hummingbird cakes & pineapple flowers

pineapple cupcakes

You’ll hear the term ‘summer simulation’ be thrown around here and there in the North. Supposedly it is what occurs during the depths of winter; someone sparks the idea of throwing a summer simulation fiesta and so, the heater is cranked until it’s a balmy 28˚C inside, the tropical cocktails make an appearance and the beach-ware is retrieved from the bottom of the drawer. I’m yet to see this in action. But when I do, I’ll be bringing these tropical, coconut and pineapple delights.

sweet pineapple

Hummingbird cake has always been a favourite of mine, bursting with the fruity flavours of banana, pineapple and coconut. But, in miniature form, hummingbird cakes can easily be mistaken for the humble banana muffin. Especially in true clean-eating form, these muffins, with barely a sweet nick from honey, could do with the nudge from a glamorous topper. These pineapple flowers are a doddle to make, and will take your dessert from good to gorgeous.


Pineapple & Coconut {Hummingbird} Cakes
Makes 24 (plus two extra texas-muffin sized ones)
Pineapple flowers from Food Coma and Lightened Hummingbird cake adapted from Southern Living

Wholewheat flour could be used in place of all purpose. I wanted a lighter cake this time (as it was dessert, not a hearty mid-morning meal I was after) so I used unbleached white four.

1 large pineapple

3 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
¾ cup honey (or agave syrup)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 3/4 cups mashed banana (about 3 – 4)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained

1 can coconut milk, stored in fridge, upsidedown, for a couple of hours or overnight

For the pineapple
Preheat oven to 220˚F and line 2 or 3 baking trays with silmats or baking paper. Remove skin and head of pineapple. Using a paring knife or a small spoon remove the ‘eyes’. With a large sharp knife, slice pineapple into thin rounds, almost transparent. Lay the slices on baking trays and leave in oven for up to 2 hours, turning over half way through. They may take longer – keep dehydrating until starting to shrivel, brown at the edges and become dry to the touch. While still warm, place dehydrated slices in muffin pan and let sit for a couple of hours or overnight until completely dry and shaped like flowers.

dehydrated pineapple flowers

For the hummingbird cakes

Lightly grease 24 muffin pan holes with baking spray.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir together eggs, applesauce, honey and oil, beat in the mashed banana, vanilla extract, and pineapple; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened – do not beat! Pour batter evenly into muffin pans – a large cookie scoop is handy here.
Bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and the muffins are springy to the touch. Remove from pans and let cool on wire rack.

cookie scoop

For the coconut icing

Turn cold can of coconut milk upside up and remove top. Liquids will now be on the top. Pour them off (save for a curry or smoothie) and place the thickened coconut cream into a bowl. Beat with electric beater until firm; it will not become as firm as whipped cream but should have some hold. Add vanilla essence or honey to sweeten as desired.


No surprises here. Dollop coconut cream on cupcakes. Place dehydrated flower on top. Blow away your end-of-winter blues with a summer simulation fiesta.

pineapple flowers

12 thoughts

  1. Beautiful! We definitely haven’t had the winter that you have, but a little bit of summer is sorely needed especially after the TORRENTIAL downpour of rain today. I’ve never made hummingbird cake before but it sounds like all the best things in one!

  2. Hey Christina – so this is where the pineapple from the Walking Challenge Wrap-up went?! Awesome! I’m not a dessert person, as I told you, but I do like seeing the lovely photos of the neat stuff you make. The pineapple flowers are delightful! As for rain in winter – we have had it a few times over my 19 winters here and believe me – it’s NOT a nice thing! One year we even had a rainbow over the airport on January – it poured down and was +8C. Within an hour – the roads were skating rinks with trucks in ditches *everywhere* It’s also really really really hard on wildlife. So, I’ll keep the cold and snow until early April – and then POOF – it’s gone in a few days. It’s amazing how fast it warms up and snow leaves.

    • Is that right!? Rain and +8 during winter! Does sound treacherous.. Yes I was so excited to have a special use for my pineapple! Twas a great chance to share with the consumers about the Norman Wells walking challenge! Great event – thanks once again 😀

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