Cake / Cheese / Dessert / Fruit

CNY-inspired recipe #2: Hummingbird Cupcakes

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Pineapples are ubiquitous during CNY, at least in South East Asia. Pineapples are consumed in the form of pineapple tarts, hung in the form of paper lanterns, or printed on ang pows (red packets). What is the reason for the obsession with this tropical fruit? Well, it’s all because the word for pineapple in the Hokkien dialect sounds like ‘prosperity comes’! So the Chinese, especially in Singapore, welcome each new year with hopes of  wealth and prosperity expressed through the humble pineapple.

This year, I wanted to keep to the pineapple theme but explore other uses for the ingredient apart from the usual pineapple tart. I started searching for pineapple cupcake recipes and ended up getting extremely inspired by hummingbird cupcakes. What are hummingbird cupcakes, you may ask? Well, rest assured that it does not contain any actual hummingbird parts and no birds, humming or not, were harmed in the process of making this cupcake.


Beautiful hummingbirds visit a friend’s flower feeder at their Vancouver apartment. Photo courtesy of Suet Ming

This hummingbird cupcake is a blend of three tropical ingredients – bananas, pineapples, and coconut. Some say it’s called the ‘hummingbird’ because it will make you hum with delight after the first bite. Others say it’s because your guests will descend on them like hummingbirds attracted to a flower. Whatever reason you subscribe to, fact is, it’s pretty good cake! Moist and fruity with all the tropical flavors of South East Asia, adorned with a pretty pineapple “flower”… one bite and you’ll be transported to a white sandy beach sipping a cold pina colada under the sun.

Hummingbird Cupcakes
(Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)
Yields: 20 cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 & 1/3 cups banana, mashed (2 to 3 large bananas)
2/3 cup canned pineapple cubes, drained and chopped
2/3 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1 cup (240g) sugar
3/4 cup (180g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C

2. Whisk butter, sugar and vanilla extract until homogenous. Then add eggs one at a time and mix till combined.

3. Stir in bananas, pineapples, and coconut.

photo 1

4. Sift remaining dry ingredients together, then fold into mixture.

5. Fill lined cupcake tray, then bake immediately at 350F/180C for 15-18 minutes, or until skewer inserted in middle comes out clean.

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6. Cool on a wire rack before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

300g cream cheese, softened
150g unsalted butter, room temperature
75g icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp pineapple syrup (reserved from the can of pineapples)

1. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.

2. Add sifted icing sugar and mix until combined.

3. Add pineapple syrup.

Tip: If you want a more concentrated pineapple flavor, reduce the syrup in a small pot over the stove

Tip: If you want a more concentrated pineapple flavor, reduce the syrup in a small pot over the stove

4. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

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Dried Pineapple Flowers

1 whole fresh pineapple

1. Remove skin and eyelets of pineapple. Slice pineapple cross-wise into very thin slices.

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2. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 250F/120C for 30 minutes. Flip pineapple slices around and bake for another 30 minutes.

3. Transfer slices to a muffin tin to form rounded shape, then dry out in oven for another 15-20 minutes.

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4. Remove from oven to cool, then place on top of piped cupcakes.

Tadaaa... hummingbird cupcakes that taste as pretty as they look!

Tadaaa… hummingbird cupcakes that taste as pretty as they look!

If you missed the previous CNY-inspired recipe…

CNY-inspired recipe #1: Gluten-free Coconut Macaroons

14 thoughts on “CNY-inspired recipe #2: Hummingbird Cupcakes

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  7. Mag, can i order these cupcakes from u?! They look amazing!!! Btw, i also think you really write well– enjoyed reading your blog entries!

  8. Hi Mag,
    Thank you for your beautiful blog. You have no idea how much I learn from it. I have just beginning to get interested in baking and find that decorating cake with fondant and/or cream is tricky in Singapore. I use cream cheese frosting (our favorite) and ice it over cupcakes and find that it will melt in two second. Your recipe is different from the one I use. You use almost three times the amount of butter and 1/4 the amount of icing sugar in the recipe I use. Do you find your cheese frosting recipe holds up in our weather? Thanks a lot in advance.

    • Hi Susan,

      Sorry for the late reply. Have you tried my cream cheese recipe yet? Sounds like your frosting is too soft. You might want to try to refrigerate your frosting until the right temperature and consistency before piping. Or immediately pop the piped cupcakes in the freezer for a while to set them. Hope this helps!

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