If you love banana bread or carrot cake, you’re going to love these naturally sweetened hummingbird cupcakes! They have a delicious combo of banana, pineapple, and coconut, are naturally sweetened, and topped with a simple coconut whipped cream frosting! They’re also gluten and dairy free!
I had to find a yummy treat to showcase these pretty pineapple flowers, and these hummingbird cupcakes were the perfect choice! If any of you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me make these flowers in my story. I first made them last year for fun and was waiting for the warmer weather came back to make something spring-y.
If you haven’t heard of it before, hummingbird cake is full of sweet fruit and warm spices. The flavor and texture is a cross between a banana bread and carrot cake…super moist and fluffy without being overly sweet. It was made popular in the U.S. when it was printed in an early issue of Southern Living Magazine, but it’s thought to have originated in Jamaica, hence the tropical flavors. The tropical flavors are what have me smitten with this cake too! Most hummingbird cakes have banana and pineapple, but I went the route of Martha Stewart and added coconut to mine. Chopped nuts are generally used in the cake as well, but I omitted them for my kids’ sake. 🙂
It’s generally topped with a simple vanilla or cream cheese buttercream, which allows the flavors in the cake to shine, and chopped nuts or pineapple flowers. Although they may seem a bit intimidating, the hardest part of making the flowers is waiting for them to dry in the oven. The result is absolutely worth the effort though. They’re not only gorgeous, but delicious too, like pineapple fruit leather. Just make sure you top the cupcakes with the flowers right before serving. When the dried pineapple come in contact with moisture, they can become soggy and flatten onto the cake.
The best thing about these cupcakes is that they’re made a little healthier using coconut sugar and oil. I also included a gluten-free version, and they can even be adapted to be vegan-friendly by using the egg substitution provided.
If you give them a try, please tag me in your pics on social media so I can see your creations! I love to see what you’re whipping up in your kitchens! Enjoy, friends!
- ¾ cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 baking flour
- ¼ cup coconut flour (OR USE 1 CUP ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR IN PLACE OF GF AND COCONUT FLOUR)
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup dairy-free milk (I used almond) or other milk of choice
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil, olive oil, or other oil of choice
- 1.5 teaspoons vinegar
- 1 egg*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup mashed ripe banana
- ½ cup crushed or finely chopped pineapple, juice drained
- ½ cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 can coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight (I bought the one from Trader Joe's. About 1 cup firm cream)
- 8 oz. dairy free cream cheese or regular cream cheese
- 3-4 tablespoons honey, coconut syrup, or other sweeter of choice (add more or less to taste)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 fresh pineapple
- parchment paper
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with paper liners (preferably parchment liners so they don't stick) and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients—flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add wet ingredients—milk, vinegar, oil, egg, and vanilla, and mix well. Add mashed banana, pineapple, and shredded coconut stirring just until combined. Let sit for a few minutes for the flour to absorb the liquid.
- Fill each liner ⅔ full with batter. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool thoroughly before frosting.
- Beat cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add hardened coconut cream and continue to beat until blended. Add sweetener and vanilla, continue to beat until fluffy. Add more sweetener if needed. Keep frosting refrigerated until ready to use.
- To decorate cupcakes, place frosting into a bag fitted with tip 2A (or into a large plastic baggie with the corner cut out). Begin piping in the center (to form a base) and continue to pipe along the outer edge of the cupcake, swirling the frosting upwards, like soft serve ice cream. Release pressure as you pull up to form a peak. Top with pineapple flowers right before serving (the flowers flatten with moisture).
- I followed the tutorial from Martha Stewart
- Cut the top and bottom off of the pineapple. Stand upright and cut off the rind. Use a small melon baller or measuring spoon to remove all of the "eyes" and seeds.
- Slice pineapple very thinly. The thinner you slice the faster they dry. Place slices on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake in a 225° oven for about 25-30 minutes. Flip and continue to bake for another 25-30 minutes. Check and remove any that are thoroughly dried. Flip the others and continue to bake, checking and flipping every 20 minutes (some of the thicker slices took 2 hours in the oven) Remove the slices that are dried and place into a muffin tin so the edges can curve, like a flower. I keep them in the muffin tin for 1-2 days to ensure they hold their shape. Store flowers in an airtight container in the fridge or cool pantry for a few days.
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