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Gluten Free Hummingbird Loaf Cake

I’ve made many versions of this but only recently discovered its origins. It was created in Jamaica in the 1960s and originally called 'doctor bird cake' after the island’s national bird. The tourist board exported the recipe to the US and it became hugely popular particularly in the southern states.

It's made with oil instead of butter and has more fruit than flour. Some recipes use spice and nuts, but key ingredients are banana and pineapple. Certain Southern US cookbooks referred to it as ‘cake that doesn’t last’. If you try it, you’ll see why.

Gluten Free Hummingbird Loaf Cake


For the cake:

150g plain gluten free flour (schar)

150ml sunflower oil

150g sugar

135g overripe mashed bananas 50g walnuts or pecans chopped 50g tinned pineapple chopped 2 small eggs ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda ½ tsp ground cinnamon ¼ tsp vanilla extract 1/8 tsp salt 1/8 tsp xanthan gum

For the frosting: 300g icing sugar 125g cream cheese 50g butter (room temp) Chopped walnuts or pecans to decorate


For the cake:

Preheat oven to 150⁰C fan. Use a cake liner or parchment paper to line the inside of a loaf tin.

Beat the eggs and sugar together on high speed, then turn down to low and gradually add the oil. Next beat in the bananas, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Add the flour, bicarb of soda and xanthan gum, mix in until just incorporated, (don’t overmix).

Lastly fold in the nuts and pineapple, pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for appx 45-50 mins. A skewer inserted into the middle will come out clean and the cake will be springy to touch.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting: Once the cake is cold, beat the icing sugar and butter on low and then turn up to high. Once mixed add the cream cheese and continue to beat until light and fluffy, (don’t overbeat).

I slice the cake through the middle and spread a thin layer of frosting through the centre, then spread or pipe the rest of the frosting onto the top of the cake and sprinkle the nuts to decorate.


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