Hummingbird Cake Cupcakes

The Ultimate Hummingbird Cake! (Cupcakes with Sour Cream Frosting!) #cupcakes #spring #southernMoist and tender Hummingbird Cake Cupcakes with Sour Cream Frosting. A classic southern favorite loaded with bananas, pineapple, coconut and nuts. 

Southern "Hummingbird Cake" Cupcakes with Sour Cream Frosting on #cupcakes #southern

You know you’re a southern cook if…

Baking a ham is done on a weekly basis, instead of an annual basis. (Preferably on Sundays.)

You know how to season a cast iron skillet, and keep it seasoned.

You aren’t afraid to cook with butter. In fact, the more the better.

You’ve got a hand-written grandma-approved Hummingbird Cake Recipe in your kitchen diary. (Ahem… and you know what a kitchen diary is.)

Making Hummingbird Cake Cupcakes with Sour Cream Frosting on #cupcakes #southern

Don’t worry… If these things don’t apply to you, and you live in the south, I can help you check the latter two off your list here and now. (I can also help with seasoning cast iron and baked hams, but you’ll have to jump over to another post.)

If you aren’t a southerner, that’s ok too. Just know, there are a few things you’ve probably been missing out on.

Like Hummingbird Cake.

Moist Hummingbird Cake Cupcakes with Sour Cream Frosting on #cupcakes #southern

So what is Hummingbird Cake?

Have no fear. There are no birds in the recipe, only chunky ingredients like ripe bananas, pineapple, coconut, and pecans. It’s sort of like a carrot cake… minus the carrots, add fruit.

Although I’ve heard several theories on how this moist decadent cake got its name, the one I like best came from a granny I met when we first moved to North Carolina.

She told me, “It’s called hummingbird cake, Sugar, because it’s as sweet as nectar. It’s a southern thang!”

Decadent Southern "Hummingbird Cake" Cupcakes with Sour Cream Frosting on #cupcakes #southern

Well I love southern thangs. Truly.

So I’ve taken a classic hummingbird cake recipe and altered it ever so slightly, to make “Hummingbird Cake” Cupcakes with Sour Cream Frosting.

The first change I made was to use butter instead of oil.

Here in the south, hummingbird cake is usually thought of as an oil “ol” cake. However, when you shrink it down to cupcake size, with frosting on top, instead of sandwiched between multiple layers, butter greatly improves the flavor and overall golden color.

The Ultimate "Hummingbird Cake" Cupcakes with Sour Cream Frosting on #cupcakes #southern

I also reduced the sugar a bit. Believe it or not, the original granny-given recipe called for a lot more. Yet, I prefer less sweetness in the cake when you’re piling frosting on top.

Finally, I made a sour cream based frosting instead of a cream cheese frosting like most traditional recipes.

The Best "Hummingbird Cake" Cupcakes with Sour Cream Frosting on #cupcakes #southern

Don’t get me wrong, I adore cream cheese frosting.

Yet, this sour cream frosting provides a bit more tang and is ultra soft and silky. It’s the perfect compliment to the Hummingbird Cake Cupcakes.

Easy Hummingbird Cake Cupcakes with Sour Cream Frosting on #cupcakes #southern

You are going to love these Hummingbird Cake Cupcakes with Sour Cream Frosting!

And you’ll feel like a southerner making and eating them, whether you are one or not. And that, my friends, is a good thang.

The Best Hummingbird Cake with Sour Cream Frosting on #cupcakes #southern

Hummingbird Cake Cupcakes

Yield: 32 cupcakes

Prep Time:30 minutes (active time)

Cook Time:20 minutes

5 / 5 (1 Reviews)
Did you make this recipe?   Leave a review »

Hummingbird Cake Cupcakes – Traditional southern Hummingbird Cake in individual portions, topped with tangy Sour Cream Frosting!


For the Hummingbird Cake Cupcakes:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large bananas, smashed
  • 1 cup canned crushed pineapple, in juices
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

For the Sour Cream Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups softened butter (3 sticks)
  • 1 cup sour cream, strained
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8-10 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. Then mix the first four dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Then turn the mixer on low and slowly add in the eggs and vanilla. Scrape the bowl and beat on low, while slowly adding the flour mixture. Keep the mixer on low and mix in the smashed bananas, pineapple with juices, coconut, and pecans.
  3. Using a cookie scoop, divide the batter between 32 cupcake liners. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until the tops are golden and bounce back when you touch them. Place on the counter and cool completely, before proceeding.
  4. Take the cupcakes out of the pan. Make the Sour Cream Frosting or classic Cream Cheese Frosting for the tops. For the Sour Cream Frosting: Beat the butter until very soft, then turn the mixer on low and slowly add in the sour cream. Scrape the bowl and beat until completely smooth. Beat in the vanilla, lemon juice and salt. Then slowly add the powdered sugar until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.
  5. Scoop the sour cream frosting into a large piping bag with a wide tip. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, then sprinkle with golden sugar sprinkles if desired. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to “set” the frosting. Then cover and store in the fridge or at room temperature, for up to several days. (I like them at room temperature best!)

BAKER’S NOTES: 1) Sour Cream Frosting is ultra tangy and silky, but tends to be a little looser than cream cheese frosting. Use the link above to get the recipe for our best Cream Cheese Frosting. 2) This recipe can be converted to a layer cake, using 3 – 8 inch cake pans. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 32 cupcakes, Serving Size: 1 cupcake

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 377 Calories
  • Total Fat: 18.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 11.1g
  • Cholesterol: 65mg
  • Sodium: 128mg
  • Carbohydrates: 52.9g
  • Fiber: 1.1g
  • Sugar: 41.2g
  • Protein: 2.7g
All images and text ©

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32 comments on “Hummingbird Cake Cupcakes

  1. ANDREA FINCHposted July 23, 2016 at 7:08 am Reply

    Strained sour cream?
    Is that to make the sour cream thicker?
    Tried to google it but only got a marijuana strain, ha!

    • Sommerposted August 9, 2016 at 9:38 am Reply

      Hi Andrea,

      Oh no! Lol!! Really it just means to pour off any liquid on the top, so the sour cream is as thick as possible. How did they turn out? :)

  2. Dianaposted June 16, 2015 at 4:07 am Reply

    I made these n they came out so good. But I made them today but cut the recipe in half n they did not rise at all. They were very dense n not fluffy at all like the first time I made them. Any comments as to why ?

    • Sommerposted June 16, 2015 at 8:50 am Reply

      Hmmm… It’s hard to say Diana. I wonder if you need to replace your baking powder. Sometimes it goes flat. I like to replace all my leavening agents a couple times a years whether I have some left or not, just to be safe. So glad you liked the cupcakes the first time. Hopefully this fixes the problem. :)

  3. Katrina Connerposted April 15, 2015 at 1:01 pm Reply

    Hey Sommer, 

    2 questions…..

    1. Sweetened or unsweetened coconut?
    2.  I want to make this as a 9″ layered cake for my mother-in-laws birthday. Any suggestions on cooking time?

    Thanks a million, 

    • Sommerposted April 17, 2015 at 7:57 am Reply

      Hi Katrina!

      1. Unsweetened

      2. Are you making the cake in 2 or 3 layers? I’d guess a 3-layer cake in 9 inch pans would need to bake 12-15 minutes.

      Let me know how it turns out! XOXO

  4. Christineposted April 2, 2015 at 8:26 am Reply

    This East coast gal just came up with some serious southern aspirations. I love that it is called hummingbird cake, I love cream cheese frosting, and I really want to take better care of my cast iron.

  5. Jeanneposted March 29, 2015 at 8:38 pm Reply

    how do you strain sour cream?

  6. Sueposted March 26, 2015 at 2:36 pm Reply

    i need to make! Sweetened or unsweetened coconut?

  7. Mirthaposted March 26, 2015 at 1:03 pm Reply

    so going to make these!!! I’m having some girlfriends over on Sunday.

    How could I make these into muffins? do I need to adjust the recipe? make them denser?

    Thanks for any advice.

  8. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebelposted March 24, 2015 at 12:38 am Reply

    Can I just pipe the frosting directly into my mouth? Because I think I may just do that. These cupcakes are awesome, Sommer! Love this Southern classic; it’s on my to-bake list!

    • Sommerposted March 25, 2015 at 8:31 am Reply

      LOL! Yes… And I won’t tell. ;)

  9. Barbara @ Barbara Bakesposted March 22, 2015 at 10:19 am Reply

    A hummingbird cake is on my bucket list. Love this cupcake version.

  10. Kimposted March 21, 2015 at 1:56 pm Reply

    I love the name, and your recipe looks great!

  11. Tracyposted March 21, 2015 at 11:34 am Reply

    do you think could make this gluten free? Thanx Tracy

    • Sommerposted March 21, 2015 at 1:11 pm Reply

      HI Tracy! I’ve never tried making a gluten free version. However, if you have a good gluten free flour mix you trust, it would be worth a shot. Let me know how they turn out!

  12. Peggyposted March 21, 2015 at 9:39 am Reply

    What size can of pineapple, please?

    • Sommerposted March 21, 2015 at 1:09 pm Reply

      Hi Peggy, the recipe calls for 1 cup. A 10-11 ounce can should be more than enough. Happy Baking!

  13. Marleneposted March 21, 2015 at 8:32 am Reply

    Love this recipe for muffins – would this ‘work’ in loaf pans? Love to have a few loaves of hummingbird bread !!

    • Sommerposted March 21, 2015 at 9:26 am Reply

      Hi Marlene, I don’t see why not, but you’ll need to bake a bit longer. I can’t tell you an exact time, because I’ve never baked one in a loaf pan before. Let me know how it turns out! :)

      • Marleneposted April 3, 2015 at 2:14 pm

        Greetings Sommer:
        The hummingbird muffin recipe worked out quite well in loaf pans

      • Marleneposted April 3, 2015 at 2:17 pm

        The recipe made two 8×4  loaves and 1 mini – baked 350 for 55-60 minutes.
        Thanks.. Happy Easter

  14. Gabyposted March 20, 2015 at 5:01 pm Reply

    These are over the top! So fantastic!!!

    Rating: 5
  15. Heather Christoposted March 20, 2015 at 4:38 pm Reply

    these are my moms favorite! so pretty!

  16. Amandaposted March 20, 2015 at 4:16 pm Reply

    These cupcakes are fantastic, amazing recipe!!!

  17. Naomiposted March 20, 2015 at 1:49 pm Reply

    One of my fav. cakes! Love it here in the cupcake form.

  18. Deborahposted March 20, 2015 at 10:49 am Reply

    These are so pretty – I think I need one right now!!

  19. Julie @ Running in a Skirtposted March 20, 2015 at 10:05 am Reply

    Oh Sommer! Hummingbird cake is my one of my favorites! Be-still my southern heart :-) I’m looking forward to trying your version. Perfect for Easter!

  20. Jenna Robinsonposted March 20, 2015 at 8:45 am Reply

    Those are beautiful! I’ve always stayed away from Hummingbird Cake because we have nut allergies in our family. But now I’m wondering if I could simply omit the nuts? Do you think it would still be as good?

    • Sommerposted March 20, 2015 at 9:17 am Reply

      Hi Jenna, Absolutely!! Let me know how they turn out. :)

  21. Julie @ Table for Twoposted March 20, 2015 at 8:21 am Reply

    You’re making me crave cupcakes at 8am!!

  22. Joy Harrisposted March 20, 2015 at 7:08 am Reply

    Your photos are gorgeous.. Hummingbird cake was my dad’s favorite so I think I will start a new tradition and make those every year on his birthday… so much easier than baking a layer cake. Thanks for posting this beautiful recipe.