• Hummingbird layer cake with pineapple flowers (Chris Middleton)Source: Chris Middleton

This banana cream cheese frosting is sublime! The pineapple flowers take some time to dry out, but they don’t require much effort. I've found that I get the best results with a ripe pineapple – the flowers have a better, brighter colour and dehydrate more rapidly. They're not only pretty, but edible and truly delicious, too. The pineapple flowers can be made a few days in advance.






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (15 votes)


  • 1 ripe pineapple
  • 2 x hummingbird cakes, omitting the flaked coconut topping
  • citrus leaves, to decorate 


Banana cream cheese frosting

  • 1 small banana, peeled
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 500 g (18 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 lemons, zest finely grated
  • 250 g (9 oz) butter, chopped into cubes and softened
  • 320 g (11 oz/2 cups) dextrose

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat the oven to 80°C/175°F (fan-forced). Line two large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

Top and tail the pineapple and cut away the skin. There will be some pineapple ‘eyes’ remaining, but don’t worry, you can trim them later. Cut the pineapple into discs with a very sharp knife, about 2 mm (¹⁄8 in) thick. Trim any remaining ‘eyes’, if necessary, and blot the pineapple discs on kitchen paper to soak up the excess moisture.
Place the discs on the prepared trays in a single layer and bake for 2–2½ hours, turning every half an hour, until the discs are almost dry and the edges are starting to turn up. Lightly press the discs into mini-muffin or cupcake tins to create flower-like shapes. Bake for a further 30 minutes or until the flowers hold their shapes when lifted. Leave to cool in the tins. If not using straight away, store in an airtight container for 3–4 days.

Make the hummingbird cakes, omitting the flaked coconut topping. Cool completely and cut one-third off the length of each cake. You will end up with two 20 cm (8 in) (approximately) squares and two rectangles to create three layers.

To make the banana cream cheese frosting, mash the banana in a bowl with a fork until quite smooth. You will need about 95 g (3¼ oz) mashed banana. Stir in the lemon juice and set aside. 

Beat the cream cheese and lemon zest with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the butter 4–5 cubes at a time and beat until light and fluffy. Add banana mixture and the dextrose a few spoonfuls at a time, and beat until well combined. Spoon about 160 g (5½ oz/1 cup) of the frosting into a piping bag with a 1.5 cm (½ in) plain nozzle. Refrigerate until required. (If necessary, before use, bring back to room temperature and re-beat until smooth and creamy.)

Put a little dollop of frosting in the centre of a serving plate and place four strips of baking paper around the edge. This will help to keep the plate clean of any icing. Place one of the square cakes on the prepared plate. Spread about 160 g (5½ oz) of the frosting over the cake, taking it just over the edges. Repeat with the two rectangles, then the final square of cake, which you should place bottom-side up (to achieve sharp edges). Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Remove the protective strips of baking paper from under the edges of the cake. Pipe little dollops of reserved frosting on the cake and decorate with the pineapple flowers and citrus leaves.

The cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, but is best served at room temperature or only slightly chilled.


Recipe and image from Incredible Bakes That Just Happen to be Refined-Sugar Free by Caroline Griffiths (Smith Street Books, $39.99 hbk) .

View more refined sugar-free recipes from Incredible Bakes here.

View our Readable feasts review and more recipes from the book here.