The Best Banana Cake I’ve Ever Had

This is absolutely the best banana cake I've ever had! It's supremely moist with cream cheese frosting, tons of banana, brown sugar, and cinnamon flavor. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Remember that time I told you about the best banana cake I’ve ever had? It was over on Instagram.

I enjoyed obsessed over it at a family reunion the other weekend. Kevin’s cousin made it and I stalked her down like a dessert creep and proceeded to talk her ear off about cream cheese frosting and spotty bananas for 35 minutes straight.

What? You don’t do that at parties?

This is absolutely the best banana cake I've ever had! It's supremely moist with cream cheese frosting, tons of banana, brown sugar, and cinnamon flavor. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Ok but this banana cake.

It was the moistest cake I’ve ever eaten. Stick-to-the-back of your fork moist. The perfect cream cheese frosting, both sweet and tangy, sinking into the top of the cake made it even more moist. Sweet, but not overpowering. Mega banana flavor, certainly more banana flavor than any banana bread I’ve ever eaten. Very buttery and cakey from creaming the butter and sugars. Ridiculously rich, decadent.

The banana cake was dense, but not heavy. If that makes any sense? (Coming from the lady who talks about rotting bananas at social gatherings, but stick with me here.) The crumb was very soft, but they were tight crumbs. The cake didn’t fall apart when you took a forkful.

Lori told me this cake comes out perfect every time she makes it. And such perfection is reinforced, she told me, when absolutely everyone who has a slice begs her for the recipe. It is, hands down, the best banana cake I’ve ever had.

And I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

How to make the best banana cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Mashed bananas for the best banana cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The recipe starts with 3 mashed bananas (above). Now, make sure those bananas are nice and spotty. As you know, I’m very passionate about spotty bananas. The bananas you see above are just right. More brown spots = sweeter, more banana flavor. Your cake will thank you. I simply mash the bananas in my mixer– the same mixer I use for creaming the butter and sugars. Beat the bananas on high speed for a minute, then transfer to another bowl. I don’t even wash the mixing bowl– just throw the butter right in and start creaming!

I really love the mix of brown and white sugars in this banana cake. Brown sugar and banana pair wonderfully together and the brown sugar leaves the cake even more moist. Plus, a little brown sugar flavor is never a bad thing!

Let’s see, what else. Oh! The cinnamon. Just a little bit, nothing overpowering. 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon compliments the brown sugar and banana flavors.

Here’s the batter. There will be some pretty lumps.

Ok, let’s face it– are lumps ever attractive? Ever?

How to make the best banana cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

One more thing to note: buttermilk. Hey, how often do I express my love for buttermilk in desserts? You’re lucky I don’t hunt you down at parties and talk your ear off about… dairy.

But anyway, as you guessed, buttermilk is the moist-maker. The cake wouldn’t be what it is without it! I rarely have buttermilk in my refrigerator, unless I have a ton of baking to do that day, so I always sour whole milk instead. For this recipe, you’ll need 1 and 1/2 cups of buttermilk. So here’s what I do instead: measure 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar, then add enough whole milk until I reach 1 and 1/2 cups. Stir it around, let it sit for a minute, then pour into the batter. To keep the cake extra rich, I do recommend whole milk when you are souring milk– not any other milks.

So, soured whole milk OR buttermilk. Your two best bets in this banana cake.

The silkiest, best cream cheese frosting! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Is this not the silkiest and smoothest cream cheese frosting you’ve ever seen? Well, it’s the silkiest and smoothest cream cheese frosting I’ve ever tasted! It’s pretty similar to my favorite cream cheese frosting, but there’s a little less cream cheese for the amount of butter. So, this makes the frosting a little more silky. And definitely more buttery!

There’s also a lot of cream cheese frosting. You will think I’m crazy (-er than you already think I am). When you begin slathering it onto the cake, you’ll probably go “Sally, this is way too much frosting!” But it’s not. You want a nice thick layer. It’s essential to the cake’s overall awesomeness.

This is absolutely the best banana cake I've ever had! It's supremely moist with cream cheese frosting, tons of banana, brown sugar, and cinnamon flavor. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

 YUP. The best banana cake I’ve ever had. Let me know if you try it!

Best Banana Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 large ripe bananas (about 1 and 1/2 cups mashed)
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) buttermilk, at room temperature1

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) confectioners' sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup if needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. Make the cake: Mash the bananas. I usually just use my mixer for this! Set mashed bananas aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 1 minute. Add both sugars and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs and the vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in the mashed bananas. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix. The batter will be slightly thick and a few lumps is OK.
  5. Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely. After about 45 minutes, I usually place it in the refrigerator to speed things up.
  7. Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add 3 confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar (I add it). Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. This helps sets the frosting and makes cutting easier.
  8. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Make ahead tip: Prepare cake through step 5. Cover the cake tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature, make the frosting, frost, and serve. Frosted cake freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature or serve cold.

Recipe Notes:

  1. If you don't have buttermilk, you can add 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a large liquid measuring cup. Then add enough regular room temperature milk (whole milk is recommended) to make 1 and 1/2 cups total. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. This soured milk can be used in the recipe instead of buttermilk.

Cupcakes: I've gotten a few questions about turning this cake into cupcakes. For about 2 dozen cupcakes, fill the cupcake liners halfway and bake for about 20-22 minutes. Same oven temperature.

Did you make a recipe?

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

PS: Happy National S’mores Day. Here’s a new video for you. Try these. Try these!

Also, there may have been too much puppy partying on Kevin’s birthday yesterday…

pups 8-9-16

Creamy, silky, smooth, and simple cream cheese frosting! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com
This is absolutely the best banana cake I've ever had! It's supremely moist with cream cheese frosting, tons of banana, brown sugar, and cinnamon flavor. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

205 comments

  1. I was wondering about step 4 where it says “add both sugars” how much of the confectioner’s sugar do I use?

  2. Hello 🙂

    I’ve made this before (I mentioned I did it with a peanut butter cheesecake frosting!) and it was a BIG hit, particularly with my little boy. It’s his birthday on Monday and I was wondering if you had any suggestions on how to adapt this to make a sandwich sponge so he can have it as his birthday cake?

    Tricia

    PS – had your sweet chili chicken for dinner tonight – delicious!

    • That sweet chili chicken! So so so yummy. I suggest baking this batter in 2 9-inch cake pans. Cream cheese frosting between the two… confectioners’ sugar on top maybe? Would be so good!

  3. Sure is the Best Banana Cake Ever! Husband loves it and I’ve been searching for a good banana cake for 30 years, neighbour’s husband visited and grabbing his 2nd piece said “that’s bloody beautiful, don’t eat anymore I’ll be back tomorrow”. I sent some to the lake where son was going for a ride in a friend’s boat and next day got feedback “they loved your banana cake and said its the best banana cake they’ve ever had”. I made passionfruit icing which I reckon made it a bigger hit – I find frosting sticky and messy – doesn’t set. Here I was thinking the 2 of us would never be able to eat the 9 x 13″ slab and I’ll be needing to make another one. Bev

  4. I only have 1% milk — no good?? 

  5. My husband thought it was too sweet. I used four medium bananas. I think next time I’ll cut the white sugar to half a cup.

  6. Can you use cake flour? I’ve never used it but wanted to try with this recipe. 

  7. Can I add walnut pieces? 

  8. Hi Sally! I tried this cake and it was a massive hit. Thank you for an amazing recipe. My cousin recently asked me for the recipe and she tried it. She baked it in a Pyrex dish and she says there was a thin gooey layer at the bottom. When she baked the cake and checked it the toothpick came out clean. Any guesses why that could have happened?

  9. Made this cake and it was so delicious! My husband is now buying *too many* bananas so that they will turn brown and I will have to bake with them 🙂 Before eating my piece of cake, I heated it up in the microwave so the frosting was dripping down the warm cake. To die for. I think this frosting would also be delicious on cinnamon rolls… now to indulge in the next pregnancy craving! Sally’s recipes are proving too irresistible for me!

  10. Hi Sally! Thank you so much for always sharing such wonderful recipes. I’ve noticed an inconsistency in some of the weight measurements and I was hoping for you to clarify for me. I’ve always read that a cup of AP flour weighs 120g, but here (and in all of the other recipes I’ve made from you, because I make a lot) doesn’t reflect this conversion from cups to grams. Are you using a heavier AP flour than average? Should I follow your weight measurements or should I follow the 1 cup = 120 g if I’m not using the same flour as you? Thanks for the clarification! 

    • Hey Rachel! Anytime I weigh flour ( I always use king arthur) the 1 cup is about 124-125g. So not very far off the 120g.

  11. We had quite a few bananas that I needed to us and I didn’t want another

  12. HI Sally,

    Can I make this recipe in 9 x 13 pan or do I need to change the amount of ingredients?

    Thanks in advance.

  13. I made this cake today without the icing and it was really yummy! Also, I like the banana flavour so I used less vanilla extract. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!!!!!! I will be using it regularly.

  14. Hi Sally,
    Pls suggest , I want to do banana cake as a smash cake ..so what frosting will go with this as have to pipe rosettes also…
    Thanks 
    Cheers

  15. Hi! What is the measurement of milk and vinegar? Thanks

  16. Hi Sally! Do you have a preference in baking a 13×9″ cake in a glass or metal pan? Also, I know you often state what level shelf in the oven a recipe should be baked at, but is there a good rule of thumb? Thanks again for all the great recipes! I’m hoping when you do your tour for your new book , you can make it to LA this time!!!! Leah

    • Hey Leah! Thanks for the sweet comment. 🙂 Honestly, I prefer to bake cakes in glass pans. (Though I do sometimes use metal if glass is being used for something else.) Metal pans do take an extra minute or two, but if you use a toothpick to test for doneness you’re all set. Generally, cookies are good for 1-2 weeks and cakes– about a week!

  17. I know you said in another comment not to use cake flour, but that’s all I have on hand. Would it still come out ok?

  18. Hi sally, your banana cake recipe was really good…All the recipe s measurement s r so perfect… I hv tried ur chocolate chip cookies and red velvet cup cakes I loved them it was a super hit with my friends and family… ok can I use white chocolate frosting with ganache…for the banana cake…

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