Vegan Hummingbird Cake (Gluten-Free Small Batch)

This Vegan Hummingbird Cake is deliciously fruity, nutty and naturally sweetened and is perfect for a summery bake. Made with vegan and gluten-free wholesome ingredients, it’s decorated with yoghurt frosting.

I have wanted to make a hummingbird cake for a very long time and kept putting it off for no other reason than I never had pineapple in the house. So, in time for summer, I went to the shops to get some tinned pineapple (much easier than fresh and you can drink the delicious juices) and set about testing this tropical fruity cake.

A Vegan Hummingbird Cake on a metal wire rack
Vegan Hummingbird Cake

What is hummingbird cake?

I first heard of the hummingbird cake from the Hummingbird bakery in London (who also have a cookbook and lots of other cake flavours) but it actually originates from Jamaica and has been popular in the US since the 1970s. It’s a banana and pineapple cake packed with warming spices and often has lots of vanilla, cinnamon and nuts like pecans and walnuts. Also it’s typically a layer cake with a vanilla buttercream.

Why will I love this?

This cake is a stunner, it is:

  • Light, fluffy, rich and moist
  • Tender and golden
  • Fruity, nutty and naturally sweet
  • Made with wholesome ingredients like spelt flour, almond butter and chia seeds
  • Packed with banana and pineapple
  • With a delicate cinnamon warming flavour
  • Packed with pecans and coconut
  • Naturally vegan, dairy-free and egg-free
  • Easily gluten-free and nut-free
  • Great as a showstopper cake
  • Easy and quick to bake
  • Delicious for all the family

If you already love the sound of this cake then skip ahead to the recipe card below. Or, first let’s discuss the recipe in more detail.

What ingredients do I need?

You can see my favourite ingredients in the “shop the recipe” section below and here is what we need.

  • Ripe banana: this keeps the cake moist, tender and naturally sweet. Make sure to weigh the banana so you don’t have too much in there as bananas vary so much in size. The riper and softer the banana, the sweeter the flavour.
  • Plant milk: you can use any dairy-free milk like oat, almond, soya or coconut.
  • Lemon juice: when mixed with the milk this forms a buttermilk which is great for egg-free baking as it naturally binds the mix.
  • Coconut sugar: for a little bit more sweetness. You can also use agave, golden or regular caster sugar, too.
  • Runny smooth tahini or almond butter: I alternate between the two as I love both flavours and textures. The most important thing is that the nut/seed butter is smooth and runny.
  • Ground chia or flaxseed: this adds binding ability into the egg-free batter.
  • Plain or GF plain flour: to keep the sponge moist and light. If using gluten-free flour, make sure it’s a 1:1 baking blend with xanthan gum.
  • Spelt flour: I love the wholesome taste and texture this adds to the cake batter and to make this gluten-free, swap for buckwheat or more gluten-free flour blend.
  • Vegan protein powder: I love the protein powder range from Macromike (my code AMB-AMY saves you 10% on everything) and they have some great flavours here. I love the vanilla buttercream, caramelised white chocolate or the salted caramel.
  • Desiccated coconut: to add a subtle coconut taste and lovely texture.
  • Spices: I use cinnamon and mixed spice for this cake. If you don’t have mixed spice, use allspice or more cinnamon and some ground ginger.
  • Baking powder: for rise.
  • Pineapple: this is the heart of every hummingbird cake and I use tinned pineapple. Drain away the liquid and chop up the rings into cubes. You can also use fresh pineapple, too.
  • Pecans: I love the sweet nutty crunch of pecans and you can also use walnuts in here. If you’re making this nut-free, leave out the nuts. Don’t add more pineapple as the batter will become too heavy and wet.

For the frosting:

  • Thick coconut yoghurt: my go-to is Cocos Organic as it’s thick, creamy and organic. It’s also made with minimal ingredients and is great for frostings, you can use the original or the vanilla.
  • Protein powder: as above.
  • Maple syrup: for a little bit of sweetness and overall texture, too. it makes this frosting more luscious.
  • Vegan lemon curd: for the filling. this adds some sweetness in between the layers and you can make your own Easy Vegan Lemon Curd or buy some.
  • To decorate: I chose pistachios, toasted coconut and banana chips.

How do I make this cake?

This cake is easy to make in a few steps:

  • Mash the banana: and mix the milk and lemon for the buttermilk.
  • Whisk together all the wet ingredients: till smooth.
  • Add in the dry ingredients: and mix again.
  • Fold in the pineapple and pecans: and mix well.
  • Divide between two tins: and bake till golden.
  • Cool the cakes: in the tin and then on a wire rack.
  • Whisk together the frosting ingredients: till smooth.
  • Spread the frosting over the cake: and sandwich together.
  • Top with more frosting and decorate: as desired.

Is this gluten-free and nut-free?

This cake is gluten-free if you make it with your preferred 1:1 baking blend of gluten-free flour. To keep this nut-free, use tahini, skip the pecans and check all of your other ingredients.

How long will this last?

This cake lasted less than 24 hours at home, but if you can resist it will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge in a sealed container or in the freezer (unfrosted) for 1 month. Allow to defrost before decorating.

A fork scooping away some Vegan Hummingbird Cake on a small plate
Vegan Hummingbird Cake

What else can I bake?

If you are looking for other summery fruity bakes, how about my:

A Vegan Hummingbird Cake on a metal wire rack

Vegan Hummingbird Cake

Yield: 8 (6-inch cake)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This Vegan Hummingbird Cake is deliciously fruity, nutty and naturally sweetened and is perfect for a summery bake. Made with vegan and gluten-free wholesome ingredients, it’s decorated with yoghurt frosting.


For the Cakes:

  • 1 large ripe banana, 125g
  • 80ml plant-based milk
  • ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 40g coconut sugar
  • 30g runny smooth tahini or almond butter
  • 1 tbsp ground chia or flax seeds
  • 70g plain or gluten-free plain flour
  • 50g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 15g vegan protein powder
  • Spices: 1 tsp cinnamon + ½ tsp mixed spices
  • ½ tbsp baking powder


  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 60g pineapple, chopped small
  • 30g pecans, crushed

For the Frosting and Filling:

  • 250g thick coconut yoghurt
  • 50g vegan vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp vegan lemon curd
  • Pistachios, coconut, banana chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180ºC and line and grease two 6-inch cake tins.
  2. Mash the banana well and stir together the milk and lemon juice and leave for 5 minutes to curdle.
  3. For the cake batter: whisk together banana, milk mix, sugar, tahini and chia seeds till smooth. Sift in the flour, spelt flour, protein powder, spices and baking powder. Add in the coconut and whisk to a smooth, thick batter. Fold in the pineapple and pecans.
  4. To bake: divide the batter equally between the two tins and smooth over the tops. Bake for 15 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then lift out to cool fully.
  5. Make the frosting: whisk together all the ingredients till smooth.
  6. To decorate: place on cake on a plate and cover with half of the frosting. Make a small dent in the middle and fill with the lemon curd. Top with the second cake and spread the rest of the frosting on top. Decorate with crushed pisartcgi8os, coconut and banana chips.
  7. To enjoy: eat straight away or keep in the fridge in a sealed container for 2-3 days. Or, you can freeze the unfrosted cakes, wrapped well, for 1 month. Allow to defrost before decorating.

Shop the recipe

Stay in touch

I look forward to hearing what you think of this Vegan Hummingbird Cake so please let me know in the comments below and leave a star review above. If you do make this, I’d love to see so please tag me, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With hummingbird love x

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