I’m never entirely sure why these are called hummingbird cakes. I assume it’s because of the tropical banana and pineapple, but I generally just say it’s because the hummingbird is an exotic bird and so am I. This is definitely one of the favourite cupcake recipes in my repertoire- quite light and moist, crammed with flavour and keeps well for several days. And the frosting. Nom.

This recipe will make about 16 cupcakes.

Elephant sprinkles


  •  1 egg
  • 1 yolk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted (but not hot) butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup soured cream (I subbed Greek yoghurt)
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp baking soda
  • 1/4tsp salt (you can omit this if you use salted butter)
  • 3/4tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple (in pineapple juice)
  • 1/2 cup (or more) chopped pecans

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (about 125g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 6oz full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups icing sugar. Make sure you have extra icing sugar just in case.


  1. Line a muffin tin with paper cases and preheat oven to 180C (160 fan).
  2. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the egg, yolk and sugar until thickened and lightened to a pale cream colour. This will take about 2 mins.
  3. Add the butter and vanilla and mix until blended.
  4. Mix in the soured cream until there are no more white streaks.
  5. Sift in the dry ingredients, being careful to distribute the baking powder and soda evenly. You can sift them into a separate bowl first, but this makes additional washing-up.
  6. Stir the cinnamon, banana, pineapple and pecans.
  7. Fill the liners to about 1cm below the top.
  8. Bake for around 20-25mins, until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 mins, then cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. For the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla with your hand mixer until smooth, about 1min.
  10. Add the sugar and mix for about 1min until thoroughly incorporated, then for another minute to lighten it a bit further. Colour if desired.Mixing frosting
  11. Whack into a piping back, fitted with a star tip. The bigger the star, the more awesome the swirls will look. I use a Wilton 1M tip. Oh yes.Lots frosted
  12. Add sprinkles if you’re feeling twee, or in denial about no longer being in your early twenties.
  13. Several finished