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Vegan hummingbird cake on a plate

Vegan Hummingbird Cake

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Sweet, fruity, and fluffy, this Vegan Hummingbird Cake is delicious and easy to make. Everyone will beg for another slice of this tender cake.




  • 434g (about 4 cups) unbleached all purpose flour (see note 1)
  • 1 ½ cup (to taste) coconut sugar (see note 2)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 4 super ripe spotty bananas
  • 16 oz crushed pineapple in juice (see note 3)
  • ⅔ cup coconut cream (see note 4)
  • 2-4 tbsp reserved water from coconut cream can (see note 5)
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed + ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups chopped pecans, optional (omit to make nut-free, see note 6 for substitutions)

Frosting options:


  • Toast pecans (optional): The first thing to do is toast the pecans if you are using them. Don’t skip this step if you’re using pecans! It makes a huge difference and it doesn’t take any extra time since you have to do other prep work. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a 350 degree oven (177 degrees Celsius), bake the pecans for about 7-8 minutes, tossing every few minutes with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate or bowl to cool.
  • Other prep work: While the pecans are toasting, you can do other prep work like lining your cake tins with parchment paper and greasing the sides with coconut cream or a cake or oil spray. Cut a circle just slightly smaller than the outside of the bottom of the pan, and insert it so it lays flat. Do that for both pans. I recommend these 9” spring form pans as it’s VERY easy to release cake from them, but you could do regular pans (8” or 9” are both fine), or even use a 13” x 9”  rectangular pan.
  • Make flax eggs: Also make your flax eggs by mixing the ground flaxseed and water in a small bowl and setting it aside to gel.
  • Mix dry ingredients: Mix the dry ingredients (including the coconut sugar and spices, but NOT the pecans yet) in a large bowl. 
  • Mash the banana: The spottier your bananas, the sweeter your cake will be. In a medium bowl, peel and mash the banana until it gets somewhat glossy in appearance. You don’t need to pulverize every chunk, but it does need to come together as a gel-type mixture.
  • Add wet ingredients: Add the other wet ingredients to the banana: coconut cream (or softened vegan butter), crushed pineapple (do not drain the cans), gelled flax eggs, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract. Reserve the water at the bottom of the coconut pan, or have some juice or non-dairy milk on hand in case it's needed. I added about 3 ½ tablespoons of this liquid.
  • Combine the two: Using a spatula, create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet, scraping the bowl to get it all in there. Mix gently, don’t worry if a little powder remains, it’ll get mixed when we add the nuts. Here’s where you can add a little of the reserved coconut water (or juice or non-dairy milk) if there is a LOT of powder at the bottom of the bowl. It just depends on your individual ingredients. The batter should be quite thick, but it should look like everything will get incorporated.
  • If using pecans: Fold in 1 ¾ cups of the pecans (reserve a half cup for decorating the cake) (insert Schitt’s Creek meme here) into the mixture.
  • Bake: Divide the mixture between your two lined/greased cake pans and level it with a spatula. Bake for 34-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the tins for about 10 minutes before removing carefully and cooling on a wire rack completely before frosting.
  • Level: Level the “bottom” cake layer: using a large serrated knife, carefully slice the thinnest layer off--the dome--to make the cake relatively flat on top. This is optional but it will help your cake sit nicely together. If you don’t, it may slide off when you’re trying to cut it. I speak from experience here. Very embarrassing experience. Caught on camera. Someday I’ll show you our blooper reel. Still too embarrassed at the moment.
  • Add frosting and assemble/decorate: Ideally using an offset icing spatula (serious gamechanger), add a generous layer of frosting on top of your bottom cake. Carefully place the second layer on top and add frosting to that as well. You can add it to the sides, or just keep it on top. Garnish with reserved pecans, or fresh or dried fruit, edible flowers, whatever you’d like. Enjoy!
  • Store: Refrigerate leftover cake in an airtight container for up to 4 days. It’s good cold or room temperature, so you can definitely take it out about 20-30 minutes before you’re ready to serve. You could also freeze the cake (wrapping slices individually is best, I’ve found) for up to 3 months.


  • Note 1: To make this gluten-free, use a good quality gluten-free replacement flour. I have good success with King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten-Free Flour or Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour.
  • Note 2: I used coconut sugar in this recipe because the flavor goes so well with the spices. That warm, almost brown-sugary taste is so good. But since we’re getting added sweetness from the fruit, coconut sugar is a little less sweet, so it balances out perfectly. Substitute organic cane sugar if you’d prefer.
  • Note 3: I recommend always buying canned fruit in the juices because the heavy syrup is often too saccharine in baking recipes. If you can’t find the crushed, you could always whiz up the slices or chunks in the blender, or food processor, but try to leave some tiny chunks whole if you can as it contributes a wonderful texture and a bit more pineapple flavor to the finished cake.
  • Note 4: I used solid canned coconut cream as the fat replacer in this recipe. Canned coconut milk or softened vegan butter are good substitutions if you can’t find coconut cream. You could use applesauce if you want to lower the fat, but the cake won’t be quite as fluffy.
  • Note 5: Can also substitute any kind of fruit juice or non-dairy milk for this part.
  • Note 6: Finally, an optional fold-in ingredient is chopped toasted pecans. I try to keep this blog as close to nut-free as possible. BUT I will recommend one when it really enhances the flavors. But if baking for someone with a nut allergy, just omit and this recipe will turn out just fine! You could replace it with some shredded coconut or dried fruit instead to make it fun and interesting.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American, Jamaican

Keywords: Vegan, Oil-Free, Soy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Can Be Nut-Free, hummingbird cake, vegan hummingbird cake, cake, dessert