When I was in elementary school, each student brought cupcakes or some other kind of treat on their birthday. For my kindergarten birthday, my mom and I made yellow cupcakes with chocolate icing, and we used white icing to decorate each cupcake with a smiley face. My mom packed up the cupcakes for my class in a casserole dish, covered the pan with foil, and put me on the bus to school. On the bus, my friend and I peeked inside the pan and saw that some of the chocolate icing had gotten on the foil. We licked the icing off the foil and before I knew it we had licked all the icing off each and every cupcake. That’s right. I got to school and served cupcakes with no icing.
This story is a testament to my major sweet tooth. I’m powerless before a sweet treat. Always have been.
I made these cupcakes for my friend’s birthday (hummingbird cake is her favorite). Thankfully, these cupcakes did not suffer the same fate. I made it to the party without 24 frosted cupcakes (ok–23 cupcakes. I had to taste one to make sure it was alright).
Hummingbird cupcakes are kind of like banana nut bread with cream cheese frosting. They have mashed ripe banana and pecans (or walnuts if you prefer). But they also have crushed pineapple and coconut, which gives them a tropical sweetness. The mashed ripe bananas and crushed pineapple keep the cupcakes super moist, while the nuts and coconut give them a nice crunch.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups ripe bananas (about 3-4 large bananas), mashed
- 1 8-oz can crushed pineapple
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, plus more for topping cupcakes, toasted (see note)
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla until combined, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat at medium speed until mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, stir together bananas, pineapple, pecans, and coconut. Add to the egg mixture and mix until combined. Then slowly stir in flour mixture, being careful not to over mix.
- Fill each muffin liner about ⅔ full. Bake, rotating pans half way through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 22 to 25 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl, beat on medium speed cream cheese and vanilla until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add butter until incorporated.
- Reduce speed to low and gradually add sugar, beating until incorporated.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost the tops of each cupcake. Decorate with toasted coconut (you could also top with chopped nuts), if desired, and serve.
- Note: To toast the coconut, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place rack in the center of the oven. Put coconut flakes in an even layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure to keep an eye on it as it can burn easily. Let cool completely.