Best of Met

Hummingbird Cake

A Southern-Inspired Masterpiece

August 16, 2022  |   by Staff Writer

It towers over our bakery, a cake worthy of a king in all of its massive, unapologetic glory. Decadent, dense, and moist, it’s almost as rich in flavor as it is in history. This is Metropolitan Market’s famous Hummingbird Cake.

The cake gets its name from Jamaican roots, where the national bird is, you guessed it, the hummingbird. The tropical spice cake made its way to the states, where a Mrs. L.H. Wiggins from North Carolina submitted her tried-and-true Hummingbird recipe to Southern Living Magazine in the 1970s, and just like that, this Caribbean classic became a sensation, and was one of the most requested recipes in the magazine’s history.

Hummingbird Cake, Batter from Metropolitan Market

While the original recipe is the stuff of baking legend, ours came from our own Metropolitan Market family. In 2017, the bakery manager at our Proctor store was chatting with one of the cake decorators, reminiscing over childhood memories that were full of this scrumptious cake. A craving soon hit them both. To the kitchen they went, and it wasn’t much longer before customers began to flock to our bakeries to satisfy their own craving for a slice.

So, what exactly goes into this larger-than-life confection? Grab a slice and you’ll see four layers of cinnamon spice cake crafted from caramelized banana, crushed pineapple, and chopped pecans, stacked and enveloped in sweet frosting and garnished simply with crunchy pecans. As our bakery staff can tell you, the Hummingbird Cake batter must be mixed carefully; too much blending will diminish the unique texture of the nuts and tropical fruit. Taking the whole creation over the top is the penuche icing, a dense brown butter and brown sugar frosting that could be a dessert in and of itself.

Hummingbird Cake, Icing from Metropolitan Market

Hummingbird Cake, Cupcake from Metropolitan Market

Looking for a small bite of some big Southern flavor? Try our Hummingbird cupcakes, or as we lovingly call them, “Baby Birds.” You can also grab a single slice at any of our bakeries. However you try it, we know you’ll be humming along to the tune of this cake for years to come.