Hummingbird Cake

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SEEDS was having a gathering to discuss future plans and one of the board members asked me to bake some sweets for the meeting. Perfect, I thought, because I had two recipes that I had been working on and wanted to nail.

Mistake #1: Make sure that you have nailed the recipe before sharing the baked goods with 60 other people!

Sunday morning before the meeting I went to meditation planning to return home with my chi balanced and my mind focused as I baked. Then I remembered that my timeline for getting to the meeting on time was waaaaaaaaaaaaay off.

Mistake #2: I had forgotten to factor in travel time to the meeting. I would have to ‘find’ a half an hour from somewhere… which generally means, taking fewer pictures. Ok, I thought, I have this under control.

Mistake #3: I had also forgotten to factor in cake cooling time before frosting. Silly, yes. Amateur, I know. But totally fixable. Instead of the fluffy, cream cheese buttercream that I planned to make, I decided to go with a cream cheese glaze (which could be applied, even if the cake was still a tad bit warm). It would be o.k. I became centered again.

I was winging it. Baking is a science, and yet I still feel the need to be improvisational with it. And vegan baking, well, vegan baking is part science, part skill, part art, and part prayer. So, I prayed, “Please, Universe, let my cupcakes rise.” Enter mistake #4.

Mistake #4: Cupcakes. Cupcakes, in a rush, with one cupcake tin. It wasn’t going to happen, but I had already filled the tin with the batter. Doh! I continued winging it. I added the rest of the batter to a prepared bundt pan. It would be a shallow bundt, but that’s what was going to have to be. I didn’t have time for anything else.

I was really testing the Universe’s love for me. The cupcakes would be done in anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the time as the bundt. If I opened the oven to get the cupcakes at the wrong time however, the bundt could fall. I knew this all too well because growing up, when my mom or nana or greatgrandmother was baking a cake, we weren’t even allowed in the kitchen, let alone, anywhere near the oven. But I didn’t have enough time to bake the cupcakes and the bundt separately, so I put them both in the oven at the same time, followed by a moment of silence and another prayer, “PLEASE let this work out!”

I made the glaze and packaged the brownies I had baked the night before. I could smell the cupcakes. Delicately. Gently. I removed them from the oven. Carefully. Softly. I closed the oven door and tip toed away from the oven. Then, I RAN to my balcony to remove the cupcakes so the cold winter air could cool them. The cake did rise and luckily inverted perfected. After glazing and sprinkling with toasted coconut, I did 80 in a 55 to the SEEDS meeting. I was 20 minutes late, but they forgave me. I did nail the recipe! … A vegan version of my favorite cake at Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor. Jose B, this one’s for you!

(Oh, and the morals of this adventure? Murphy’s Law is real. Planning is a part of baking. And prayer in the kitchen works! :D)

Cake Ingredients:

1/2 cup earth balance (softened)

1 cup Tofutti sour cream

1/3 cup light coconut milk

3 ripe bananas (SMASHED :D)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1 cup crushed pineapple (drained)

1/2 cup pineapple juice (from crushed pineapple)

2 cups flour

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon


*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare bundt pan with earth balance and flour, or cupcake pan with paper liners. Chop pecans in food processor. SMASH bananas. Set pecans and banana aside. Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch and cinnamon in large bowl. Set aside.

*In a second large bowl, beat earth balance, sour cream, coconut milk, smashed bananas, pineapple, pineapple juice, vanilla extract, and pecans.

*Add wet to dry, mix well.  Add batter to prepared pan(s). Bake bundt for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Bake cupcakes for approximately 20 minutes. Let cake cool before glazing.

Glaze Ingredients:

8 oz. Tofutti cream cheese

4 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup crushed pineapple (drained)

2 tablespoons coconut milk

1/2 cup shredded coconut (toasted)


*Beat all ingredients (excepted toasted coconut) until well mixed. Glaze cake and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Breathe and enjoy!

Last, but not least, I want to thank Natalie, Abeer, and Mateja for the three blogger awards that I received this week! What an HONOR! To say I was excited would be an understatement. I was so happy and proud I danced around my living room and jumped up and down. Folks should definitely check out their blogs for more foodie goodness! In the spirit of the Stylish Blogger Award, I have to do 4 things:

a) Thank who awarded me the honor and link to their blogs (see above)

b) Give 7 fun facts about myself:

1) I wanted to be an opera singer when I was 6; 2) I learned how to ride a bike when I was 27; 3) I’m pretty sure I was Brazilian in a past life; 4) No, I cannot read your mind; 5) I hate raspberries; 6) I would move to Paris tomorrow, if I spoke French; and… 7) I don’t want to live to be 100, 87 is just fine for me!

c and d) Recognize 15 blogs that I think deserve the award (see below, in no particular order!) and contact them personally letting them know (I’m on it…):

Nikki @ The Tolerant Vegan

Liz @ That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Kate @

Briar Rose @ Flour Dusted

Monet @ anecdotes and apple cores

Dennis @ More Than a Mount Full

Sommer @ A Spicy Perspective

Stephanie @ 52 Kitchen Adventures

Viv @ Vivacious Vegan

Something Good @

Kita @ Pass the Sushi

Amy @ Fragrant Vanilla Cake

Carolyn @ Food Dreamer

Chelsea @ Sprinkles of Parsley

The Mom Chef @ The Mom Chef

… Ok, that’s it, for the longest blog post EVER!!!!!

Written by

Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!


  1. Thanks so much for the award! Your hummingbird cupcakes sound fabulous despite the issues that happened while making them. I too am guilty of rushing trying to make too many baked goods in a short amount of time ;)! Judging from the photos they still looked wonderful :)!

  2. Aren’t you the sweetest!!!! Thanks so much for the Stylish Blogger Award…I can’t help but feel so very warm and happy in receiving another…thank you! And I’m so pleassed that your beautiful cupcakes were tasty, too…I bet the lucky recipients were thrilled with a home made treats 🙂

  3. I totally forgot about this lucious cake, man did you ace this one!

  4. Tiffany, thank you so much for the award! You are so sweet!

    Your time planning issues sound like something I’d do. I always forget about travel time and end up running out of the house in a huge rush. That’s great that it all worked out, plus your cupcakes look delicious!

  5. Thank you so much for the award!! You’ve included me with such a talented group- I feel honored! Loved reading about your cupcakes- happy everything turned out well! Sounds like such a familiar scenario. Thanks again!!! 🙂

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your award with me! You are precious, and you deserve all the awards and more. I adore hummingbird cake, and it was fun to hear about all the “mistakes” you made. Baking can be quite the experience, can it not? The end result looked perfect to me!

  7. oh my, your story made me so nervous just reading it. i’m glad you were able to pull it all off in the end. i’ve found myself in parallel situations with much fewer people. the mistake always learned is that you can never prepare enough. it’s always good to have as much done the night before as possible.

  8. What kind of sicko hates rasberries?! ;O

    Congrats on your awards!

    • You crack me up! Raspberries are the only berry I can’t get down with 😀

  9. Hi Tiffany
    somedays the universe does smile upon us, even as Mr. Murphy and his law is kicking us while were down…sigh… looks like you came through brilliantly with those delicious cakes!
    Congratulations on your awards and thank you so much for thinking of me, I am truly honored!!
    hope your weekend is going well!

  10. You know Tiffany, I’ve never eaten Hummingbird cake, but it sounds so good. I will have to try this. Congrats on the award. Cute facts about you. Have a great weekend.

  11. Congrats on all your awards- you must really be feeling the love!! Good job keeping your cool with all those things sent to try you, I think I would have been hyperventilating and ruining the cakes!! Have a good weekend….

  12. Oh, even with those mistakes the universe was definitely on your side! Those cupcakes look amazing. I love your list of ingredients. I have been looking for more vegan baking recipes that don’t use egg replacers.

    • Yah! I’m glad you like it! I don’t know why, but I have this aversion to egg replacer for some reason. It’s very strange. So, I keep pushing the baking limits to see what combinations of ingredients still allow my cake to rise even without the egg replacer.

  13. Thank you so much! I don’t think I deserve to be in the same category as so many totally awesome people, though. You are toooooo kind!

    PS – I love how you handled the cupcake/cake situation. I would have sat down, cried, bought a couple dozen candy bars on the way and then thrown them at everyone and cried some more. Perhaps I need to go to meditation class too? 😉

    • This comment literally made me laugh out loud! 😀

  14. I almost had a panic attack while reading your post! Thank goodness it all worked out. They look lovely.

  15. These look wonderful! My friend said once that his favorite cake was hummingbird and I had never heard of it before. With those ingredients, who couldn’t love it?

  16. Ehehehe….awesome post. The cupcakes are lovely.

    Thank you so much for thinking of me. That was quite sweet. 🙂

  17. Looks wonderful! I will be trying this out soon 🙂

  18. Awww, shucks, Tiffany. Thank you for returning the honor that was bestowed upon you. I am very, very touched.

    Hummingbird cake is a southern favorite and is one of the reasons I decided to stay down here (just kidding, but it IS good). I loved this post. 🙂

  19. Well, if you can bang out a successful recipe with the odds stacked against you, I don’t think you’re quite the “amateur” you claim to be. I’d take a slice of that bundt cake anyday! Theresa

  20. These sound awesome! So glad there was a happy ending to this story!

  21. Whew, I was on the edge of my seat reading this one. I like improving too! What’s baking without a little risk and excitement involved. The cakes look beautiful and I’m sure were delicious (toasted coconut, pecans, pineapple=delicious). Great job! Can’t wait to try this.

  22. Bless your heart we all have bad days like that from time to time. Glad it worked out in the end.

  23. Your cakes look delicious, love the toasted coconut on top! Congrats on your awards!!!

  24. I love the toasted coconut on top of these cupcakes! This is one recipe I’ve never tried before, but really need to!

  25. Tiffany you are such a sweety! I just want to give you a big hug!!!!Your food is always wonderful and I am so happy I found you!
    Thank you again!

  26. I love hummingbird cakes! I know that if I’m ever in a hurry to finish something, it’s going to fail…or I’ll drop it…Great job, these are gorgeous!

  27. Terrific job on these lovely hummingbird cakes, despite the few initial issues, the final version looks spectacular!

  28. Great post!!! I like that you shared your mistakes with us… we all do them, you’re not alone. 🙂 But the cakes look incredible! Great job!

  29. Holy crappers… that was nerve-wracking to read through! I’m so glad that everything turned out okay AND that you didn’t get a speeding ticket 🙂 The results look absolutely marvelous and delicious! Sending more good vibes your way 😉 Thanks for sharing this! Hope your weekend’s going perfect!

    • Thanks for the vibes!!!!!!!! Sending them right back at cha!

  30. I’ve never had a hummingbird cake but looking at the ingredients, I can imagine taking a big bite while lying on the sand by the beach! It’s pina colada in a cupcake! I’m gonna attempt your recipe and congrats on your badges!

  31. Your honest post made me smile :-), looks like you had a happy ending!

  32. Okay, I was seriously on tenterhooks, waiting to see if these turned out alright. But sounds like they turned out WAY better than alright! Nice work! They look great, I would love to try them.
    Thanks for including me in the list of awardees! I am honoured!

  33. Despite Murphy’s Law, you still managed to churn out these perfect-looking cupcakes! Loved to read the fun facts about you, I’m sure you’ll be a rocking, mind-reading Brazilian opera singer living in Paris by the time you’re 87! Many congratulations on your award.

  34. Congrats on your awards and you took the whole “ask and ye shall receive” thing to the next level. Isn’t it awesome when the Universe responds in the way we want it to?

    • YES! Now, I’m asking to be independently wealthy! LOL 🙂

  35. The follies you experienced and the honesty behind them had me smiling! Beautiful cupcakes!

  36. Oh, I think you knew what you were doing all along! You’re no amateur – not judging by how beautiful they turned out LOL But I am glad it all worked out in the end. And, you tell a very funny and very enjoyable story 😀

  37. Glaze looks so shiny and creamy.. I would like that just for that glaze 😀

  38. A great cook is someone who comes through in a crisis and you came through with flying colours, despite Murphy’s best efforts! I’m sure your SEEDS colleagues were delighted when you turned up with these beautiful cakes.

  39. Congrats on ur award dear! What a lovely combo! It turns out fabulous and I love that glaze…..

  40. I think you nailed it! I love hummingbird cake and I think it’s amazing that you made a tasty (and pretty) vegan version. I know that’s not easy to do! Way to go Super Woman!

  41. Those who bake enjoy the successes as well as the less than smooth ways baking can sometimes go. Thanks for sharing this story.

  42. Thank you, I’m so honored! Your little hummingbirds look fantastic!

  43. What an adventure you had! I’m so happy it turned out for you and that you kept your cool through the whole process. Very gutsy of you to prepare the cupcakes the day of the event. I’d be way too scared to do it! It’s so great that you improvised – that the sign a true kitchen master!

    We had the same rule in our house when there was a cake in the oven – no one in the kitchen. No exceptions. I can totally relate!

  44. I am notorious for not knowing whether or not my recipe has turned out and mistakes by the dozen. It keeps me laughing in the kitchen and I kinda like that. I’ve never had hummingbird cake but Ive got to try it soon!

  45. 🙂 lovely post!! We all have such kind of experience… But the cakes look soooo yummy!!

    Ans I have another blog award for you 🙂

    • Thank you for the award!!!!! Woooo hooo! I feel so special!

  46. At least with all the issues you had, you still came out with an amazing recipe! It sounds delicious 🙂

  47. Kudos to you for pulling it off, getting the cupcakes baked, glazed.and delivered, and only 20 min. late! You kept your cool. My granddaughter is vegan, so I’ll save this recipe for her, when she comes home on Spring Break!

  48. hmm..yummy Post..your cupcake seem perfectly great ! ^_^
    And I’d like to passing an award for U, check at:
    Hope U’ll like it

    • I feel so loved!!!!

  49. Holy moly, I’m glad you were able to get your cupcakes and bundt cake together in that crazy rush!! The baking Gods were definitely on your side 🙂

  50. You totally deserved that award 🙂
    And this cake recipe is the most unusual i have ever seen but it also make me want to run into my kitchen and start baking immediately. Those cupcakes look great and so creamy.

  51. I agree – a prayer in the kitchen often works. Sounds like you did a great job under pressure. 🙂


  52. Congratulations on the award! Love the description of the baking roller coaster.

  53. this is one great recipe I can add up and modify on my favorite vegan recipes . 🙂 Thank you

  54. ha! ha! I can totally relate to this because this is how I bake. Like running out of butter, thinking I had the right tart pan, making batter for a three-layer cake when I only had two pans…. Improvisation is a must in the kitchen! Good job!

  55. First of all, congrats on the stylish blogger award! Second, nice job on the improvising. I have tried to do that in the past, and it has worked once or twice…but that’s about it.

    I have heard a lot about hummingbird cupcakes, I need to try them soon. Thanks for a new recipe 🙂

  56. 80 in a 55?? lol They look great! I think we’ve all been there with the timing issues before an event, maybe even often. And I think you’d definitely be forgiven for walking in with a treat as nice as these.

  57. Thanks for all of the congrats folks! And for your empathy with my baking fiasco! 😀

  58. “bananas, smashed” – smashed food always tastes better LOL!

    Congrats on the award!

  59. I just made this and it is absolutely amazing!! I switched out the sugar for agave nectar, and it is extra tasty. Thanks for sharing!

    • Woah! So glad to hear this! That’s AWESOME! 😀

  60. I just want to have one:)

  61. The cake looks so delicious. Buzzed you!
    – Jessica @

  62. Lol! I love this! I felt like I was reading the ponderings of myself. I am ALWAYS underestimating the amount of time I have to make something. My boyfriend will say,”We have to leave in 15 minutes” and I’m like,”I know, don’t worry, I’ll be ready”…*an hour later*….”I’m almost done!”

    You have a great writing style and an awesome sense of humor! 🙂 Not to mention, these look and sound delicious. At least you frosted your cupcakes due to lack of time to allow to fully cool, unlike me who frosts them too soon due to lack of patience.

    • Thanks Karissa! Haha! Hopefully, one day, I get better at time mgmt! 😀

  63. Hey tiff , love the post 😀 & of course the cupcake hahahaha I love the banana & pecan combo , though pecan here’s expensive tsk tsk

  64. First, we totally would be greats friends! I would move to Paris right this very second if I could…..AND I have made it very clear to my family I do not want to live very long, at all, maybe 80ish!

    Second, way to rock out a recipe….who cares about all the negatives that occurred, I am focused on that delicious recipe! Gorgeou, Hugs, Terra