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. 9×13 Cake: Here is that recipe.
  3. 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

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215 Comments

    1. Granulated sugar is your typical white sugar sold in practically every grocery store or supermarket, at least in North America. It’s the white sugar you will see in packets in restaurants/cafes for coffee and tea.

      For future references:
      Caster or Berry sugar = A finer version of granulated sugar.
      Powdered or Icing sugar = white sugar ground into powder.

      Hope this helps! To others also reading this comment, please correct me if I am wrong! Thank you!

      1. Awesome help there! Also, the casters or berry sugar is also called baker’s sugar in USA, too… hope that helps, too…

  1. Hey – I love your page and the recipes. So detailed and well explained! Can I half this recipe and bake in a single layer 8*3 inch round pan? I don’t want to do a layer cake as I don’t have time to prepare and bake thrice and my oven can’t hold 2 or 3 pans at a time. Many thanks.

    1. OHMYGOD!!!! We have the same name!!!! That never happens! And we both love Sally! lol this is really cool, I never meet people with my name!

  2. Question about this and you other “best” recipe I’ve had for a while —

    Can you use frozen ripe bananas? I often have bananas get to the perfectly spotty stage and no chance to bake, so I freeze them for smoothies. Wondering if defrosting and using would have the same results?

  3. Made this and I didn’t get the browned butter right, but it’s still absolutely delicious with the cream cheese frosting! I used 1 frozen ripe banana thawed and 2 non frozen ripe ones and turned out well. I’m all about more frosting in each bite 😀 Thanks for a great recipe!
    Oh, and best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy! That’s so cute about Jude! I’m due Friday, so I know how you feel, hang in there!

      1. Thanks thanks! Healthy baby boy born yesterday and healthy mama (and papa 🙂 Best of luck to you in the rest of your pregnancy and delivery! You’ll do great!

  4. Sally, I missed this post until now but I made your original best ever banana cake on 13-Aug-2017 as a 2 layer cake and some cupcakes as I didn’t have a sheet pan big enough! Great minds! I frosted the middle of the cake with salted caramel frosting and according to my husband it was delicious, he ate the whole thing in 3 days! We made the cake because he wanted to make it and in reality all he did was mash the bananas, I did everything else, typical! Lx

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

    I have never tasted anything better, good job.

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

  7. Hey Sally! For the 9×13 version, I notice the brown butter has been omitted. Can we still use it or will that make too much/too thick frosting in that version?

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. This was such an easy cake to make, even living in Kazakhstan!  I used keifer in place of buttermilk and it came out perfect.  Since I only have 2 cake pans I just made mine 2 layers.  It came out perfect!  I then decorated it for a 3 year olds birthday!  The frosting is sooo good!!!

  11. I really enjoyed the flavor of this cake, but I had some issues with the bake / texture. My cake was very close-textured and almost rubbery, and when I had divided the batter into 3 pans, I had very limited amount of batter in each pan (much less than I had expected). I felt I could have easily done this as a 2 layer cake and gotten taller individual layers. As a 3 layer cake, my layers were very short (maybe 1 inch?). The only issue I could have seen is maybe that the bananas were ripe ones I had thrown in the freezer and then dethawed for use in the cake. I usually do this for banana bread, but maybe it doesn’t translate for a cake? Let me know your thoughts, as I loved the flavor and would like to make it again with more success.

  12. 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!

  13. I can’t wait to make this for my husbands birthday!

    I’ve made banana bread before and never used buttermilk. Is it a necessary component/do you have any swap suggestions?

  14. 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?

  15. I’m making your pumpkin cake now and also your yummy brown butter frosting. I noticed there is 1 more cup confectioners sugar in the brown butter frosting vs. Your regular cream cheese frosting. Is there a reason for this? Thanks so much!

    1. Hey Cindy! This brown butter cream cheese frosting yields a higher amount to frost a larger layer cake. There is also more cream cheese too.

  16. Hi Sally!
    The cake looks amazing? What do you think about adding nuts? Would this work, and if so, how many do you recommend?
    Thanks!

  17. Do you think the frosting would work well with the addition of cinnamon like you have in your cinnamon cream cheese frosting or would it be too many flavours? if yes, would 1/2 teaspoon be sufficient?

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