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

278 comments

  1. I made this great cake again, but halved the sugars and added 1/3 cup of date syrup (pure). Came out very moist. It took only 40 minutes, and it was done. So good!!!

  2. Would you recommend this cake to be baked as a layer cake in 2 – 9″ pans?

    • Hi Julie! This recipe, as written, can make a two layer cake. I’m unsure of the bake time for each layer though.

  3. The cake turned out amazing I only put 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar in the dressing it’s so Good best cake I ever made 

  4. The cake was done in 35 minutes in a 9×13 on 350. My banana cake recipe has one half cup oil. The comments I received was that this cake was dry. Texture was a bit heavy. Icing was great. 

  5. This turned out so well. So many people commented on it. I added a 1/2 tsp of nutmeg as well and sprinkled nutmeg lightly over the icing. I will definitely make this again!

  6. This cake? Oh my. It has me insane. I want it so badly. It is perfectly moist!

  7. I’m so excited to try this! This is gonna be my first time trying this out! However, I don’t have a baking powder. Would it be okay to leave it out? Thanks a lot!!☺

  8. Hi! The recipe looks super yum. Would it be possible to use self-rising flour instead of AP?

  9. Hi there, for the buttermilk substitute – would it be ok to use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar?

    Thanks

  10. I made this cake today but unfortunately neither my boyfriend nor me enjoyed this cake. The cake on its own is already very sweet but the icing makes it inedible sweet. Is there an icing which uses less sugar and tastes fresher? Maybe a yogurt icing? It is a shame that the sugar completely overpowers the banana taste.

  11. Can I use Pyrex for this? I usually don’t use glass for baking 

  12. About how much do you mean by “3 mashed bananas?”

  13. I made this wonderful banana cake for a friend for his birthday upon his request.  I found your recipe, Sally, and what an enormous hit it was!  Thank you for sharing!  Oh, and by the way……Happy Birthday!

  14. Hi Sally! I want to make this today for the fam, but quick question. Should I bring the milk to room temp before souring it, or sour it and then let it sit out? 

  15. I just made this cake for brunch to celebrate my son’s graduation. It was moist and delicious. Cream cheese frosting was a big hit. I used very, very ripe bananas that I’d stored in the freezer.

  16. Can u use salted butter for the frosting?

    • Sure can! Then I would salt to taste instead of using 1/8 tsp. You may feel it doesn’t need added salt at all.

  17. This was SO GOOD. Everyone who tried it loved it. Thank you for the recipe – I will definitely keep making it!

  18. Omg! 
    Was so excited to make this after reading everything
    Cut the story short I bloody used self raising flour instead of APF. I can’t believe it, I was trying to figure out why it’s turned out so flat , sticky and just not right .. I can only imagine how nice it would’ve been HAD I used the right flour. How silly of me .
    I will just have to make it again in a few days 

  19. I’m about to slip this in the oven! I’ll put it on instagram when it’s cool! 🙂

  20. I made this cake for a work potluck last week. I followed the instructions for the cake and it was quite tasty. It was a bit smushed and denser at the bottom, not sure why. Could I have over-mixed?
    Also I found 300g of icing sugar more than enough for the icing. In fact I’d like it less sweet so some of the tanginess of the cream cheese can come through. Just a note for folks who prefer icing to be milder.

  21. Seriously the best dessert I have ever made. I LOVE this cake and if yours didn’t  turn out right, you should  try again. Trust me it’s like Cinnabony, moist, banana cake heaven. Thank you so much for this recipe!!!! 

  22. I made this for my mom’s party and my dad had a second slice. For a non banana cake person, that was a big deal! I didn’t hav e3 1/4 cup icing sugar, and after I wish I had, but it is a super yummy cake! I’m glad it can be frozen because otherwise I’d be eating way too much as leftovers! Thank you for sharing! 

  23. I saw above where you told someone it could be made a layer cake – but would it hold up to being covered with fondant and/or as a tiered cake?

  24. Hi Sally, I do not have whole milk or butter milk, but I have full fat cream.. would it be okay/ what difference will I see? THANKS SALLY! 

  25. I don’t eat sugar or flour, but I made this for my boyfriend. After it cooled completely, I iced it and put it in the fridge. It stayed overnight, and he took some for his lunch dessert today. Should I have kept it in the fridge for a couple of days before icing it? Will it still be scrumptious? I can’t even taste the cake to find out…..thanks…

  26. hi Sally I have some 1% buttermilk will that work

  27. I didn’t have any buttermilk handy, so subbed equal measures of full-fat milk and f-f Greek yoghurt. Just wanted to say this is the best banana cake recipe I’ve ever tried! Also the frosting is just the right balance between creamy and sweet. I normally don’t bother with frostings, simply because they are too sickly sweet for me. I bake for others quite a bit, and even though I love banana cake I’ve never felt I had a good enough recipe to bake it for others… until now! So thanks!! :o)

  28. I made this today and it was a success! Thank you for the recipe!

  29. Really like walnuts in banana cake, and desperately want to try your recipe.  Would a cup of diced nuts added spoil the texture of your recipe?  Yes I do think your pups had a  great time at the birthday party!

  30. Can I use gluten free all purpose flour?

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