light oil that doesn't have a strong flavor. Canola and avocado are both good for cake.
- I used almond milk but other dairy-free kinds of milk will work but I do not recommend canned coconut milk.
- This cake will keep for up to 4 days in an air-tight container or up to 4 months in the freezer.
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.
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.
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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.
Hi Mary, I assume that would be okay. I haven't done that with this cake.
Very moist and delicious! I did add some extra cinnamon and all spice. I will make it again! Thanks
I am so glad you loved the cake. Thank you!
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.
I love that you used that flour blend. I have just found it and have been experimenting with it. Have a wonderful holiday!
Do we drain the crushed pineapple?
Or add the whole can... Juice and pineapple?
Hi Sue, I dod drain my pineapple as much as I can.
My whole family lived this recipe! Simple but so delicious.
I am so glad, Shelly! This cake is the one my neighbors keep asking me to make for the next get together.