• Hummingbird cake (Chris Middleton)Source: Chris Middleton

I love that all the sweetness in this moist and tender cake comes from the fruit, so you don’t even need a replacement for sugar. I keep a stock of overripe bananas in my freezer for baking – when they’ve gone past the point of no return for eating, peel and place in a sealed container and pop them into the freezer. They’ll keep for 4–6 weeks. 






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (351 votes)


  • 265 g (9½ oz/2¾ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 440 g (15½ oz) tin crushed pineapple in natural juice
  • 2 large overripe bananas, mashed
  • 100 g (3½ oz/⅓ cup) apple purée (see Note)
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) fresh passionfruit pulp (about 3 plump passionfruit)
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 g (5½ oz) butter, melted
  • 20 g (¾ oz/⅓ cup) flaked coconut, for sprinkling


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 160°C/320°F (fan-forced). Grease a 20 cm x 30 cm (8 in x 12 in) shallow cake tin and line the base with non-stick baking paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a large bowl. Set aside.

Drain the pineapple – you can save the juice for another purpose. Combine the pineapple, banana, apple, passionfruit pulp and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the butter and the flour mixture until just combined.
Spread the mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle over the coconut. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until
a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before gently turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely, coconut-side up.

This cake will keep for 2–3 days in an airtight container.

If you want to take this cake to the next level, cover with a lemon cream cheese frosting and dried pineapple flowers. Get the instructions here.



• Apple purée helps to add bulk to recipes that have had the cane sugar removed, as well as providing natural sweetness and fibre. Peel, core and roughly chop 4 large apples (about 800 g/1 lb 12 oz). Put the apples and a splash of water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8–10 minutes or until tender. Stir and mash the apples, still over the heat, until broken down – they should be mushy and quite thick. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. It is fine to have a little bit of texture, but if you prefer a smooth sauce, whiz in a food processor or use a hand-held blender and purée until smooth. The purée will keep for 3–4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It also freezes well for a couple of months – portion the purée into small containers or spoon into ice-cube trays, freeze and seal in an airtight container. Makes 600 g (1 lb 5 oz/2 cups).


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.