Honey Whole Wheat Hummingbird Cake: Last-Minute Entertaining {Eat Well, Spend Less}

Classic hummingbird cake made with whole wheat flour and sweetened with honey is a quick and easy dessert to whip up for last-minute entertaining this summer.
Honey Whole Wheat Hummingbird Cake Recipe via FoodforMyFamily.com

Friday started out slowly with sunshine streaming in through the curtains. Morning light has this effervescent quality and slight bluish undertones that can make everything seem peaceful. It rests on surfaces, illuminates the glassware as you set out the breakfast dishes. Butter and eggs sizzle softer in the early a.m. hours.

Before long, however, the calm turned into a storm in the harsh midday shadows.

Quarrels and crying dotted the day and the sun carried the news that we’d be hosting my in-laws in a matter of hours. Looking around at broken down children, a week’s worth of dirt and piles on every surface I would like to just snap my fingers and have it all taken care of. Instead, we baked a cake.

The beauty of the hummingbird cake is that it really is of the dump and stir variety. A cake you can make in under an hour, and simplify serving by placing it in jars.
Honey Whole Wheat Hummingbird Cake Recipe via FoodforMyFamily.com
Fillmore Container has started carrying Desserts in Jars. With their selection of mason jars, you definitely won’t have trouble finding what it is you need for your summer canning project, your dessert collection, or even for your wedding. My sister bought a few cases recently for hers from Fillmore Container. To celebrate the arrival of my book to their store, I’m giving away a signed copy of my book plus a case of Ball 4-ounce quilted jars for your next round of last-minute entertaining.

Simply leave a comment on this post to be entered to win!

Fine Print: This giveaway runs until Tuesday, May 28th 2013 at 11:59 p.m. CT. I will pick a winner at random to receive a copy of Desserts in Jars provided by me and a case of Ball jars as described above provided by Fillmore Container.
Honey Whole Wheat Hummingbird Cake Recipe via FoodforMyFamily.com

Tips for Last-Minute Entertaining:

  • Open up the outdoor space. Whether or not you have a patio or porch for hosting, entertaining outdoors during the warmer months frees you from the pressure of having a perfectly clean house. Invite people for a barbecue, a bonfire, drinks on the driveway.
  • Clean less. Clean your bathroom and generally pick up the main area, but ignore the rest of the house. If you’re hosting outside this is even easier. What they can’t see won’t make a difference here, so close the doors to bedrooms and let the laundry downstairs remain downstairs.
  • Prepare easy food. Recently we invited the neighbors over for dinner 30 minutes before it was time to eat for barbecue pork. The pork was already smoked and in the refrigerator. All we needed to do was sauce it and heat it up and prepare a bowl of coleslaw. Grillables, simple salads, and easy appetizers make the food come together quickly.
    Ole’s quick grilling tips:

    1. Reach for thin cuts of meat or grillable fish like salmon for shorter cooking times.
    2. Finish with a glaze or sauce instead of marinating for hours.
    3. Add grilled vegetables to the menu. Toss them in oil and salt and cook them while the meat is resting.
  • Empty the dishwasher if you have one. Even when I’m cooking or baking, the first thing I do is clear out clean dishes from the dishwasher. This means I can load dirty directly into the open space and keep the clutter off the countertop.

This month’s Eat Well, Spend Less theme is entertaining, and rightfully so. As always, you can check out what others are writing in the Eat Well, Spend Less series:

Honey Whole Wheat Hummingbird Cake Recipe via FoodforMyFamily.com
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go get ready for my in-laws to arrive. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup coconut oil (measured as liquid)
1 cup honey
16 ounces crushed pineapple in its own juice, undrained
2 ripe bananas
1 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla
Honey Cream Cheese Whipped Cream, below
crushed or whole pecans for garnish

Preheat the oven to 325º F. Grease 3 8″ cake pans or 4-ounce mason jars.

In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl mix together the whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add in the eggs, coconut oil, honey, crushed pineapple, bananas, pecans, and the vanilla. Mix on low speed until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared pans or jars. Bake for 24-26 minutes until the center is set and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Frost the cake with the honey cream cheese whipped cream topping. Serve.

Makes 18 jar cakes or one 3-layer cake with approximately 16 servings.
Copyright © Food for My Family.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon gelatin
2 cups heavy whipped cream

Beat together the cream cheese and the honey until smooth. Set aside.
In a small pan, mix together the gelatin with 3 tablespoons of water. Let it stand until thick. Heat the mixture over low heat until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat and cool, but do not allow it to set. Stir the gelatin together with the cream cheese and honey.

Whip the heavy cream until thick with soft peaks. Slowly pour the cream cheese and honey mixture into the bowl while slowly whipping. Whip on high until fluffy.
Keep chilled until ready to frost or serve.

Makes 5 cups whipped cream.
Copyright © Food for My Family.


  1. Holy cuteness! That picture is adorable!

  2. patricia van dyke says:

    I just printed a copy of your hummingbird cake, it looks delish. And the pic is adorable. Would love a copy of your book and the little dessert jars. Thank you

  3. Danielle says:

    I came across this recipe on pinterest and I can’t wait to try it out!
    Why does the pineapple have to be canned? I have all of these ingredients on hand but no canned pineapple, just a whole fresh one. Wondering if I can use that if I blast it through e food processor for a second?

  4. So cute!! Your photos are adorable! I love little jars!

  5. I love the name of this cake – I have to make it just so I can put that name on the menu! It sounds delicious too of course.

  6. Love the tips for last-minute entertaining…that happens all too often at our house. Any suggestion for something besides pineapple to put in the cake? I’m not a fan (although everyone else in my house is).

    • Cut it down to 8 ounces and pulse the pineapple in a blender or food processor so it’s cut extra small and you won’t get chunks, just the moisture to the cake it provides.

  7. I love hummingbird cake, although I haven’t made it in a while. And great entertaining tips!

  8. Skye Rae says:

    I just saw this on pinterest. I looks yummy and easy. Can’t wait to make this with the kids!

  9. Gretchen D says:

    This looks delicious…never made hummingbird cake before, but looking forward to it now.

  10. Love the idea of making this in mason jars and the use of whole wheat pastry flour. Thanks for the specifics in this recipe.

  11. Jenni T says:

    This is fabulous! (And adorable, too!) Will be doing these very soon. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Love this cake and especially the honey cream cheese whipped cream. I must improve my jar collection!

  13. I used small jars like that last year for mini pies that were frozen and ready to be baked; my family loved them!

  14. Love this cake – and anything in a jar has my vote for amazingness. That last pic – melted my heart. Soooooo cute!

  15. Cute, cute, cute!

  16. I adore Hummingbird Cake!

  17. The cake looks so yummy. Can’t wait to try this.

  18. Looks delicious! Too bad my husband’s allergic to pineapple. Wonder if it would work with other puréed fruit?

    • Try pureed mango. I think that would have a similar texture outcome. I’d probably cut it back to 8 ounces because you wouldn’t have the same fruit chunk to juice ratio, though.

  19. robin54 says:

    Have got to try this cake… Thanks for the giveaway… Would love to win 😉

  20. This looks delicious! Can anyone please tell me about the name, though? Why is it called “hummingbird” cake?

  21. I love desserts in mason jars but didn’t realize you can bake in them. I’ve only used them for refrigerated desserts. Thanks! Will be making these cakes soon 🙂

  22. Clarice T says:

    This looks really good. Would love to win.

  23. What a great sounding recipe! I’ve done a few things in jars, but these will be something to definitely to try!

  24. gisselle says:

    The pictures look lovely! Can’t wait to make this recipe! Would LIVE to win that book!!!

  25. gisselle says:

    *LOVE, would LOVE to win the book!
    Your tips are amazing! Thx!

  26. Count me in! Love your blog 🙂


  27. I love mason jars for so many things! I have not baked with them, but I love the idea!

  28. Melinda says:

    The hummingbird cake looks delicious! We’re having a BBQ tonight so I think I may give it a whirl! Thanks for the idea!!!

  29. This is great! Hummingbird cake is my Dad’s favorite. I’ve been wondering how I can make it healthier. Everything looks better in a jar!

  30. These look great!

  31. nopinkhere says:

    Looks really cool. I have ramekins not jars, so I’ll have to try it in those.

  32. Christine W. says:

    Love the idea of using canning jars for individual desserts for oh-so-many reasons…

  33. Brighid says:

    Sounds like a fantastic cake! I’m missing too many of the ingredients to make it today but it will surely go on my list to make some day soon.

    As for the visiting, enjoy a moment of respite when you can. Today is my nearly-quiet day in between celebrating crowds of friends (yesterday) and family (tomorrow).

  34. HeatherC says:

    Looks delicious! Thank you!

  35. HeatherC says:

    This cake looks delicious and fun! Thanks!

  36. Kristin says:

    Those look yummy! I’m still not tired of the mason jar trend….love it! 🙂

  37. Robin W says:

    What a clever idea using the small jars. I never heard of Hummingbird cake but the recipe sounds delicious. I am just starting to use coconut oil for it’s health benefits and I can not wait to try this cake.

  38. Love that the cakes are whole wheat, can’t wait to try them.

  39. I’ve been wanting to try Hummingbird cake for a while and this seems like this perfect opportunity!

  40. Adorable cakes!

  41. Looks yummy, how do you make it vegan?

  42. Could I use 8 oz pineapple juice instead of pineapple chunks? I have everything else on hand, except the pineapple, and this sounds fabulous!

    • I wouldn’t use straight juice because you’ll get too much liquid. You could add an extra banana and some juice to make 2 cups of banana and juice together. That would probably get similar results. (This would be separate from the two bananas already in the recipe, just to be clear.)

  43. Thanks for a healthy version of Hummingbird Cake! My sister had it once in all its full sugar glory and it just sounded so overwhelming to me. This one sounds like something I’d happily serve my family!

    And oh, desserts in jars…I’d sure love the book and the jars 🙂

  44. Do you think those little jars will freeze?

  45. Sounds yummy!

  46. Joanne Cannella says:

    I love this idea. I have 4 parties to go to this summer and would love to take the cakes in the jars. They would look so cute! Any suggestions on making sure you get them all back? Thanks for the recipe and idea.

  47. Love this simple dessert!

  48. Love how you decided to bake these cute cakes even as things seemed as if they were getting crazier by the minute! These look so fun and I’m sure it put smiles on everyone’s faces. Great tips too!

  49. Thanks for this fun idea! My daughter & I can’t wait to try them!

  50. Sounds yummy and fairly healthy. Will give it a try! Love the jar idea and want to try that.

  51. Elliott Dykeman says:

    My cakes weren’t so good looking but were really tasty. Thanks for this recipe.

  52. Love desserts in jars. Last minute entertaining is never easy so this is a great recipe to help save the day.

  53. This recipe looks amazing! I can’t wait to make them! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  54. Racheal says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe, it looks absolutely wonderful. Thank you for a healthier version!

  55. Love this idea and have a feeling our kids will as well. Great post, thanks for sharing!!

  56. Nancy Boyd says:

    Ok this sounds amazing ! My friend has said to me that she has baked banana bread in a jar—I thought she was Nuts !!
    Looking forward to trying this and surprising my family that is coming in town in just a few weeks !! 🙂
    Thank you for sharing this !

  57. Only one word can describe this recipe…YUM!

  58. I would need these served in a jar so I wouldn’t eat the whole cake! Thanks for these last-minute entertaining tips…you never know when these will come in handy!

  59. I have a bunch of mason jars, I would love to use!

  60. What beautiful little cakes, and I’ll take the whole bowl of that honey whipped cream!

  61. Lovely work, Shaina! Would you be happy to link it in to the current Food on Friday which is all about cakes? This is the link . There are lots of great links there already. I do hope to see you there. Cheers

  62. I love anything to do with coconut! I bake with coconut oil and coconut flour a lot (Because I’m gluten intolerant), so I’m thinking of trying your recipe as a base but replacing the flour with coconut flour 🙂 Hope it turns out as good as yours looks! Also, I love the look of the cake in jars 🙂

  63. nclovely1 says:

    Shaina, I really enjoy your ___ in a jar recipes. This looks like something my son would enjoy making with me. I’ve found that now that he’s entering the ‘tween/soon-to-be-teen years, cooking is one of the things that will continue to be acceptable to do with the mom. Thank you for sharing your good ideas!


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