Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Banana Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Best banana layer cake recipe with brown butter cream cheese frosting!! So easy to make. Moist, delicious, simple homemade cake! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Happy eclipse day!! Doing anything special for the big event? Did you get your hands on those coveted eclipse glasses? My answers: no and no. I’m so boring. I’ll just stay inside with the pups and feel weird for those few minutes when it’s a little dark out at 2:30 in the afternoon.

Come back and tell me how cool it was to see, ok?

And one more thing before I get to the recipe chitchat. Will you just look how cute this is?! Jude has been very protective and clingy my whole pregnancy, especially these past couple months. He always lays his head on my lap when I’m on the couch. Heart = MELTING.

Best banana layer cake recipe with brown butter cream cheese frosting!! So easy to make. Moist, delicious, simple homemade cake! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Let’s get into the good stuff. I’ve been meaning to bake my favorite banana cake as a banana layer cake for the past year. Do you remember when I shared my love/obsession for this banana cake? You know, the cake recipe I stalked Kevin’s cousin for like a complete lunatic? Turns out, it’s just as moist/perfect/unbelievable as a layer cake too.

Here’s why it’s my favorite banana cake:

  • Front-and-center banana flavor.
  • Buttery and cakey.
  • Cinnamon-spiced.
  • Dense without tasting too heavy.
  • Soft crumb that holds its shape.
  • Easy to make, very basic ingredients.

Just read the reviews— the cake is phenomenal.

Baking the banana cake as a layer cake changes the frosting to cake ratio. More layers = more frosting in each bite. That’s certainly something we’re all OK with. Also, aren’t layer cakes a bit more fancy? I don’t know about you, but I always feel more accomplished/fancier serving a layer cake vs a sheet cake.

La-di-da look at my tall masterpiece sort of thing.

How to make banana layer cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

But we’re not only changing the shape and presentation of the banana cake today. We’re also serving it up with THE BEST FROSTING TO EVER HIT YOUR LIPS. Dramatic? Who… me?

And the frosting is what I really want to focus on today.

I’m not sure why I waited 32 years to make brown butter cream cheese frosting (??) and hopefully you won’t wait another second either. It’s everything you love about cream cheese frosting– tangy and sweet, but not as tooth-decaying sweet as buttercream. Creamy, thick, silky, smooth. Yep, all of the above. But this version has brown butter hiding inside. Those specks of nutty toasty buttery goodness bring cream cheese frosting up about 700 notches on the delicious scale. Do you want to upgrade a great dessert into the mega-watt billionaire of desserts? Add brown butter.

It’s in your best interest to try this frosting… NOW.

How to make brown butter cream cheese frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Let’s break it down.

√ Brown butter on the stove. (above left)
√ Refrigerate it until solid. Cream it. (above right)
√ Add cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla ,and salt.

We’ve reached frosting nirvana.

How to make brown butter cream cheese frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Time saving tip!!! Browning the butter and refrigerating it until solid is a whole extra step, but do this before you even start the cake. By the time the baked cake has cooled, the brown butter is ready to be whipped into frosting.

Have I mentioned how creamy this stuff is???

Frosting banana layer cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make brown butter cream cheese frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

In an effort to be hip and cool (and I realize typing/saying “hip and cool” means I’m neither), I went with the trendy naked cake style! I piled the frosting inside and on top of the cake, but left the edges a bit… nude. And I really like how it turned out!

I brought this cake over to our friends and it was like I gave them a block of gold or something. (Told you layer cakes are the fanciest!!) They were impressed by the cake’s flavor and texture, but kept enthusiastically raving about the combination of banana/cinnamon/cream cheese frosting/brown butter.

I promise you’ll understand what all the fuss is about after 1 bite.

Best banana layer cake recipe with brown butter cream cheese frosting!! So easy to make. Moist, delicious, simple homemade cake! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Best banana layer cake recipe with brown butter cream cheese frosting!! So easy to make. Moist, delicious, simple homemade cake! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Will ya just look at how moist this cake is??

Banana Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

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 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 temperature

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 8-ounce blocks (12 ounces) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups (480g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease three round 9x2 inch cake pans. Set aside.
  2. **Time-saving tip** Brown the butter in step 8 now, then place into the refrigerator to solidify as instructed below. This will save time when you're ready to make the frosting.
  3. Make the cake: Mash the bananas. I usually just use my mixer for this! Set mashed bananas aside.
  4. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
  5. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. 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. A few lumps is OK.
  6. Divide batter evenly between 3 pans. Bake for 22-26 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely in the pan.
  8. Make the frosting: Slice the butter up into pieces and place in a light-colored skillet. (Light colored helps you determine when the butter begins browning.) Melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Keep stirring occasionally. After 5-8 minutes, the butter will begin browning-- you'll notice lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan and it will have a nutty aroma. See photo above for a visual. Once browned, remove from heat, and immediately pour into a heat-proof bowl. Refrigerate until solid.
  9. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the solid brown butter on high speed until creamed. Add the cream cheese and beat on high speed until combined, smooth, and creamy. Add 4 cups 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.
  10. Assemble and frost: Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and evenly cover the top with frosting. Finish with the third cake layer and spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Garnish with chopped nuts. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before slicing or else the cake may gently fall apart as you cut.
  11. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Make ahead tip: Prepare cake through step 7. Wrap the individual baked cake layers 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:

Want to bake the cake in a 9x13 pan? Here is that recipe.

Want to bake cupcakes? For about 2 dozen cupcakes, fill the cupcake liners halfway and bake for about 20-22 minutes. Same oven temperature.

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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.

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Hummingbird cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Best banana layer cake recipe with brown butter cream cheese frosting!! So easy to make. Moist, delicious, simple homemade cake! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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How to make homemade brown butter frosting! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

118 comments

  1. Hi Sally!  How would you suggest to thicken the frosting somewhat to make it a pipable consistency?

  2. Hi Sally! I’ve been a long-time lurker of your site but have yet to make any of your recipes until last night when I made this cake. And oh-my-goodness! It was divine. So moist, tender, and flavorful! The frosting was unbelievable — when I tasted it I swore I would never make regular cream cheese frosting again. Thank you for such an outstanding recipe! This one is definitely a keeper. 

  3. Absolutely gorgeous banana bread. Best ever!!!!

  4. I make a browned butter icing for my sour cream cookies. When I made this cake and made the icing, I thought this would taste amazing with my browned butter mixed in… now I KNOW I will try it 🙂

  5. Hi Sally! Can you tell me how long I’d bake if I just want to have two layers? Thanks!!

    • Hi Elizabeth! The bake time will be quite a bit longer because the cakes will be extremely thick. I’m unsure of that exact time.

  6. Hey Sally! Quick question, can I make this cake in a bundt pan? If so, do I need to make any changes? 

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