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Hummingbird Cupcakes

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Healthy hummingbird cupcakes.

Hummingbird Cupcakes:

I’ve never been so in love with a cupcake recipe, healthy or not.

These cupcakes are moist, sweet, and absolutely irresistible with healthy cream cheese frosting. Perhaps being in love with a cupcake sounds crazy… but just try one and I promise you will completely understand!!

Healthy Hummingbird Cupcakes

Hummingbird cake, which made its culinary debut in a 1978 issue of Southern Living Magazine, is a delicate and lightly-spiced cake bursting with the sweetness of pineapple, banana, and coconut. To this day, it is still the magazine’s #1 most popular recipe of all time.

These seductive little hummingbird cupcakes perfectly capture the charm of Southern Living’s famous recipe, and they’re even healthy enough to eat for breakfast if you so choose.


Healthy Hummingbird Cupcakes

Adapted from: Healthy Blueberry Muffins

  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained (120g)
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (120g)
  • 2 tbsp milk of choice (30g)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil (30g)
  • 1 cup spelt or all-purpose or Bob’s gf flour (135g)
  • only if using the gf flour, add 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup xylitol or sugar of choice (65g)
  • pinch stevia or 1 extra tbsp sugar of choice
  • 1/3 cup finely-chopped pecans, optional

Hummingbird Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a muffin tin with 10 liners. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together first 6 ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine all remaining ingredients and stir well. Pour wet into dry, and stir until just evenly mixed. Pour into the 10 muffin tins and bake 19-20 minutes or until muffins have domed and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to sit 10 minutes before removing from the tins. Frost with either coconut butter or Healthy Cream Cheese Frosting, shredded coconut, and pecans.

Click for: Hummingbird Cupcakes Nutrition Facts


Healthy Hummingbird Cupcakes

Question of the Day:

Does it feel like Spring yet where you are?

I’ve been attempting to trick myself into believing it’s Spring by baking Eastery cupcakes and carrot cake crumble. Sadly these attempts aren’t fooling anyone. Every morning, upon checking the weather forecast and seeing stars snowflakes, I’m that much closer to just dropping everything and boarding the next plane to a tropical location whose inhabitants have never heard of snow. (Seriously, how good does Fiji sound right now?)

vegan breakfast
Link of the Day: Copycat  Chocolate Brownie Vitamuffins

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. Jessica Rose says:

    These look good….although they require a lot more ingredients that I’m use to buying!

  2. Kelly B. says:

    These look awesome. For what it’s worth, I (mostly) grew up in DC and, in the last 15 years can only remember one other winter that even came close to this one in terms of cruddy weather. Hang in there, the Cherry Blossoms are JUST around the corner!

  3. Hollie says:

    It did feel like Spring until this weekend. We dropped in temperature a lot over the weekend.

    These look good and I love anything with cream cheese frosting. I might make a few subs to use less ingredients though! Thanks for sharing.

  4. sarah says:

    Hi Katie, thank you again, for continuing to bring new delicious foods into my kitchen. I’m ready to try this one, but due to a diet I’m on for my skin condition I must either eat bananas alone or not eat them, so I’m wondering, what do you think of using apple sauce as a substitute for the banana , think it might work?

    1. Lisa says:

      I do that all the time in baked goods and it works just fine, as long as you use somewhat thick applesauce. Last time I made homemade applesauce, I stopped cooking it too soon and it’s more like apple puree… too liquidy for baking with – oops! But normally it works great.

      1. sarah says:

        thanks for your reply, maybe ill try making this tomorrow morning…..cant wait to taste them.

  5. I love your healthy version of these. I’ve also got to try that healthy cream cheese frosting of yours. And no, here in DC it feels like worse than winter did haha windy and so so cold! Cheers to warm weather soon!

  6. Anything with pineapple sounds delicious to me! And it’s definitely NOT spring here in Chicago… we’re back below freezing this week.

    1. EVA says:

      Haha yup, I live in the Loop, and I’m pumped to slip around on the unsalted sidewalks tomorrow after the rumored snow!

  7. It is starting to look like spring here in Belgium (and I’m sorry to say for all my family freezing in Canada that we practically skipped winter altogether!) These are beautiful cupcakes – I’ve been meaning to try Hummingbird cupcakes for a while and I think I might just have to give these a whirl 😀 Pinned!

  8. Allison says:

    Do you think I could use almond flour instead of the gf flour blend?

  9. Am says:

    Hi, from a couple states down!! It is beginning to warm up here. The first day of spring was especially accommodating, with temps in the 70’s and a nice breeze. I hope the warmer temps come your way soon!
    These look perfect for me to make right now. : ) I have a banana to use up, and I just had a really tough time trying to figure out how to write my essays, and other papers for college. Thanks!

    1. Am says:

      Hi! I made this recipe with a few substitutes. Instead of Bob’s GF, I used 3/4 c brown rice flour and 1/4 cup homemade oat flour. I only used 2 T of oil, and instead of sugar, I used 1/6 cup honey. They’re delicious!! 😀 Thanks so much! :)

      1. Jenny says:

        Am did you skip the xantham gum then? I want to make these but don’t feel like splurging on xantham gum :)

        1. Am says:

          Ah! Yes, sorry about that… I did not use xantham gum – but I did use guar gum. I (also) halved the amount of baking soda, powder and guar gum – i only used a 1/4 teaspoon each. I think it would be fine without the guar gum… I hope this helps! Enjoy!

  10. How funny – just yesterday I looked up “hummingbird cake” because I had read the name somewhere, and I thought it sounded yummy! So I basically have to try this recipe 😉
    It’s spring here in Germany at the Dutch border, blossoms everywhere, only the temperature dropped a little. But then we didn’t have winter at all. Wish I could send you some spring blossoms and fresh herbs from my garden!

  11. AnnaBananaBelle says:

    It feels like spring some days…i live in Pennsylvania and the weather just keeps going back and forth from cold to warm. These look really good! i will have to give them a try soon. could i use oat flour?

  12. Natalie says:

    These look so light and lovely! I am totally with you on the whole spring-can’t-come-soon-enough thing. Even here in Florida it’s supposed to be in the 30s tomorrow night!

  13. Ohh yes.. my dear hummingbird. Makes my heart sing!

  14. I grew up watching hummingbirds flit around outside my dining room window. When we moved to the suburbs, they were nowhere to be found! Maybe this hummingbird cake will bring them around 😉

    Peace & Sunshine,
    Sammi at Sammi Sunshine- A Food Blog

  15. Brittany says:

    Looks yummy! I will try them out soon :)

  16. Katie says:

    These have all my favorite flavors!…except, well, chocolate 😉
    Here in Cali the weather is on it’s way to summer…went swimming this weekend, T-shirt and shorts today, and got a tan while eating my lunch. So lovely!

  17. Livi says:

    I love that they include apple cider vinegar! Such a healthy addition!

  18. These look so good, and I much prefer a lightened up version! The original version of hummingbird cake is delicious but SO rich.

  19. Kim says:

    These look so amazing!! Your recipes are so creative and yummy!

  20. I have never heard of Hummingbird cake, but my oh my, does it sounds good! I am going to need to make these for my friend’s daughter’s third birthday in April. She is a little cupcake monster and I think these will be a hit! And Spring…not so much…forecast of snow tonight :(

  21. Lauren Read says:

    Hi Katie, I just wanted to say how much I love your blog! I’ve had some struggles with my diet in the past and your recipes have really helped me to find a balance between over-indulging and restricting, something I had been doing for years.
    I think what you’re doing is amazing and you seem like such an incredible person, keep at it!

  22. EVA says:

    Is it sad that I’ve never heard of Hummingbird cupcakes until I opened my email and saw this post? Maybe it’s because I’m a Midwestern chick and am not familiar with the living ways of the southern.

    Here in Chicago, it keeps fooling us. One day it’s a glorious 50 degrees, the next day it’ll rain (and we all know these are the sure signs of spring), then all of the sudden, we have a forecast for snow and it’s 20 degrees out. I am currently summing up the last four days of Chicago weather, no exaggeration. Back to the comfort foods to warm me up, I guess!
    Which I have no problem with whatsoever.

    1. Sadye says:

      Fellow Midwesterner here who didn’t know what these were either … we should just focus on how happy we are to learn about these!

  23. Elizabeth says:

    Great recipe! I wasn’t aware of this type of cake until recently when my roommate introduced me. Maybe I liked the name, but I haven’t forgotten about how good hummingbird cake is! Can’t wait to try.


  24. Casey says:

    I think I might cry, I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for a while now! I just printed off your pineapple breakfast cake recipe and was planning to tweek it into something like this. Then you post this!? Ahhh! I’m so excited!!!! Next few days are crazy with school, but I’ll report back once I try it. Thank you!!

  25. Bobbi says:

    Or you could just come to California. I bet a lot of us foodies over here would be happy to host you and show you the best vegan eats!

  26. Marissa says:

    These look yumness! You mentioned making a carrot cake crumble; that caught my eye!! Where’s the recipe for that? Was it ever posted?

    Please advise :)

  27. These look wonderful! I love the incorporation of the fruit as well, it keeps them moist and gives them a lovely mix of flavours – want!

  28. Lauren says:

    Great post, Katie! No, it is not spring yet where I live in Birmingham, AL. Wish it was! Hope you are enjoying D.C.

  29. Hummingbird cupcakes have been on my list for a good long while now. This will be my kick in the butt to finally make them. Perfect for Spring time.

  30. becauseHeloves! says:

    These sound so good right now…I might turn them into a muffin for breakfast! And it keeps getting warm where I am, then snowing. Over and over again.

  31. Jessica says:

    We’re going in two day spurts. Two days of nice weather, two days of freezing. It’s taking everything to not get sick!

    Thank you so much for this one. My mother’s version of hummingbird cake has so much oil and sugar that it sits in my stomach like a lead weight, and she doesn’t like my lighter cake mix version. Hopefully we can agree with this one!

  32. Well it DID feel like Spring for a few days there. Now? Not so much. I can’t believe we are getting more snow tonight.

    I have been making more Spring-like food too. Um, smoothies anyone? Lol.

  33. These look amazing! About how many bananas do you think makes 1/2 cup, is one enough or closer to two?

    1. Michelle says:

      one large one should be enough

      1. Thanks! That makes it easier

  34. Kathy says:

    These look delicious and so springy! But it’s snowing hard right now, so no, it does not feel like spring at all!

  35. Jen says:

    I have all these ingredients… hmmm. Might be time to make some cupcakes! I lived in the south for a long time and haven’t had hummingbird cake in ages. It’s springtime down there, but still snowing here. Always snow here.

  36. Lisa says:

    Other than the oil, I don’t see any actual coconut in the cupcakes. Doesn’t that make them taste quite different from the traditional?

  37. Genea says:

    I made these the other day for the first time as snack for my daughters for school, and they LOVED them! So did I. Will be making these again very soon! Thank you for the great recipe.

  38. SV says:

    Just made these and they are PHENOMENAL. No frosting needed! Although I did just make some coconut butter with a bit of cinnamon and maple syrup (delicious!) so I might throw a bit on top of my next one… Seriously amazing recipe, I think this will become my go-to. Thank you!!! (Oh and in Toronto it does not feel like spring; it hasn’t in a loooooooong time…)

  39. Irene says:

    Hi! I’m very new to vegan baking … what options does “milk of choice” encompass? Would coconut milk be alright? Also, is it possible to substitute water or juice for milk in some/all recipes? Thanks :)

    1. Yes on the coconut milk. Depends on the recipe on whether or not it will work with juice or water instead, so that would have to be an experiment.

      1. Irene says:


  40. moi says:

    I made these and they are as described .. delish !

  41. Courtney says:

    Made these yesterday and everyone in my house devoured them immediately! So delicious!!! I used my gluten free flour/xanthan gum for the first time and it worked great. Amazing recipe.

  42. Brenda says:

    These look great, but why can’t you just make the original Hummingbird cake and turn it into cupcakes, as you would other recipes? The cupcake recipe is really different.

  43. Audrey says:

    Hi Katie,
    Love your recipes and have so many favorites in our home from your blog, can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of your posts :) Excited to try this one and wanted to know if you think I could use purse maple syrup instead of sugar and if so, should I adjust the other ingredients? Just wanted to know since I would be subbing a dry ingredient with wet. Thank you :)

    1. Audrey says:

      *I meant “pure” maple syrup

    2. Sadye says:

      I just made these with honey instead of dry sugar (used a little bit less than the recipe calls for) and they seemed to turn out just fine, consistency-wise, if you haven’t already just tried out maple syrup!

  44. Ginni B says:

    These cupcakes are what led me to your website, but I got so intrigued by your other recipes I neglected the very thing that brought me here! Until tonight. I made them exactly to the recipe (apart from omitting the pecans as I don’t have any) and they’re really good. So good my son stole two while they were still cooling *rolls eyes*

  45. Dee says:

    I made the hummingbird cupcakes today. My 11 year old grandson ate two and asked for the recipe for his mom. Sent 2 more home with my 2 year old granddaughter who wanted her second cupcake. My daughter-in-law texted, “Those muffins are amazing….” So made two copies of the recipe to send to both girls. Gonna have to make a bunch more!

  46. Erika says:

    This were soooooo good!!! The whole family loved them! Will definitely be making again. The pineapple really makes it!

  47. Siobhan says:

    I’m wanting to make these for my daughter’s birthday this weekend, but with a twist…the famed cupcake cones. Any reason this wouldn’t work, being baked in an icecream cone? Thanks.

    1. Siobhan says:

      If this wouldn’t work, are any of your other cupcake recipes a better option? Thanks.

    2. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      I don’t see why not!

      1. Siobhan says:

        Turned out great!

  48. Sanne says:

    These are fantastic!
    But my frosting turned out very ..thin. So I might give another one a try, or just eat them as they are, YUMMY!

  49. Samantha says:

    Just made this today for an early father’s day dessert. I doubled the recipe and made it into a lovely bundt cake (required about 35 minutes of baking @ 350F). It turned out perfectly! I lightly covered it with a sweet glaze, my dad loved it! Thanks for the great recipe!

  50. Myrna says:

    Love your hummingbird cupcakes. I made them for my husband on Father’s Day and he loved them too! What’s even more amazing is the frosting. It’s the most perfect healthy frosting I’ve ever tasted. My only complaint, I should have known to double the recipe the first time I made it so we could have more.

  51. Ksenija Kumelj says:

    I’m a first time visitor and I have already dediced to have a “let’s-bake-as-much-of-these-as-possible” weekend. 😉
    But before I start…one small question – do I need to use fresh or canned pineapple?
    Thank you! Have a sweet day! :)

  52. MD Floyd says:

    These look divine, but I’m wondering if I can make them without the xylitol or “sugar of choice” and just add a pinch more stevia? Would that change the volume enough to mess things up? Thanks!!

  53. Josefa says:

    These are sooo good!! Haven’t tried them with a frosting yet. Do you think a chocolate frosting would taste good on these? And if I made them with a frosting can I frost the night before??

    Also, would this recipe be good as a cake?? I am looking to make a cake for my sins 3rd bday Saturday! Thanks!!

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      Sure, why not? 😉

  54. Anna says:

    I just tried these yesterday and they were amazing! will definitely be making these again! i just used regular flour as i was serving them to guests. Thanks so much Katie! they are wonderful!

    1. Anna says:

      reporting back. I tried these gluten-free and they were great also! i used half brown rice flour and half oat flour. The only problem was that they didn’t rise very much so the next time i made them gf I added more baking powder, about triple. I love these cupcakes so much!

  55. Lauren says:

    Hi Katie,

    This was a WONDERFUL recipe. I have recommended it to tons of people already. So tasty and satisfying without feeling guilty!

    I was wondering if you possibly knew any of the nutrition facts, or even just the calorie content?

    Thank you for sharing!

  56. MarciaFG says:

    Why do you use vinegar in a pot of your muffins/donuts recipes?
    Interested to know as new to baking…and do you taste the vinegar?
    Thank you

  57. MarciaFG says:

    Why do you use vinegar in a lot of your muffins/donuts recipes?
    Interested to know as new to baking…and do you taste the vinegar once it’s baked?
    Thank you

  58. Floyd Perry says:

    Thank you for these wonderful recipes but why is it I don’t see a friendly print sign? I am missing out on these recipes, because I can’t print them out.

    1. Unofficial CCK Helper says:

      If you have Katie’s book, she has a similar cupcake recipe in there (the Coconut Cloud Cupcakes: Otherwise, you can also just highlight the recipe and press the “control” and “c” keys on your keyboard, then paste in a word document.

  59. Tinka says:

    These were fantastic!

  60. Lili says:

    Would whole wheat pastry flour work in this recipe? I do not have spelt or xanthan gum

  61. margaret says:

    Good ingredients blended in a lovely moist cake. Definitely worthy of a second bite…