Start by preheating the oven to 350F/177C and line three, 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with baking spray. This recipe will also work with two, 9-inch cake pans.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, cooking oil, eggs, vanilla extract and sugar. Beat everything together for a few minutes, until the mixture is smooth. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon. Sift the dry ingredients into the cake batter, then mix them into the batter for about 1minute, just until they’re incorporated.
Next, add in the mashed bananas, crushed pineapple and diced pecans. Fold them in with a spatula. Divide the cake batter evenly between the three prepared pans.
Bake the cake layers at 350F for 24 to 26minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake layers to sit in the pans for about 5 minutes, then gently remove them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cake layers are cooling, prepare a batch of my Cream Cheese Frosting.
Making Cream Cheese Frosting:
To make the frosting: place the softened butter into your mixer bowl and beat on high speed for 7 to 9 minutes, until the butter is fluffy and white in color. Next, add the softened cream cheese and mix again for 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure to scrap down the sides of the mixing bowl to ensure you have a smooth mixture.
Add in the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract and a tiny pinch of salt next. Start mixing on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, then beat for 3 to 4 minutes on high speed, until the frosting is fluffy.
This frosting can be a little on the soft side. To fix a soft frosting, simply place it into the refrigerator for a few hours to chill. I like to make it the night before, then allow it to soften at room temperature for about an hour before using it. The texture changes significantly and it’s easier to work with.
Assembling the Cake:
Using a long, serrated knife, level off the top of each cake layer. To assemble the cake, spread a generous amount of cream cheese frosting in between each cake layer and level the frosting with an off-set spatula.
Next, apply a thin, crumb coat layer of frosting on the outside and smooth it with cake spatulas. Chill the cake for about 30minutes in the refrigerator, then apply the remaining frosting to the outside. I used a comb spatula to create the ribbed sides of the cake.
Garnish the sides of the cake with diced pecans, if desired. Add edible flowers to the top, if desired.
Storing the Cake:
Once I have my Hummingbird Cake assembled, I like to place it into the refrigerator to chill for a few hours. This allows the frosting to set up a little bit and it will be easier to cut. You can keep this cake at room temperature for several hours. However, I recommend keeping the cake stored in the refrigerator overnight. This cake can be made ahead of time, too! It will keep well for 3 to 4 days. If you cut the cake open, simply cover the open faced part with plastic wrap so the cake doesn’t dry out.