Hummingbird Bars

For a while I have had Paula Deen's Hummingbird Cake in my to-bake list. But baking a three-tier cake with cream-cheese frosting does not make much sense unless you are baking for a crowd. So naturally, I had put the idea off for the time being when the inspiration for this lightened and somewhat healthier version of a Hummingbird Cake struck... a Hummingbird Bar ! If you've been here before , you probably have guessed already when and from where the inspiration came... Yes it was those Chocolate Banana Bars !

Chalking down a lightened recipe for these Hummingbird Bars wasn't difficult. As per my usual formula, I decided to replace half of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour, substitute an egg and half of the butter with applesauce, brown the remaining butter and use 1/4 cup of yogurt in place of the second egg. The next question was, whether or not to add the cream cheese frosting. Now I have never tasted a Hummingbird Cake in my life, but from what I gathered, bananas, pineapples and cream cheese seemed to be the signature ingredients of a Hummingbird Cake. I wasn't very willing to indulge, so instead of frosting the bars , I decided on a cream cheese-pineapple glaze...

I had expected to be blown away, or at least hum with pleasure after taking a bite of these Hummingbird bars. Sorry to say, that did not happen. On day one, that is the day I baked them, I was actually a bit disappointed with the way they turned out. The overwhelming smell of bananas put us off. I had expected an intense pineapple and coconut flavor, which was no where to be found. Sad at not being able to hum at my hummingbird bars, I put away the bars to "mature" in the refrigerator for the next two days. I had read somewhere that the hummingbird cake tastes better after 2 days and that review, dear friends, turned out to be pretty accurate. After resting in the refrigerator for 2 days, these bars, tasted exactly the way I had imagined they would. The banana smell had somewhat faded and the flavor of pineapple had become pronounced and with that thin cream cheese-pineapple glaze, the bars now tasted wonderful ! Yeah...success at last !

From then on, I loved these bars. Husband said that they would have tasted better with some embedded chocolate chips. I disagreed, for I firmly believe, "not all good bars need to be molded in chocolates... certainly not these ones...."
Hummingbird Bars

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen's Hummingbird Cake
Prep time: 15 minutes                    Cook time: 40-45 minutes                           Total time: 1 hour
Yield: 15 squares

For the cake
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 over ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pineapple, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup ground coconut powder
Cream Cheese pineapple glaze
  • 2 ounces low fat cream cheese
  • 3 tbsps powdered sugar
  • 1½ tbsp pineapple puree
  • few drops of lemon juice(optional)
  • 4-5 pecans, chopped
Cooking Directions
  1. Center a rack and preheat 375°F.
  2. Line a 9×13 inch baking tray with parchment paper and keep aside.
  3. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon into a medium sized bowl and keep aside.
  4. Brown the butter. For this, cut the butter into pieces and add it in a small sauce pan. Bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Once the butter boils keep a close eye on it. The period between the time when the butter begins to take on the golden brown color and the point when it burns is very little. There is a nice fragrance at the point when the butter browns.   I usually switch off the heat and keep the pan aside at that point. (I like the aroma and richness of browned butter and therefore boiled the butter. You can always chose to skip this step or use the same measure of vegetable oil.) 
  5. Put the mashed bananas, applesauce, sugar, Greek yogurt and vanilla extract in a large bowl, and beat in medium speed until a smooth batter is formed.
  6. Whisk the browned butter into the batter.
  7. Using a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients into the batter, then, stir in the pineapple pieces and finally the coconut powder.
  8. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared tray and turning once after 25 minutes, bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and springs back when pressed gently.
  9. Cool completely. Glaze the bars with cream cheese-pineapple glaze and refrigerate for a couple of hours before slicing into squares. As I mentioned above, these bar taste wonderful after 2 days.
For the cream cheese-pineapple glaze
  1. Beat the cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the pineapple puree, powdered sugar and lemon juice(if using) to the cream cheese and beat until a smooth creamy mixture is obtained.


  1. Visiting from Wine'd Down Wednesday linky party. I love healthier substitutions in desserts and can't wait to try these!

  2. What a beautiful name for a dessert! I had no idea you could substitute so many things in a dessert...thanks for sharing with Hump Day Happenings!

  3. These look wonderful Tanusree !!

  4. Fabulous treats! Thanks for linking up with What's Cookin' Wednesday!

  5. I love that you kept the flavors but lightened the load so to speak. Hummingbird cake is great but talk about calories! whew
    Thanks for sharing with us at The Southern Special
    Spatulas On Parade

  6. Humming bird bars are in my baking list too, delicious. Thanks for sharing with with Hearth and Soul blog hop.

  7. We will just love your Hummingbird Bars! Thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  8. I'm visiting from the Let's Get Real link party. I enjoy Hummingbird Cake, but don't make the time to make it often. I love these lighter version bars. I am looking forward to trying them soon. I will be featuring your recipe on this week's party, out later this afternoon. www.littlefamilyadventure.com

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes at our Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop on Ducks 'n a Row! What a mysterious recipe this is that it takes 2 days for the flavors to pop! Glad you went the extra distance to try the theory out!


Thanks for stopping by. It was nice having you here. Have a good day.

Take care and come back soon.
Best, Tanusree

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