Hummingbird cakes with coconut crust

I am a fan of pineapple as an ingredient in both sweet and savoury dishes. I’m not ashamed to admit that my favourite pizza topping is simply ham, cheese and pineapple, and any sweet and sour dish has to have pineapple in it for me.

So when I saw this recipe, I instantly wanted to try it. Added to that, my freezer is starting to fill up again with overripe bananas, so it was a great way to use up a few of those. The recipe also uses oil instead of butter, which I prefer as I find cakes cooked with oil are always moist without any buttery aftertaste.

I liked the idea of the coconut crust on top. However, it made the cakes a bit too sweet for me. Next time I think I will put only a very small amount on top to retain the texture element, but reduce the sweetness.  Although on tasting these again the next day, they tasted less sweet so it may have just been because they were a bit warm, and I prefered these the day after cooking. This is a very moist cake, due to the bananas, pineapple and oil, with a caramel sweetness from the brown sugar both in the cupcakes as well as on top and a hint of spice from the ginger and cinnamon. There wasn’t quite enough pineapple evident in the final cake for me, so I may add some pineapple pieces next time rather than just crushed pineapple.

Hummingbird cake with coconut crust

Hummingbird cakes with coconut crust

Makes 18-24



  • 440 – 450g can crushed pineapple in syrup (I could only find a 450g can, and this worked fine)
  • 150g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 75g (1/2 cup) self raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 220g (1 cup – firmly packed) light brown sugar
  • 40g (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut
  • 300g (1 cup) mashed over-ripe bananas (3-4 medium bananas)
  • 2 eggs – lightly beaten
  • 180ml (3/4 cup) vegetable oil

Coconut crust

  • 225g (3 cups) shredded coconut – (I didn’t have quite enough so I also used some desiccated coconut)
  • 110g (1/2 cup firmly packed) light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs – lightly beaten


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C fan forced (180C). Line two 12 hole (1/3 cup) muffin pans with paper or foil cases.
  2. Drain the pineapple using a sieve over a medium bowl, pressing with a spoon to remove as much syrup as possible. Reserve ¼ cup of the syrup to use in the cake and discard the rest.
  3. Sift the flours, baking soda and spices into a large bowl. Add the sugar and coconut and combine with a whisk to remove any lumps. Add the drained pineapple, ¼ cup of reserved syrup, banana, egg and oil. Mix until combined. Divide into paper cases (around 2/3rds full).
  4. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the coconut crust by combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl. I found it easiest to mix this using my hands (with gloves on).
  6. After 10 minutes, remove the cakes from the oven and top with a spoonful of the coconut mixture. Return to the oven and cook for a further 15-20 minutes until the topping is golden and the cakes are cooked (test with a wooden skewer – if it comes out clean, they are ready).
  7. Leave to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack. Don’t leave them to cool completely in the pans or you may find they stick due to the sugar content in the topping.
  8. Dust with icing sugar if you wish and serve.

Adapted from –  Classic Retro Recipes (Australian Womens Weekly)
Hummingbird cakes with coconut crust

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