Jamie Oliver's Hummingbird cake

01 OCTOBER 2014
Jamie Oliver said "Quite simply, this beautiful cake is bloody delicious – bake it, and get it in your gob. Light fluffy sponge with banana and pineapple galore, a crunchy dusting of pecan brittle, and a little reminder that zesty cream cheese icings rock – it’s near perfection. For special occasions, to treat your loved ones, or purely for those moments when you just need a good slice of cake, this hummingbird beauty is guaranteed to hit the spot.”

Serves 14
1 hour
Plus cooling
684 calories


250ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
350g self-raising flour
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
350g golden caster sugar
4 medium very ripe bananas
1 x 425g tin of pineapple chunks
2 large free-range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50g pecans

400g icing sugar
150g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
200g cream cheese
2 limes

100g caster sugar
50g pecans


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°F/gas 4. Grease and line two 23cm loose-bottomed cake tins. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a mixing bowl, then add the sugar and a large pinch of sea salt. Peel the bananas and mash them up with a fork in another bowl. Drain and finely chop the pineapple and add to the bananas with the oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix until combined, then fold into the dry mixture until smooth.

Finely chop the pecans and gently fold in, then divide the batter evenly between your prepared tins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until risen, golden and the sponges spring back when touched lightly in the centre. Run a knife around the edge of the tins, then leave to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, to make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a free-standing electric mixer, add the butter and beat until pale and creamy. Add the cream cheese, finely grate in the zest of 1 lime and add a squeeze of juice, then beat until just smooth – it’s really important not to over-mix it. Keep in the fridge until needed. To make a brittle topping, place the caster sugar and a splash of water in a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat.

Shake flat and don’t stir it, just swirl the pan occasionally until dissolved and lightly golden. Add the pecans and a pinch of salt, spoon around to coat, and when nicely golden, pour onto a sheet of oiled greaseproof paper to set (check out the video on jamieoliver.com/how-to). Once cool, smash up to a dust (you’ll need about half to top the cake – save the rest for sprinkling over ice cream).

To assemble the cake, place one sponge on a cake stand and spread with half the icing. Top with the other sponge, spread over the rest of the icing, then grate over the zest of the remaining lime. Scatter over the brittle dust and decorate with a few edible flowers, such as violas, borage or herb flowers, if you feel that way inclined.

With a cup of tea on the side, this will make everyone who eats it extremely happy. Serve in a bluebell wood on a fallen tree, as you do.

Taken from Jamie’s Comfort Food, published by Michael Joseph. Recipe © Jamie Oliver. Photography © Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited 2014, by David Loftus.