The Mancunion

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Jamaican Me Crazy

Food Editor Ellie Gibbs gives her tropical take on a celebration cake


I was so happy when I discovered this combination. Spice, banana, pineapple and nuts all in one delicious place: The Hummingbird cake.

Why is it called Hummingbird? It’s thought to have been invented in Jamaica around the late 60s, which is unsurprising when considering those classic Caribbean ingredients. The name comes from the idea that the cake was sweet enough to attract the Jamaican hummingbirds or ‘Doctor Birds’, as they only eat nectar, but some say the yellow of the banana represented the bird’s colourful plumage.

Either way, two days after my own discovery of the Southern classic, I had an invite to a Bolivian Fundraiser and thus an excuse to bake.

The Cake:

– 1 cup oat flour (food processed oats)

– 1 cup plain wholemeal flour

– 1 cup plain flour (if 2 above unavailable, do all plain flour)

– 1 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 1/2 cups sugar

– 1 tsp ground cinnamon

– 1 tsp ground ginger

– 3 eggs

– 3 ripe bananas

– 1/2 cup oil (I used a mix of coconut, walnut & olive, vegetable is fine)

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 (8oz) tin pineapple, undrained

– 1 cup nuts (I used half toasted walnuts, half pistachios)


How to make:

Preheat the oven to 180° and prepare two greaseproof cake tins by sprinkling with white flour.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir in the beaten eggs. Mash and puree two of the bananas and fold in gently along with the oil and vanilla extract.

Cut the remaining banana into chunks and chop the pineapple into similar shapes, add to mixture along with all the remaining ingredients.

Evenly disperse the batter an bake for 25 – 30 mins until set and brown on top—the fork method may not be as effective for testing the done-ness of the cake because of the mashed banana.

Let cool in the tin for ten minutes, remove and set on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese to-die-for Frosting:
– 4 oz unsalted butter or baking spread

– 4 z soft cream cheese

– 2 cups powdered sugar

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract and smooth onto the middle and the top of the cake.

Fi decorative purposes top with sliced banana, extra nuts, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy mi bredren.