What’s the word? It’s Dr. Bird (Cake)

Depending on whom you talk to in my family the proper name of this rich, moist cake is either Hummingbird Cake or Dr. Bird Cake. My recipe is based on one from a fundraising cookbook published in the late 1970’s where it is called “Dr. Bird”. Either way, the recipe is an old favorite that I have modified over the years and is a perfect cake to contribute to a cookout, potluck or baking for the weekend when “company” is expected.

Like a carrot cake, it tastes better the second day. It works well as a layer cake (as I made here) or baked in one large pan (9”x 13”) or even in a Bundt or tube pan; simply adjust the cooking time. You’ll also need only half the frosting if baking in a 9”x 13” pan.

Ingredients for the cake including local eggs from the Bluffton Farmer's Market. But I forgot to place the buttermilk in the shot!

The batter will not be smooth, the bits of banana and pineapple add moisture to this cake.

Pour the batter evenly into the three pans or you can use one 9" x 13" pan or even a Bundt or tube pan.The pans are lined with unbleached parchment paper.

The filled pans ready for the oven.

The cake layers cool on racks and one layer is turned out onto a cake platter or baker's cardboard round. I like to use these rounds if I am taking the cake to a get together away from home.

Frosting ingredients include lightly toasted pecans and orange juice measured into a small bowl.

Softened butter and cream cheese are mixed to a smooth consistency before adding the juice and vanilla extract. Then just add in the powdered sugar and whip it, whip it good!

Spread frosting evenly over first cake layer.

Sprinkle pecans over the first layer before adding the next layer and repeating the process.

After placing the last cake layer, cover the entire cake with the balance of the frosting. I added some purchased sugar flower decorations for a touch of spring!

Dr. Bird (or Hummingbird) Cake

  • 3 cups plain flour, sifted and then measured
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ cup oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups ripe, mashed bananas (about 2 large)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup+ finely chopped pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 recipe cream cheese frosting (recipe below)

Cut rounds of parchment for 3, 8” or 9” cake pans. Grease and flour the inside rims of the pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and oil, mixing well. Then beat in each egg, add the buttermilk and the vanilla. Stir in the bananas and the pineapple.

Pour batter evenly into each pan and bake in preheated oven approx. 30-34 minutes. Remove to racks to cool.

After the cake layers are cooled completely, spread frosting over the top of the first layer and sprinkle with ½ the nuts. Add the next layer, frost and sprinkle with rest of the nuts. Add final layer and frost the entire cake. If you like you can sprinkle the frosted cake with more nuts.

 Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 – 8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 – 5 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ cup orange or lemon juice

Cream butter and cream cheese in mixing bowl and add in powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time until you have used 4 cups. Add in the vanilla and the juice. Then add in 1 more cup (more or less) of  powdered sugar  and keep beating it on medium high. Add in a little more powdered sugar, if necessary, to get the frosting to the consistency you like.


One thought on “What’s the word? It’s Dr. Bird (Cake)

  1. Oh yum. It has been a very long time since I have had hummingbird cake. Makes me want to go home and cook one–not to mention eat some. Nce photo work too-especially the chunky pecans.

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