Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake Recipe and Smooth Cream Cheese Frosting

Have you ever heard of a hummingbird cake before? Well, it’s making a comeback! It’s a very old classic that was “boss” (very cool, terrific) back in the day. In 1968, the Jamaican tourist board began sending out press releases to the United States including a couple of their local recipes, one of which was the Doctor Bird Cake, later changed to a number of different names in America including “the cake that doesn’t last” and “hummingbird cake” (The Doctor Bird was an actual bird much like the hummingbird.)

While many individuals were already making versions of this cake in the southern United States, in 1978, a Mrs. Wiggins shared it with Southern Living Magazine. That’s when it really became popular.

This is a heavy cake due to the amount of banana and pineapple it contains; however, I’ve added a bit less to lighten the load. Traditionally, it contains more fruit than flour.

For the frosting, instead of using a soft, moist cream cheese frosting, I’ve used one that crusts over. When you make frosting that crusts over, you can smooth it easier, much like professional buttercream frosting. Meanwhile, this gluten free hummingbird cake recipe is just delicious! Enjoy.

Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake Recipe and Smooth Cream Cheese Frosting


Yield: Serves 10 - 12

Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake Recipe and Smooth Cream Cheese Frosting

An old fashion cake turned lighter and gluten free - A gluten free hummingbird cake recipe that will knock your socks off!


  • 2 cups Carla's Self-Rising Gluten Free Cake Flour Blend Recipe
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup neutral flavored cooking oil (I used grape seed oil.)
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 medium-size mashed bananas
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • For the Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, gluten free margarine (Smart Balance) or dairy-free spread (Earth Balance), near room temperature
  • 1 cup butter*, softened
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 lb. (2 8-oz. packs) gluten-free cream cheese, near room temperature (Philadelphia) (Tofutti makes one that is gluten-free and dairy-free.)
  • 1 Tablespoon gluten free clear vanilla extract (McCormick's) or Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder
  • 3 to 3 1/2 lbs. confectioner’s sugar (Trader Joe's organic is corn-free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Chopped walnuts or pecans, for garnish (optional)


    To Make the Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Oil two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper, if you have some. Dust sides with gluten free flour.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour blend, salt and cinnamon; and set aside.
  4. In the large bowl of your mixer, beat the eggs for 1 minute on high speed until foamy on the top.
  5. Add sugar and beat for an additional 1 minute.
  6. Slowly pour in oil, in a stream, while continuing to beat. You'll notice that the mixture will begin to thicken.
  7. Add bananas, pineapple, and vanilla; and mix on low, just long enough to blend.
  8. Add the dry mixture all at once. Mix on medium-low, just until the flour becomes moist. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl at least once.
  9. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the nuts.
  10. Evenly distribute the batter between the prepared pans.
  11. Bake on the center rack of your oven for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Start testing at about 30 minutes.
  12. Place both pans on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes.
  13. Remove the cake from the pans and remove the parchment paper. Allow to cool completely directly on the wire rack bottom sides down.
  14. To Make the Crusting Cream Cheese Icing:
  15. In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream the butter, shortening, cream cheese and extract.
  16. Gradually sift in 3 pounds of confectioner’s sugar and salt, beating on low speed until creamy.
  17. Frost the cake with a a thin layer of icing and refrigerate until set.
  18. Add additional confectioners' sugar to the frosting to thicken to your desired consistency. Frost the outside of the cake; and smooth using a your desired tool. I like to use a dough scraper. Slice and serve; and store leftovers covered. Freeze individually sliced if not serving within one day.
  19. You may add finely chopped walnuts to either the bottom sides or top edges of the cake for garnish. However, do so immediately after frosting so that the nuts adhere to the cake. This frosting dries to a crust.


*Whole Foods carries Mother's Choice butter which has no color added. Using butter without color will result in whiter frosting.

6 Replies to “Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake Recipe and Smooth Cream Cheese Frosting”

    1. Lemorie,

      Sweet rice flour is chewier and stickier than superfine rice flour. Many people use it as a substitute but I’ve tried it and didn’t care for the texture.


  1. This was the BEST gluten free baked item that I’ve ever made. After going to three stores, I couldn’t find a gluten free cake flour. What I did was sifted two cups of King Arthur All Purpose gluten free flour and added 2 tsp of xanthan gum, a tsp of baking powder and a tsp of baking soda. It turned out amazing. Thank you for such a great recipe.

    1. Amy.

      I am glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe. If you click on the link in the words “Carla’s Gluten Free Cake Flour Blend Recipe” it will take you to page where I provide you with a homemade gluten free cake flour blend you can make at home. However, it looks like you’ve created your blend that works well. Congratulations!


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