Hummingbird cakes are all the rage these days and so are hummingbird cake recipes. They’re sweet little cakes made with coconut and pecans that have a nice combination of crunchy texture and fluffy cake, all topped off with a drizzle of honey-flavored cream cheese frosting.
There’s actually a pretty cool story behind the recipe. Back in 1918, Mr. Harry Baker invented the hummingbird cake after a customer asked him for a cake like the one his wife used to make. To mimic her autumn-inspired spice cake, Mr. Baker created a new recipe using bananas and pecans instead of pumpkin pie spices.
It’s been 90 years since the invention of the hummingbird cake. But I thought it was time we added some new flavors – namely peanut butter and chocolate chips! The inspiration for this recipe comes from Donna Currie, who made a similar variation in December – but hers just had chocolate chips instead of peanut butter chunks, which I am inordinately fond of (which may be obvious by all my other recipes :P) And while there are plenty of ways to make these into actual cakes or cupcakes, I wanted to share the version I made last weekend – which is a cookie bar!
Simple and Easy Hummingbird Cake Recipes
I took my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, and simply added peanut butter chunks and chopped pecans. Then instead of using a scoop of frosting on top, I piped some cream cheese frosting onto each bar for more ooziness (okay, you can be as grossed out by that word as you want, but it’s true). The result was an addictively delicious peanut buttery-chunky treat. They were like chewy magic bars! But with cake… 😉
They were very yummy and sweet, so next time I might reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup or increase the salt to balance things out just a bit. But they were perfect for a nice after-meal snack or sweet indulgence.
We had some over the weekend, but I can’t wait to try them again and experiment with different flavor combinations! Like how about white chocolate chunks instead of dark? Or maybe dried cherries? Lemon zest instead of salt? The possibilities are endless! 🙂 Enjoy!
Hummingbird Cake Recipe (adapted from my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe)
Peanut Butter Hummingbird Cake Bars
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup brown sugar (I reduced this to half because I didn’t want them too sweet)
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 -1 cups peanut butter chips (I used 3/4 cup because I like the chunks)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
- 8 oz bag of cream cheese, softened
- 2 teaspoons honey (or agave syrup for vegan version – or omit if you want)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray an 8×8 glass pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Place flour in a small bowl and mix together sea salt until well combined. In a large bowl, combine melted butter and brown sugar.
- Mix in eggs one at a time until combined.
- Mix in the vanilla extract.
- Add flour mixture into wet ingredients slowly until thoroughly mixed in (this is important so that there aren’t any lumps).
- Next add peanut butter chips and chopped pecans to the batter, stirring until evenly distributed.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and spread with a spatula or butter knife until it’s as even as possible.Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- 1 8 oz package of cream cheese (stirred well to remove any lumps)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Beat together softened butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes).
- Add in the vanilla extract and honey/agave syrup/sugar mixture – beat another minute or so until combined and you get a fluffy consistency.
- Remove from mixer, stir in powdered sugar until completely mixed.
- Frost top of bars, and let chill for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving.
Store covered in the refrigerator.
Makes 16-18 bars.* Serving Size: 1 Bar
*Recipe adapted from my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (which I’ve made a billion times) by changing full fat milk to soy (because that’s what I had on hand), and adding peanut butter chips and chopped pecans! It worked out well 🙂