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?

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 over 30 years to turn regular cream cheese frosting into brown butter cream cheese frosting? Learn from my mistake and don’t waste any more time. 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. I wrote an entire tutorial on how to brown butter so you can learn exactly how it’s done!

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.

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

I brought this cake over to our friends and it was like I gave them a block of gold or something. 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

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Banana Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 55 minutes
  • Yield: serves 10-12
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Want to serve the most impressive homemade dessert? This banana cake with brown butter cream cheese frosting is loved by all!


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, softened to 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease three round 9×2 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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: 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.
  2. Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a DIY sour milk substitute. Add 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1 and 1/2 cups. (In a pinch, lower fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk, but the cake won’t taste as moist or rich.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.
  3. 9×13 Cake: Here is that recipe.
  4. Cupcakes: For about 2 dozen cupcakes, fill the cupcake liners halfway and bake for about 20-22 minutes. Same oven temperature.

You might also like my hummingbird cake!

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

203 Comments

  1. Hanna Giang Anh says:

    As a banana lover, I can confirm that this recipe just rocks my world.

    I have never tasted anything better, good job.

  2. Just made this recipe today. The cake is amazing and that brown butter icing is divine. Will definitely make this again!

    1. So happy you liked it!!

  3. I just made this cake and it is soo good! I forgot about it in the oven and ended up cooking it too long and it STILL turned out wonderful! And the combo of the frosting and cake is unbelievable. My 2 year old kept asking to lick spatulas 🙂 I will definitely be saving this recipe, thanks Sally!

  4. I made this for a birthday party and everyone loved it! Amazing flavor with the brown butter. 

  5. Can I use coconut sugar instead of granulated/white/brown sugar? 

    1. I haven’t tried it with this cake before, so I cannot speak from experience. Let me know what you try!

  6. Ok, so I made this cake and I had to report–cake is great but really OHMYGAWD the FROSTING yes it justisfies this many caps it justifies angels singing a chorus of oh the heavenly billows of frosting.  Please do yourself (ok not your waistline but your heart of hearts) a favor and make this frosting and lavish it on yourself and the world.  Amen.

  7. Hi Sally, 
    I love your recipes. For my friend’s birthday I wanted to make this frosting with chocolate cream cheese frosting (since I want to add black food colouring it says a chocolate frosting base is best) do you know if the frosting recipe would change if I use chocolate cream cheese?

    1. Hi Caterina! I would simply replace some of the confectioners’ sugar with cocoa powder. Add a little at a time until you reach the desired chocolate flavor you want!

  8. Hi! I just made the pumpkin cake with the brown butter cream cheese frosting…holy moly, that is a LOT of frosting for a 9×13. If I wanted to make less next time, would you suggest I use your regular cream cheese frosting recipe and brown the whole stick of butter (or is that too much butter)? I sort of think that I could cut down the brown butter to 6T, 8 oz cream cheese and 3 cups powdered sugar, but I am not that savvy of a baker. What do you think?

    1. You can use my cream cheese frosting recipe and brown the butter for it (which is 1/2 cup/1 stick). OR you can halve it to make less frosting as that recipe makes only slightly less than this.

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

    1. If you chill the cream cheese frosting before piping it, it will hold its shape SO much better!

  10. 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. 

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

  12. Hi Sally!
    I’ve been reading your recipes & watching your videos for about 6 mos. now. Had not tried making any cake from scratch until Christmas 2016, when I finally found a recipe for a true Italian Rum Cake. That is & has remained my favorite for the past 53 years (don’t want to give away my age,tee hee), but you can tell that I was “mature” when I tried baking from scratch! Lol!! Of course, I couldn’t pick an easy cake, for my 1st, but since reading your blog & watching your videos, I now realize how I could have made that cake a LOT easier on myself!! Even now, I shy away from anything that uses the words “stand mixer” or “paddle or whisk attached “. I only have a hand mixer with beaters & had to borrow a neighbors stand mixer for the rum cake. I HATE to have to borrow ANYTHING from anyone! I live on a $1231/mo. Social Security check & my rent has now gone over 50PCT of that. So now after paying rent, electric, cable, life insurance, renter’s insurance, & the only charge acct I have, I’m lucky to have $230 for everything else needed to live on, so there is NO way I could afford to buy a stand mixer of any reasonable quality which is why winning that stand mixer would REALLY be a God send!!! I don’t mean to sound like I’m “poor mouthing” it, just telling you the facts. I will be sending you the recipe for the rum cake via email so that you may be able to offer your welcomed & helpful tips & tricks.
    Now, as for this banana cake, can I make the frosting with my hand mixer & beaters? That frosting looks & sounds delicious & the entire literally made my mouth water. Maybe, I should have put a bib on before reading it!! Also, have you ever worked with “Russian” decorating tips? A neighbor, here in our 55+ complex inherited them when her aunt passed. Since she already had a set, I became their new proud owner. I know that I certainly can’t make the icing the icing stiff enough needed for these tips with my little hand mixer!! Since my youngest is almost 35 & lives in Australia & the closest of the other 2 is almost 400 miles away is a nurse manager at a very large hospital, as well as a clinical instructor, well let’s just say I feel lucky to see them a couple of days a year, i have REALLY wanted to take up baking & decorating cakes!! I think it would be a “sweet” use of all the extra time I have these days, which is where YOU cime in. Of all the MANY blogs & shows I have read & watched, YOURS is my favorite!! The way your recipes & directions are wrtten & the language you use make it seem like we are at the kitchen tables sharing a cup of coffee & recipes. It seems you explain anything I don’t understand, as if I just asked to to do so. Your videos are phenomenal & it is FUN to watch you work. I am trying, with your help to become a “self taught” baker & decorator. Suffice it to say YOU can teach an “older” baker (to be) new tricks!! Ha ha ha! I am absolutely in AWE of the way your site has been re-developed!! I loved.the way it was & am now “head over heels” in love with it❤. I realize this.is a LOOONG question, comment, but I promise to not make any other comments comments this week, during the giveaway. Don’t know if each comment is counted as an entry or not, however; if so just the length of this one should count exactly as 1 (one) Lol! Seriously, I will email the recipe & directions for the Italian Rum Cake as I receved it with the directions I followed. Will also comment what I think about it after learning things from you. BTW, the cake turned out almost the way I remembered it & the residents,her that were lyckt to get a slice RAVED about it!! I say lucky because I lost count of the number people that came, requesting a slice, after hearing someone raving about it.
    Thank you so very much, Sally, for answering my question & for the opportunity to win a MUCH needed a stand mixer.

    1. Hi Sheri, I’m glad you found the blog! Italian Rum cake sounds delicious! You can certainly make the frosting for the banana cake (and any other frosting) with your hand mixer – I use mine all the time! Happy baking!

  13. Hello! I’d love to try out this recipe but am coeliac. Would you know how the recipe can be amended to use gluten free ingredients?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Rachel! I wish I could help, but I have very little experience baking with GF flours and adjusting recipes to be GF. Hopefully another reader can chime in to help!

  14. This cake was delicious and moist and my difficult to make. The frosting part was also delicious who knew how tasty brown butter could be!? But. It was way way too funny to frost the cake. I chilled it for a little bit not nearly long enough. When I put it on the cake it oozed out of the Center and became a bit of a mess. After chilling the cake in the freezer with the runny frosting for at least 20 minutes it held its shape better. Maybe my apartment was very hot but I’d recommend anyone making this to chill their frosting!! I’d make this again, I’d just chill the frosting before applying. Thanks for the recipes, want to try your strawberry cake next!

    1. I’m glad you made it work for you! If your frosting is runny you can always add more sugar to thicken it up!

  15. What other frostings would you recommend for this recipe please? I adore this cake recipe and am making it for a relative’s birthday, but they are allergic to cheese so I can’t use this particular frosting. Thanks!

    1. You can use any type of buttercream! Vanilla… or peanut butter or cinnamon buttercream would both be fantastic!

  16. I made this today because of all of the reviews and it was DELICIOUS! Perfect I’m every way and I wouldn’t change a thing.
    It was a cake for my MIL ‘s birthday and she just loved the frosting!
    Thank you so much!

  17. Sue Sadler says:

    Hi Sally. This cake looks absolutely wonderful, as do all your recipes. I have a question about tin sizes. I’m in the UK and our standard cake tin size is 8”, whereas in the US it seems to be 9”. To avoid complicated mathematical formula, I would be happy to use the ingredient amounts you use and make cupcakes with the leftover batter. My query is: how much batter should I put in each tin, i.e. should I fill up to half or two thirds of the tin? Any help you can give me would be much appreciated.

    1. Hi Sue! This is a great question. I recommend filling the 8-inch cake pans halfway, then using any leftover batter for cupcakes. The cupcakes take about 18-20 minutes, but I’m unsure about the exact time for the cake layers. Use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  18. Hi Sally,
    I want to bake one cake instead of three but I’m not sure about baking time, 55- 60 min or more?
    Loooooove your blog and adore every single recipe of yours, you are my STAR
    Best wishes
    Margaret

    1. Thank you so much! Here is the same banana cake recipe as a single layer cake. 🙂

      https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2016/08/10/best-banana-cake/

  19. Bernadette deGonzague says:

    How would this cake do as bottom tier in a 2tier cake?

    1. I have never used this recipe for a tiered cake but as long as you support the top tier correctly I don’t see why it wouldn’t work!

  20. Peyton Wright says:

    Hey Sally,
    I don’t eat bananas but would love to try your recipe with Sweet Potatoes. What do you think?

    1. I have never tried it so I really don’t know how that would turn out!

  21. Hi Sally
    Love your site, and I have all your books.
    I just finished making this recipe and since I didn’t have 3-8″or 3-9′ pans, I used 2-9″, and 2-6″, and pleased to report the two different layer cakes are “resting” in the fridge. BTW: frosting is delicious! I can attest to the taste of the cake batter, most pleasing;) One cake is for my son’s office and one for family, which leads me to this query. How do you store a layer cake, when it specifies wrapped? Do you have a special container, or a unique wrapping technique? If so, any tips would be helpful, and appreciated.
    I will give an update on cake after we cut into it.
    Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Carol! Thank you so much for making this banana layer cake! No special tricks for storing– I simply wrap an assembled/frosted layer cake loosely in plastic wrap. The frosting will stick tot he plastic wrap a little bit and that’s, unfortunately, unavoidable with tall cakes!

  22. Hi Haley, you can experiment with different cake pans and see if that helps. I usually give my pans a few taps on the counter to release any air bubbles before going in the oven – but I found this link which provides some helpful information: https://www.kitchenhealssoul.com/large-holes-inside-of-cake/

  23. Been making your recipes for a while now. My husband is a big fan of your fruit pizza cookie dessert. I make banana cakes often but never would have thought to make a browned butter frosting. It is AMAZING. Not sure I can make plain cream cheese frosting ever again. I did change it a bit. Used the whole two packages of cream cheese because I hate having half a package left over and because…well…cream cheese. I also used vanilla bean paste for half the vanilla extract, just because I love the bean paste. Oh, and added an extra cup of powdered sugar since I added the extra cream cheese. Great recipe. Keep sharing!

    1. Browning the butter is a total game changer! I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  24. Hi Sally! Love this recipe! I’ve made it 3 times now and had a couple questions about the one I made recently:
    1. I froze the cake layers overnight (before frosting) for the first time- I’ve never frozen cakes before. Even though I wrapped it twice in plastic wrap and then in foil, and left it on the counter to defrost without unwrapping the next morning, the cake turned extremely dense and completely lost the light/ crumbly texture of a cake. Do you know what I might’ve done wrong?
    2. The colour of the cake layers was a sort of grey colour vs. your beautiful brown colour (I noticed after mashing the bananas they were grey in colour). Do you know why that might be?

    Your help/ advice would be so appreciated! I can’t seem to find anything online as to what would’ve gone wrong in my cake freezing. Thanks so much in advance!!

    1. Hi Beverly! I’m so glad you enjoy this banana cake recipe. Thank you for reporting back about it! And I’m happy to help answer your questions. So did you find that the cake that you froze was more dense than the cake you made previously (which you did not freeze)? Because the cake is going to be a little dense no matter what! I wonder if your bananas were more white than yellow? That would give your cake a beige/gray appearance. I don’t think it would have to do with freezing/thawing the cake.

      1. Hi Sally! Thank you so much for your quick reply you are a life saver! Yes the bananas were white so that explains the color! For the freezing though, I did notice the cake I made before that I didn’t freeze was a completely different texture to the frozen one. The frozen one became very gummy and dense, there was essentially no crumb to it. Do you have any idea what I might’ve done wrong? I live in Thailand where it’s very humid, not sure if that has anything to do with it.

  25. Excellent. Everyone i gave it to loved it

  26. Hi Sally. I just received a request for a banana cake, so naturally I turned to your site!!! I am a tall cake person ( I like my cakes to be at least 4 1/2-5″ tall). I see that you make this cake in 3 layers, and that is perfect for me. Do you know if I will get a tall cake with a single recipe? Should I double for taller layers, although I wonder if the density with banana won’t rise more….Looking forward to trying this recipe and the amazing frosting that you have shown with!!!

    1. Hi Paula! This cake, as written, is pretty tall. Especially with all the frosting inside. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

      1. Thank you, Sally. I know I won’t be disappointed!!

  27. Hi Sally,
    Do you have any advice to avoid curdling of the batter? I make sure to have all ingredients on room temperature and add liquids very slowly.. still I often have curdled batter (also with your lemon cake). Not sure if it is the reason, but the cake also seems denser than on your pictures (especially the bottom part of the cake). Let me know if you have any advice!

    1. Hi Zara! I’m unsure about the density issue– are you following the recipe closely? The batter looking curdled is completely normal. The room temperature ingredients are different textures, so there is bound to be some curdled looking batter with the solid/soft butter and liquid ingredients. It all comes together in the oven. 🙂

  28. Hi Sally,
    I can’t wait to try this recipe however I wanted to know if this frosting be colored to a shade of pink. I have been able to color cream cheese frosting just like we dye buttercream but not sure about brown butter cream cheese frosting. Thanks!

    1. Hi Nida! Yes, absolutely. I recommend gel food coloring.

  29. Hi Sandra! Yes, this frosting may be tinted. I recommend gel food coloring.

  30. Sally, your cake has once again hit the jackpot! It was just incredible ❤️ I made it for our huge dinner party today and the cake disappeared within minutes! Everyone was commenting on how moist it was. I was even worried that it would come out dry because I placed it in the fridge even though I never place any of my cakes in the fridge, but I felt it would taste much nicer cold. Yet it was still delicious and as moist as ever! I have recommended your recipes to everyone who asks! Thanks again

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