Banana Coconut & Pineapple (Hummingbird) Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

A tropical delight of moist, banana-pineapple goodness topped with creamy cheese frosting. Perfect for any occasion!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
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Have you ever craved something that hits all the sweet spots without being too over-the-top? Well, I’ve got a treat for you that’s going to make your taste buds do a happy dance—Moist Hummingbird Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting!

Now, if you’ve never heard of Hummingbird Cake, you’re in for a real treat. Imagine the tropical goodness of bananas and pineapple, the warm hug of cinnamon, and the crunch of walnuts all coming together in a moist, fluffy cupcake. And let’s not forget the pièce de résistance: a luscious cream cheese frosting with just a hint of lemon to give it that perfect zing. It’s like a mini-vacation in every bite!

What’s even better is how easy these Jamaican cupcakes are to whip up. No fancy equipment or crazy techniques—just simple, delicious ingredients coming together in perfect harmony. Whether you’re a baking newbie or a seasoned pro, you’ll find this recipe a breeze and a joy to make.

Hand scooping cake with fork next to hummingbird cupcake

Why This Recipe Is Amazing

  • 12 Cupcakes or a Large Cake: This batter makes 12 standard homemade cupcakes or will also fit nicely into one 8-inch round cake pan, resulting in a single-layer cake of approximately the same volume. Simply double using the recipe feature to make 2 layers.
  • Moist and Tender Texture: The inclusion of bananas and pineapple keeps the Jamaican cupcakes incredibly moist and tender, ensuring a melt-in-your-mouth experience with every bite.
  • Perfect Balance of Sweetness and Tang: The cream cheese frosting, with its touch of lemon juice and zest, adds a perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess, complementing the flavours of the cupcake beautifully.
  • Easy to Make: The recipe is straightforward, with simple steps that are easy to follow, making it accessible for both beginner and experienced bakers.
  • Crowd-Pleaser: The combination of flavours and the moist texture make these party cupcakes a hit with both kids and adults, ensuring they are a crowd-pleaser at any event.
Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting in baking paper wrapper

What is Hummingbird Cake?

Hummingbird Cake is a traditional Southern dessert that originated in Jamaica, where it is also known as Doctor Bird Cake. This cake is known for its tropical flavour profile, combining bananas, crushed pineapple, and pecans, and is typically topped with a rich cream cheese frosting. The cake is moist, sweet, and filled with a variety of textures, making it a favourite at gatherings and celebrations.

The basis of this recipe is my Spiced Carrot cake with similar flavours like pineapple, and coconut but with the addition of banana instead of carrot.

This batter makes 12 standard cupcakes and will also will fit nicely into one 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan, resulting in a single-layer cake of approximately the same volume.

What ingredients are needed

Muffins

  • Plain Flour: Provides the structure for the tropical cupcakes. It’s a staple in baking that creates a tender crumb.
  • White Sugar: Sweetens the cupcakes and helps to create a tender crumb.
  • Baking Soda & Baking Powder: These leavening agents help the moist cupcakes rise and become light and fluffy.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavours and balances the sweetness.
  • Ground Cinnamon: Adds warmth and depth of flavour. Substitution: Nutmeg, ginger or allspice can be used for a different spiced flavour or a pumpkin pie spice blend for a mix of spices.
  • Eggs: Provide structure, moisture, and richness to these easy cupcakes.
  • Vegetable Oil: Keeps the cupcakes moist and tender.
  • Milk: Adds moisture and richness. Substitution: Any non-dairy milk like almond, soy, or oat milk can be used for a dairy-free version.
  • Lemon Juice: Adds a slight tang and helps to activate the baking soda. Substitution: White vinegar or apple cider vinegar can be used similarly.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds a sweet, aromatic flavour that complements the other ingredients.
  • Bananas: Add natural sweetness, moisture, and a distinct flavour.
  • Crushed Pineapple: Adds moisture and a tropical sweetness.
  • Unsweetened Shredded Coconut: Adds texture and a subtle coconut flavour.
  • Walnuts: Provide crunch and a rich, nutty flavour.
    Substitution: Pecans, almonds, or hazelnuts can be used, or you can omit them for a nut-free version.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Lightly Salted Butter: Adds richness and a smooth texture.Substitution: Unsalted butter with a pinch of salt.
  • Block Cream Cheese: Provides a tangy, creamy base for the frosting. ‘Spreadable’ cream cheese is not recommended as it includes an ingredient that prevents it from firming up when refrigerated.
  • Vanilla Bean Paste or Extract: Enhances the flavour of the frosting.
  • Powdered Icing Sugar: Sweetens and thickens the frosting.
  • Lemon Juice and Zest: Adds a bright, tangy flavour that balances the sweetness.
cupcake topped dollop of cream cheese frosting and chopped nuts in white wrapper.

Setting You Up For Success – Tips and Tricks

  • Use Very Ripe Bananas: The riper the bananas, the sweeter and more flavourful they will be. Brown, spotty bananas work best.
  • Drain Pineapple Well: Make sure to drain the crushed pineapple thoroughly to avoid excess moisture, which can make the batter too wet.
  • Toast the Nuts: Toasting the walnuts or pecans before adding them to the batter enhances their flavour and adds a nice crunch.
  • Measure Flour Correctly: Use the spoon-and-level method to measure your flour accurately. Too much flour can make these easy cupcakes dense and dry.
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure that the eggs, milk, and cream cheese are at room temperature before mixing. This helps in achieving a smooth batter and frosting.
  • Don’t Overmix the Batter: Mix the wet and dry ingredients until just combined to avoid over-developing the gluten, which can make the tropical cupcakes tough.
  • Folding in Ingredients: Gently fold in the mashed bananas, crushed pineapple, shredded coconut, and chopped nuts to maintain the batter’s lightness.
  • Uniform Cupcakes: Use an ice cream scoop to evenly divide the batter among the cupcake liners for uniformly sized cupcakes.
  • Preheat the Oven: Make sure your oven is fully preheated to ensure even baking. Baking at the correct temperature is crucial for the right texture.
  • Test the Doneness: To tell if a cupcake is done gently press the centre of a cupcake with your finger. If it springs back quickly and feels firm, it’s likely done. Additionally, the edges should start to pull away slightly from the sides of the cupcake liner, and the top should be a light golden brown.
Spiced pineapple banana cupcake topped with frosting and topped with chopped walnuts

Tips for the Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Soft but Firm Butter and Cream Cheese: Ensure the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature but not too soft. This helps in achieving a smooth and fluffy frosting.
  2. Gradual Sugar Addition: Add the powdered sugar gradually to avoid a grainy texture and ensure it’s fully incorporated.
  3. Adjust Frosting Consistency: If the frosting is too thick, add a bit of lemon juice to thin it out. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
  4. Flavour Adjustments: Taste the frosting as you go and adjust the lemon juice and zest for the perfect balance of tanginess and sweetness.
  5. Chill if Needed: If the frosting becomes too soft, chill it in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up before spreading it on the cupcakes.
  6. Smooth Application: Use an offset spatula or a piping bag for a smooth and professional-looking finish on the tropical cupcakes.
  7. Garnishing: Sprinkle toasted coconut and chopped walnuts on top of the frosting for added texture and visual appeal.
Cream cheese frosted cupcakes arranged on marble table

Frequently Asked Questions

When I made this dish on our live cooking show, some community members asked:

Can I make these cupcakes ahead of time?

Yes, you can make these easy cupcakes ahead of time. Store unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze them for up to 3 months. Frost them the day you plan to serve them.

Can I use a different type of oil?

Yes, you can use any neutral-flavoured oil like canola, vegetable, or even melted coconut oil. Avoid strong-flavoured oils as they can overpower the taste of the tropical cupcakes.

Can I substitute the bananas?

If you don’t have bananas, you can make my spiced carrot cake recipe which is basically the same recipe as this but with carrot instead of banana.

What if I don’t have canned pineapple?

You can use fresh pineapple that has been finely chopped and drained well. Alternatively, pineapple juice concentrate can be used, but you may need to adjust the moisture levels in the batter.

How do I know when the cupcakes are done?

The cupcakes are done when they spring back when gently pressed in the centre, the edges start to pull away from the liners, and the tops are lightly golden brown.

Can I omit the nuts?

Yes, you can omit the nuts if you have an allergy or prefer not to include them. The easy cupcakes will still be delicious without them.

Can I use a different frosting?

Yes, you can use a different frosting if you prefer. Vanilla buttercream, whipped cream, or even a light glaze can work well with these tropical cupcakes. An alternative is just slicing in half with a little butter spread over.

How can I make the frosting less sweet?

To make the frosting less sweet, reduce the amount of powdered sugar and increase the cream cheese or add a bit more lemon juice to balance the sweetness. Alternatively, add more powdered icing sugar to make it sweeter.

Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting in baking paper wrapper and cake fork

Looking For More Yumminess?

Whether you’re after more simple snacks, easy dinner ideas or delightful desserts, we have you covered!

Did you make this recipe?

Let us know how it turned out for you! Comment below, tag @missmolly_makes on Instagram using #missmollymakes or visit us LIVE at twitch.tv/missmollymakes.com

Spiced pineapple banana cupcake topped with frosting and topped with chopped walnuts

Banana Coconut & Pineapple (Hummingbird) Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Servings 12 Cupcakes
Discover the tropical delight of Hummingbird Cupcakes—moist, banana-pineapple goodness topped with creamy cheese frosting. Perfect for any occasion!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients
 

Cupcakes

  • 200 gm ( cups) plain flour
  • 162 gm (¾ cup) white sugar
  • tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 82.5 gm ( tbsp) vegetable oil I use rice bran or canola
  • 95 gm (6 tbsp) milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 very ripe bananas mashed
  • 113 gm (½ cup) crushed pineapple drained very well
  • 18 gm ( cup) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 50 gm (½ cup) walnuts chopped

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 115 gm (½ cup) lightly salted butter room temperature
  • 250 gm (8 oz) block cream cheese room temperature; avoid ‘spreadable’ cream cheese
  • pinch salt
  • ½-1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1½-2 cups powdered icing sugar use the desired amount for sweetness
  • ½-1 tbsp lemon juice and zest use the desired amount for tanginess

Serving

  • Walnuts chopped
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut toasted

Instructions

Prepare the Muffins

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Line a 12-muffin tin with paper liners or lightly grease it.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the plain flour, white sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon.
  • In another bowl, beat the eggs. Add vegetable oil, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Avoid overmixing.
  • Fold in the mashed bananas, drained crushed pineapple, shredded coconut, and chopped walnuts.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until gently pressed in the centre and it springs back just like when pressed on edge.
  • Remove from oven and allow muffins to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make The Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a bowl, beat the room-temperature butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy.
  • Add a pinch of salt, vanilla bean paste or extract, and the desired amount of powdered icing sugar. Beat until well combined.
  • Add lemon juice and zest to taste, beating until the frosting reaches your desired consistency and tanginess.

Bring it all Together

  • Once the muffins are completely cool, frost them with the cream cheese frosting.
  • Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and toasted unsweetened shredded coconut.

Nutrition

Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 333mg | Potassium: 184mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 317IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Recipe Published: June 17, 2024 Last Updated: June 17, 2024
Lauren and Troy George, Creators of MissMollyMakes smiling to camera.

Hiya, I’m Lauren but you can call me Molly!

Former OR Nurse and self-taught home cook passionate about Approachable, No-Nonsense recipes to help you level up in the kitchen. Together with my husband Troy, we create simplified dishes for busy people with easy-to-find ingredients!
To learn more about us, our cooking show and more, click here!

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