Nasturtium Blossom Hummingbird Cake

Here is a delicious cheer me up sweet and gorgeous cake to celebrate spring and all things beautiful.  Where do I start to tell the tale of this cake –  the cake or about the blooms?  Let me start with the cake. 

The inspiration

I first had this delicious piece of cake called hummingbird cake at our local Peets coffee shop. It was moist and light, chock full of nuts, with a soft cream cheese frosting. 


I assumed it was called hummingbird cake because of all the nuts in the cake because it reminded me of a birdseed mixture, but as it turns out what I found out is that the reason it is called a hummingbird cake is because it tastes so good that it makes people hum   🎶🎵🎼🎼🎶🎶🎵.   We sure can use some humming right now 😚🎵🎼🎼🎶.   


I figured with all my nasturtiums blooming right now I might as well add these hummingbird loving edible flowers on the cake.  Hummingbirds love nasturtium blossoms!


What got me motivated to make this cake recently is all the nasturtiums that are blooming prolifically in my spring garden.


We all need something to cheer us up right now and between the sweet hummingbird cake and the brightly colored nasturtiums blossoms, surely these two will brighten any of our doldrums!


A little bit of cake history 🎂😀.

According to Southern Living Magazine, Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina created Hummingbird Cake back in 1978.  She shared her recipe for Hummingbird Cake with the magazine, which is a pineapple-banana spice cake with cream cheese frosting. This recipe is the most requested recipe in the history of Southern Living Magazine and is a Southern favorite.  Hummingbird Cake from Southern Living Magazine

The recipe

There are many recipes out there for Hummingbird Cake; I chose to make the one from Hummingbird Cake.  I found their ingredients and instructions to be very easy to follow and the cake looked just like the one I had at Peets.  Besides I love any recipe that reads  “Mix all ingredients together with hand.”   When was the last time you could use your hands to make a cake batter  🙌🏽??

My additions

I did modify the recipe a little as I didn’t have crushed pineapple as the original recipe requested and honestly had no idea if the stores would have any right now.  Instead I used fresh grated apple. 

I also recalled that Peets cake having the flavors of cinnamon and spices and decided to add them in my cake.  And lastly, I thought I would try a combination of all purpose flour and hazelnut meal this time and I’m happy to report that the cake turned out awesome!


Nasturtiums love sugar just like people 😀

Though I made the cake and decorated it in the late afternoon, the nasturtium blooms surprisingly stayed fresh all evening and into dinner time for almost 6 hours!  The kids and I realized that the reason these blooms stayed so happy for so long is because just like people these blooms were all perky on a sugar high from the stems sitting in the sweetened cream cheese frosting 😀🍰.


Here is a wonderful recipe for a moist light and delicious cake for a spring time pick me up called humming bird cake all decorated with beautiful nasturtium blossoms.


Nasturtium Blossom Hummingbird Cake:
adapted from Hummingbird Cake
with a few additions
makes two 9-inch cakes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup hazelnut flour or almond flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice or allspice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup apple sauce or grated apple
  • 2 bananas mashed
  • 1 cup chopped black walnuts (I used regular walnuts)
  • 20 nasturtium blossoms
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:

    • For the cream cheese frosting I chose the recipe from Food Network’s Paula Deen’s Hummingbird Cake Cream Cheese Frosting.   But I cut the sugar and butter in half, as I found the original taste to be too sweet and too buttery.  Here is my modified recipe. This will make enough frosting for a light cream cheese coating as a filling for the two layer cake and on top of the cake.

    • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 stick butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar 
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.  I used parchment paper at the bottom of the cake pans and then greased and floured them. This will assure that the cake comes out clean when cooked.
  • Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon powder, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

  • In a large bowl, combine the oil, eggs, apple, bananas, and vanilla.

  • Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture, add nuts and mix together by hand.

  • Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in center of each pan comes out clean, about 50 min – 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool on racks for 1 hour before frosting.

Decorate the cake

  • Prepare the frosting by blending together the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. 
  • Once the cakes are cooled place one cake on a platter.  Spread the cream cheese frosting evenly all over the cake.
  • Next layer on the second cake.  You can cut the part that is bulging to make the cake more flat so its easy to place on top.  Generously slather more of the cream cheese frosting on top.
  • You could have the cake just like this if you like 😀😋.
  • To Decorate:
    • Pick nasturtium blossoms.  Gently press the nasturtium blooms starting from the center.  Place a flower at the center and then start adding blooms in circles around the center bloom.  Do this by just sticking the stem of the blossoms into the cream cheese. Make sure the stems are in the cream cheese, that’s what keeps them staying fresh and perky.  For some added color I placed nasturtium leaves on the cake as well.
    • Cook’s Notes:  I noticed the cake looks the prettiest when the blooms are just sitting on the cake rather than pressing the bloom down into a flattened flower, which I did in some areas of the cake but realized it didn’t look as beautiful.  Also there is no need to place the cake in the refrigerator, as the nasturtium blooms tend to wilt in the cold of the fridge.
  • Once the cake is decorated to your liking, its ready to cut and be eaten with blooms and all!  Hummingbird Cake with Nasturtium Blossoms is ready!!
  • With a cup of coffee or tea or even a glass of milk, this cake is the perfect antidote to a social distancing type of day.

Don’t have nasturtiums?

Decorate with edible flowers such as pansies and rose petals.


Want to grow nasturtiums?  Check out this link The cheery nasturtium


For the original hummingbird cake made with bananas and pineapple here is the link Hummingbird Cake


Happy Sunday everyone!

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