HUMMINGBIRD CAKE – a very special birthday cake for a very special mother

“A party without cake is just a meeting.” — Julia Child.

Hi there,

Continuing with honoring mothers during the month of May, it is my pleasure to introduce Robbie Cheadle and her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton. Both mother and daughter are writers and co-authored a book called While the Bombs Fell. It is the story of Elsie’s experience living through the bombing of England during WW2.
Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with ten children’s books and two poetry book.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions that children can make under adult supervision. Robbie has also published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes two monthly posts for called Growing Bookworms and Treasuring Poetry and one monthly post, under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle, called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends. Robbie has a blog, where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

What follows is Robbie’s story:

My mom turned 80 three years ago. She has never had a party and so I decided to throw a party for this ‘big’ birthday. She chose a flower theme and everyone in the family helped with different aspects of the arranging. One sister sent out the party invitations and coordinated the responses, another brought the fruit punch, and my dad went with my mom to choose flowery material and made all the overlays for the tables. I hired the outside tables and chairs, organized the food, and made the birthday cake.

Robbie and her mother, Elsie, and the book they wrote.

This cake was a big undertaking. One of my younger son, Michael’s, favorite stories when he was three, was about a witch called Winnie who through a huge birthday party for herself. Winnie creates a 10-layered birthday cake, and each layer was a different flavor. I remembered this story (which I had read many times) and decided to make a five-tiered cake with each cake a different flavor. The theme of the cake would be flowers. 

I set about making 30 hibiscus flowers from fondant (sugar dough) to decorate this cake. I used a variety of colors including pink, purple, yellow, orange, and red. I baked the four layers: the first and largest was a fruit cake, the second was a hummingbird cake, the third was a vanilla and chocolate marble cake, the fourth was a chocolate pudding cake, and the fifth was a strawberry jelly cake. Each cake had a different icing. I used royal icing for the fruit cake, cream cheese icing for the hummingbird cake, dark chocolate ganache for the third and fourth-tiers, and strawberry flavored buttercream for the top layer. 

The day before the party was a marathon of icing and assembly with the hibiscus flowers being added to the final product. I was pleased with the final cake and mom was thrilled.

Recipe for hummingbird cake

Ingredients: 3 cups (1 cup = 250 ml) white cake flour, 1 1/2 cups white sugar, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon, ground cinnamon, 4 eggs, lightly beaten, 1 1/2 cups sunflower oil, 1 can (400 grams) crushed pineapple with the juice, 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecan nuts, 5 large, mashed bananas, and 2 teaspoons vanilla essence.


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a deep 30 cm cake tin (must be deep as this cake is soft and will break if it is thin). Mix the sifted flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, and cinnamon together. Add the oil and combine. Add the beaten eggs and mix well. Stir in the pineapple with its juice, nuts, bananas, and vanilla essence. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. The cake will be firm and not move when you move the tin back and forth. Allow to cool and turn out onto a cake board.

Recipe for cream cheese icing:

Ingredients: 250 grams firm cream cheese, 250 grams butter (softened) 2 cups icing sugar, sifted, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence.


In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy and combined. Add the icing sugar slowly and beat between each addition. Finally, stir through the vanilla essence.

Thank you, Bernadette, for this opportunity.



52 responses to “HUMMINGBIRD CAKE – a very special birthday cake for a very special mother”

  1. 💜 Gotta Love YOUR!!! Daughter; ain’t Eating No Salad except Occasionally


  2. What a wonderful thing to do for your mother, Robbie. You are so talented. I’m sure she was delighted. Thanks for sharing the Hummingbird Cake recipe.

  3. Pretty, pretty cake! Tasty looking, too, which of course is the important part. Thanks!

  4. 💜 Our Bodies Fluctuate EveryOne whether Male, Female or Other; the Weight Loss Industry Contributes to Health Issues like Anorexia and Bulimia so, personally, I Would Rather Die Happily from OverEating than Dying from Dieting, Being a Human Skeleton Before I Die 💀 ☠️ 💔 😢 😄 😑 💀 just like Mr Creosote and a “Wafer Thin Mint” Those who ARE Familiar with Monty Python WILL!!! Know Exactly What I Mean 😂🤣😅😆😁😄😃😀🙂


  5. Wow, Robbie that’s some cake I’m sure your mum was absolutely delighted its beautiful 🤗… I have never made hummingbird cake will definitely give it a try thank you for sharing the recipe😘x

  6. That cake is a showstopper!!! I love how playful your friend made this cake to celebrate her mom. I’d have a tough time choosing just one slice from this masterpiece. Hummingbird cake is a BIG deal here in the South, and I just love it.

  7. Oh wow Robbie, what a wonderful cake and such a special birthday for you mum.
    Everyone helping and all pulling together.
    Including Michael with his idea of the layered cake..
    Thank you for sharing. 🍰

  8. I remember when you were making this cake, Robbie – what an undertaking! Hard to believe it’s been three years. I bet you mom loved both the cake and the party!

  9. I’ve eaten hummingbird cake, but I’ve never made it. The picture of Robbie with her mom is just lovely (as is the birthday cake). It must have been hard for guests to choose what flavor they wanted for their piece.

  10. Your cake IS a work of art, as readers exclaim. I am so glad hummingbirds are not baked into your cake, which sounds like a dark nursery rhyme.

    It is obvious creativity is looping through the generations. Your mother is precious!

  11. Of course, I love the cake, but the best part for me was that it was in your mom’s honor.

    We threw a 90th birthday party for my mother-in-law. On the day of the party, we discovered she was actually 91. At that point, there was no turning back and we pretended she was 90.

  12. Such a beautiful story and cake, Robbie. My mom loved hummingbirds, so I’ll have to try this cake in her honor and memory. Wonderful photo of you and your mom, too. 💕

Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. If you like this recipe, please give it to your friends.

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