Super Easy Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake Recipe

The ultimate Southern classic layer cake gets a gluten-free makeover in this Super Easy Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake recipe.  

What I love about this Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake recipe

The original recipe for Hummingbird Cake is a classic in the Southern United States. But it’s off-limits for family members who need a gluten free diet. And while I often cook with gluten-free flour like almond flour or my fave gluten-free all purpose flour, I have come to appreciate that many gluten-free cake mixes work really well. I love that this gluten-free version both tastes good AND is a little bit easier to make than most cakes for special occasions. 

Frequently Asked Questions about this Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake recipe

What does a Hummingbird Cake taste like?

The best way to describe it as a hybrid between carrot cake and banana bread, minus the carrots. My taste testers raved over this cake with accolades like “10 out of 10” and “Excellent”!

Can I use vegetable oil in place of the butter?

I don’t recommend it. It took me 3 tries to get this cake perfect. The first 2 tests were way too moist. The downside to gluten free baking is that you have to use gums to mimic the binding ability that gluten would normally provide. Gums can make baked goodies gummy (obviously) and gummy when coupled with too much moisture isn’t appealing. Oil works well keeping regular baked goods moist, but in this case, the dried nature of using butter works better in this cake.

Do I need to add xanthan gum to this cake since it’s gluten free?

No, please don’t. The cake mix I’ve used already has multiple gums in it. If you use more, the layers will be way too gummy.

Can I use fresh pineapple or crushed pineapple in place of the canned slices?

I recommend you definitely don’t crushed pineapple. In my first 2 tests, I used crushed pineapple. As I explained above, the previous tests were too wet. By chopping the canned pinapple helped. Fresh pineapple might work. But fresh pineapple has an enzyme (bromelain) breaks down protein (it’s deactivated in canned pineapple.) I’m not sure how the bromelain would affect this recipe. One thing I’ve learned, gluten free baking is tempermental, so you need to be sure to follow recipes carefully.  

How should I store leftovers of Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake? 

In an airtight container in the ‘fridge.

Can I use store-bought frosting in place of the homemade cream cheese frosting?

Yes. While I typically prefer homemade frosting, I did actually test this recipe once using 2 containers of ready-to-spread cream cheese frosting, and it was delicious. Two containers is the perfect amount for this 3 layer cake.

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gluten free hummingbird cake

Super Easy Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake Recipe

  • Author: Regan at This Baking Life
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 16 serving
  • Diet: Gluten Free



  • Gluten-free baking spray (such as La Tourangelle) or cooking spray 
  • 1 (20-oz.) can pineapple rings
  • 2 (20-oz.) boxes gluten-free cinnamon crumb cake mix (such as Krusteaz)
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted 
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 medium-size spotted ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces



  • 2 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 (16-oz.) pkg. powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 12 pecan halves


  1. Prepare the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F; coat 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with baking spray, and set aside.

  2. Drain pineapple, and reserve 3 slices. Chop reserved pineapple slices to measure 1/2 cup; set aside. (Reserve remaining slices for another use.)

  3. Whisk together contents of cake mix packages (both the flour and cinnamon brown sugar packets) with allspice in a large bowl. 

  4. Whisk together eggs, butter, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients in bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed just until wet ingredients are incorporated, about 1 minutes (batter will be very thick).  Beat in pineapple and mashed bananas until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in pecans. Let batter stand 15 minutes.

  5. Divide cake batter evenly among prepared pans (about 2 cups per pan). Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, a wooden pick inserted in center comes clean, and sides of the cake layer pull away from sides of pans*, about 1 hour. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks 30 minutes. Carefully invert each cake layer from pans onto a wire rack or cooling rack, and let cool completely, 1 to 2 hours.

  6. Prepare the Icing: Beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

  7. To ice baked cake layers, place a single layer on a plate; spread with about one-fourth of the icing. Top with 2nd cake layer, and spread with about one-fourth of the icing. Top with 3rd layer, and spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake. Arrange pecan halves evenly on top of cake in a circular pattern around edges of cake. 


*In regular baking, when cake layers pull away from the pan it is typically a sign of over-baking. Not with this cake. The risk with this cake is underbaking. Please be sure you use this as an indicator to be certain your cake layers aren’t too wet.

  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 min
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake

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