This Is The Most Searched Cake In The South

What do you think it is?

To longtime Southern Living readers, it might come as no surprise that the most searched cake in the South is the Hummingbird Cake.

Any way you slice it, this cake’s classic combination of banana, pineapple, and cinnamon has long made it one of our most popular recipes across all recipe genres. The 45-year-old recipe, first submitted to the magazine in 1978 by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina, has been reinvented into Bundt cakes, pancakes, and even whoopie pies.

Hummingbird Cake


But the classic three-layer cake enveloped in cream cheese frosting is still our readers’ preferred way to enjoy this dessert.

Nationwide, ‘dump cakes’ proved popular for their ease, with no special tools required to make these no-fail cakes. Despite the extra effort needed to assemble the hummingbird cake, Southerners are more than willing to put in the time for the final delicious result.

What Makes This Cake Special

There’s really no other layer cake like a hummingbird cake, even if it is often considered similar to carrot cake. We love this recipe for many reasons, one of which is that it uses vegetable oil instead of butter for a moist, banana-bread-like texture. It also means you don’t have to spend time creaming butter or bring out the stand mixer to make it. 

The other ingredient that really makes this cake is the canned pineapple, which is added with its juices. The addition of the pineapple juice adds flavor and keeps the cake incredibly moist. To enhance the tropical flavors of the cake, some folks add shredded coconut, which we totally endorse even if it is a deviation from the original recipe.

Aside from the ingredients, this cake is steeped in history, both in the South and this magazine. From who Mrs. L.H. Wiggins was to where the recipe originated, this cake is more than just your average layer cake.

Why Readers Love This Cake

One of the many reasons readers love this recipe is that it happens to be super customizable to all sorts of dietary restrictions. “This was delicious, my daughter is lactose intolerant so instead of a cake I made it into cupcakes with no frosting,” wrote Southern Living reader Yvonne King. 

It's also a nostalgic cake, tied to many fond Southern memories. In fact, one reader gave us the highest praise we could dream of—she said this recipe came close to her grandmother’s rendition.

“My grandmother was the queen of Hummingbird cake in our family. She passed several years ago and the task of cakes, pies, custards, and trifles has now passed to me, her granddaughter. My daughter loved these cakes and requested one for her birthday. I’ve never made one and couldn’t track down my grandmother’s recipe. I thought of trying this and not only did it turn out just as described, moist and flavorful, it was also VERY similar to the cake I remember,” said Southern Living Reader Erin.

Don't just take these readers' word for it. Grab a can of crushed pineapple and those bananas languishing on the counter and give the recipe a try yourself.

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