Healthy Hummingbird Cake

Healthy Hummingbird Cake - healthy dessert blog

If you read my previous post, then you know that mostly everything I bake requires trial after trial, because what usually results is error after error.  Since I try to “healthify” every recipe I make, many of them do not work… and that leads me to this Hummingbird Cake–a tropical cake with pineapple, banana, coconut.  Super tasty, and now, super healthy!

Trial #1:

The recipe I found looked amazing, but I’ve gotta say, 2 cups of sugar, 3/4 cup of oil and 3 whole eggs kind of scared me.  I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of AP flour, halved the sugar content and used 1 egg + 1 egg white.  This is how the taste-test went:

first bite:  YUM!

next few bites:  hmm… a little dry

next next few bites:  okay, I can’t even taste the pineapple anymore

last bite: darn… what does it need?

My mistakes: overmixing, blending the egg whites (makes mixture frothy and leaves the cake too dry/airy), and forgetting the oil and vanilla extract!

Trial #2:

I lowered the sugar even more since there was natural sugar coming from the pineapple and bananas. I increased the cinnamon (which makes what you’re baking taste sweeter), drained the pineapples, added a banana, and remembered to add the oil!  I lowered the oil content by 1/3 and used 3 egg whites instead of 1 egg and 1 white. I also added some coconut extract for more flavor.

Trial #3:

In this trial I used different bakeware.  Rather than mini loaf pans, I used 4 mini ramekins and 1 mini loaf pan. I added baking powder to make the cake a little less dense and to lower the fat content I used some applesauce in place of some oil. This cake was delicious! Sweet, moist and full of flavor.  My whole family loved it  🙂

Hummingbird Cake


  • 180g (1+1/2 cups) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1/4 cup Reduced Fat Shredded Coconut
  • 48g (1/4 cup) Sucanat (or dry sweetener of choice)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • Wet I:
  • 42g (3 tbs) Grapeseed Oil (or any other neutral oil)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Coconut Extract
  • 3 Large Egg Whites
  • Wet II:
  • one 8oz can Pineapple Rings, drained (packed in 100% juice)
  • 62g (1/4 cup) Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 240g Banana (about 2 medium)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray pans of choice with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the Dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together Wet I ingredients.
  4. Add Wet II ingredients into a blender and puree. Stir this into the other wet ingredients. Gently fold wet into dry until just incorporated (feel free to add 1/4 cup chopped pecans). Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for ~35 minutes (depends on pans used) or until edges have browned, a toothpick comes out clean and surface springs back when touched.
  5. Let cool and sprinkle with unsweetened coconut flakes and/or a drizzle of honey.


Recipe inspired by: Hungry Housewife

Healthy Hummingbird Cake - healthy dessert blog

14 comments on “Healthy Hummingbird Cake

  1. Those look so yummy! Love your little green loaf pan 😀 The cakes look great and sound so good.

  2. I had never heard of hummingbird cake until I was in New Zealand recently. So delish! Thanks for sharing.

  3. A new recipe to try for sure, a Hummingbird cake is new to me. A searching I shall go and see what I can come up with.

  4. I just found your website. I like that you try to make good food healthy without losing taste.

  5. O M GEEE, I absolutely LOVE this! I love HB cake, but hate hate all the overwhelming ‘badness’ in it. Thank you soooo much for playing around and figuring out a way to ‘healthify’ this delicious fruity baked good. I’m bookmarking it and can’t wait to try it at some point when there’s a reason for cake!

  6. can you post the recipe you used for trial 3? thanks!

  7. interesting!! love what you’re doing!! can u post a recipe here?

  8. Jessica | Desserts With Benefits

    I will be posting the recipe soon!

  9. Oh perfect! I’ve been wanting to make a hummingbird cake, but there was always a bit too much southern hospitality in each bite, if you know what I mean. This is great that you posted up a lightened version of this! I’ll definitely have to try this recipe otu! Thanks!

  10. I like that you tried the recipe three times and didn’t give up or get turned off by the first results! Is there are reason why it’s called a Hummingbird cake?

  11. Sarika,
    No one knows exactly how the cake got its name, but many believe it is because of its sweetness (Hummingbirds only drink the nectar of sweet flowers)

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  13. Jessica,
    I just wanted to tell you that I made this cake a few days ago for my family’s 4th of July picnic and it was amazing! I have been wanting to make a Hummingbird cake for months now and just haven’t because I just couldn’t bring myself to make the many horribly unhealthy versions out there! I made this cake in two 8-in rounds and added pecans. I also made a frosting from fat-free cream cheese, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and powdered erythritol and it made a really beautiful, sweet, and moist cake. Everyone loved it and I was so pleased. My cousin loves sweets but is has to really watch her sugar intake so when I told her this cake had barely any sugar she was so relived and had a piece. Thanks for the recipe, I am a huge fan!

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Brailynn- Yay! I’m so glad you liked this cake! The pecans sound like a great addition, and that cream cheese frosting sounds TO DIE FOR. I need to try that soon, thanks for the idea 🙂

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