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

Comments are closed.

  1. THIS FROSTING!! I made it last fall for the first time and just kept using it over and over. I always make sure I have a little extra to give to my mom, who likes to eat it with graham crackers. So easy yet so yummy!! Thanks Sally!!

  2. Can I use oil instead of butter?

    1. Hi Mariyam! I don’t recommend it. However, solid coconut oil should work for creaming. The final taste and texture will be a little different though.

  3. Hi there! Thinking about making this for my sons birthday. He loves bananas. I’m wondering if you ever tried browning the butter for the cake itself? Do you think this would be good? Thanks!

    1. I personally haven’t, but I’m sure it would be fantastic. The butter would need to be solidified in the fridge and then softened slightly at room temperature in order to work properly though. I recommend browning a little extra butter to ensure you have 3/4 cup softened brown butter.

      1. Good call yes, because the water will boil off. Thank you so much! Love the new YouTube series. It’s been awesome watching you evolve all of these years.

  4. Hi Sally! My friend has requested a banana nut cake for one of her tiers for the wedding cake I’m making. I of course would want to use your recipe, because they’re always delicious! I was wondering, if toasted pecans would work best instead of walnuts. And if so, how much do you think I should add? Thanks!

    1. Hi Leesa! I think toasted pecans would be delicious! I recommend about 1 – 1.5 cups total.

      1. Hi Sally!

        Can I make the whole thing a day before the dinner and keep in the fridge?

        Will it still be good?

        Thanks in advance 🙂

      2. Yes it will still be good! Just be sure it’s covered well in the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature before serving.

  5. Peter McConnell says:

    This was the best banana anything I’ve ever had and the frosting…oh. My god!!! Out of this world. I will literally never make cream cheese frosting any other way ever again. Even my friends who don’t like banana or cream cheese loved it. It’s now in my top ten cakes rotation. Thank you, Sally!!!! You’re the queen of cakes and your recipes never let me down.

    1. So so glad this cake was a hit! Thank you so much for taking the time to share!

  6. This looks ah-mazing! This may be a silly question but do you have any suggestions on cutting down on the sugar without compromising the flavor? I’d love to make this for my soon to be 1 year old for her birthday but the sugar amounts (cake and frosting together) is kinda freaking me out as a mama who hasn’t given her any refined sugar to this point. Thanks!

    1. Hi Maria, You can certainly try to cut the sugar, however sugar is used for more than just flavor! It is also important for proper texture and moisture in a baked good. I hope she has a great 1st birthday!

  7. Hi Sally! If I wanted to use this frosting recipe for your Best Banana Cake recipe (the one in a 9×13 pan), how would I adjust the proportions accordingly? Or would I just use the same amount of frosting?

    1. You can probably cut this frosting recipe in half for the 9 x 13 cake.

  8. Maureen Narib says:

    Hi Sally, I just love your recipes and would like to try out the Brown Buttercream Cream cheese frosting. How many cups of the cream cheese do I need? Is it 1½ cups or 8 ounces. I don’t understand your measurements in weight.

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Maureen! You need 12 ounces of cream cheese.

      1. Maureen Narib says:

        Thanks so much Sally for your prompt reply. Will definitely try it out tomorrow with the Banana cake.

  9. OmG!! I made this today I followed the exact instructions and the cake turns out beautifully and so flavorful!! Absolutely yes, the brown butter elevates everything to a whole new level… thanks for share your knowledge and experience with the world! From now on this is my “go to” banana cake..

    1. You are welcome, Carolina! I’m so glad you tried this and enjoyed it!

  10. This is a wonderful recipe!! I had a question, I was wondering if I could
    make this cake in 4 9 inch rounds instead of 3?

    1. Yes, Just keep in mind each layer will be thinner and will likely require a shorter bake time.

  11. Hi Sally, do you think this recipe would work in 2x 8inch pans?

    1. I use 3 9 inch pans. You can use 8 inch pans (your layers will be a bit thicker) but you should use 3 of them! It’s too much batter for just two. If you only want make 2 layers you can use the extra batter to make some cupcakes!

  12. Can I add chocolate chips to this without them sinking to the bottom?

    1. Yep! The batter is thick enough that they won’t sink.

  13. Angela Freitas says:

    Hello Sally! I’d like to make this cake in 7 inch pans. I’d appreciate it if you could recommend a bake time. I’ll use three pans and make cupcakes with the leftovers.

    P.s. you are very inspiring to me, I love how detailed your recipes are. The notes really help too. Thank you so much!

  14. This was really delicious. I found the icing a little too sweet for me so I put in about a teaspoon of good quality flaky salt. It was amazing!

    The cake was quite moist, too.

  15. Delicious cake and easy to make. Just did two cakes …. looks impressive

  16. Hi Sally!
    Thanks to your amazing recipes I have perfected baking cookies but I am still very new to cake baking.
    Id like to attempt to make this recipe however my handheld mixer does not have nor sell a paddle attachment. Can I use the regular attachments it comes with?
    Thank you!!

    1. I’m so glad you have been happy with the cookie recipes! Yes, you can use the attachments on your hand mixer for cakes also. Enjoy!

  17. Hi sally i would like to make this recipe? Your my to go for all recipes can i use cake flour here ?

    1. I don’t suggest it. You need stronger all-purpose flour for this cake.

  18. Would love to try this one, but wonder if you could recommend an alternate topping, as my son is allergic to all nuts.

    1. Hi Krista! Heath toffee bits or even dried banana chips are delicious with banana cake.

      1. Thanks, will try banana chips. I liked the Heath idea more, but turns out they have almonds in them. 🙁

        Question about the ripe bananas, though. Is it okay to use overripe bananas like you’d use for banana bread? Or
        is that too much?

  19. I am 64 years old and this is the best icing I have ever tasted . Thank you , this will be my forever go to icing now ❤️

    1. I’m thrilled you enjoyed it so much, Val!

  20. Can you sub for gluten free flour?

    1. Hi Amanda, I haven’t tested this recipe with GF flour but let me know it you try!

  21. Hi Sally! First of all, I am a home baker/cake decorator and was having a sort of crisis a couple weeks ago lol! I was really struggling with from scratch recipes and I was getting so so disheartened when I came across your pumpkin cupcakes! FINALLY! Lol! Finally I found what I was looking for in texture, right amount of sweetness etc etc so thank you for being you! In 4 days I’ve made your pumpkin cupcakes, vanilla cake and tonight this WONDERFUL banana cake and brown butter frosting (where has THAT been all my life btw?!)! You are now my go-to and I can’t thank you enough! I’m sure you hear these things often, but I had to leave a 5 star review and tell you in my own words…please keep up the AMAZING work<3

    1. Hi Misha, Thank you so much for leaving this note! I’m thrilled that you have tried so many of my recipes in just a few days with so much success!! Yay for the end of the baking crisis! 🙂

      1. Absolutely! Thanks again❤️

  22. Tried this recipe today….the banana cake with brown butter cream cheese frosting…..it was absolutely SLAMMING!!!!

    Utterly, utterly delicious!
    This makes it your second recipe which I have tried ( the spice cake was another winner)

    Thank you for sharing your recipes. They are delightful….x

    1. You are welcome! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed both of them!

  23. I had three overripe bananas that no one wanted to eat. They were made into this banana cake. No one refused to eat a slice of the cake. The icing is deluxe! Thanks Sally for another winner.

  24. Hi Sally! Do you think I could substitute finely chopped apples for the bananas?

    1. Hi Leslie! It would be better to use shredded apples– peel and shred apples with a box grater. The apples are MUCH more moist this way. Finely chopped apples would be more of an “add in” instead of a wet ingredient, like this cake needs.

  25. Hi! For the Brown Butter Frosting, step 9: when you say solid butter, do you mean straight out of the fridge? Usually, I let my butter soften before putting into the mixer to make buttercream but want to follow the recipe as intended. I will be making the brown butter ahead of time as you suggest. Thanks!

    1. Hi Katie, You want it to be solid – not the melted liquid. If you place it back in the refrigerator it will help it solidify more quickly to become more like the room temperature butter you are used to working with.

  26. Hi Sally, I wanna make this so bad, but do you think I could make it in loaf pans? I want to hoard it all for myself! Also, does freezing murder it, or would I be ok to leave un-iced and pop in the freezer? (Again, so I don’t have to share ^_^)

    1. I’m unsure of the exact bake time but you should be able to bake it in several loaf pans. It freezes well for up to 3 months, follow the same freezing instructions in the recipe notes. Enjoy!

    2. Hi, Sally! I only have salted butter. Is that an acceptable substitute or should I get some unsalted? Thanks!

      1. You can use your salted butter and then cut the added salt in the recipe in half. The problem with salted butter is that every brand contains a different amount so we never really know how much we are adding.

  27. I’m in love with this recipe. I made this, and it is outstanding! I bake for my office co-workers at times. For the ease of traveling, as well as space limitations, I baked them into 4 small loaves. I made my own buttermilk and used some sour cream in the cake. The browned butter in the frosting is scrumptuous! It goes great with a big ol’ cup of coffee!
    So, sorry I changed up the recipe a bit, but it is terrific and everyone loved it. In fact, I’m getting ready to bake some more right now. Thank you!

  28. Hi Sally,
    The old recipe now been replaced with this new one. WOW!! The icing is to die for!! I can’t say enough about how well this recipe turned out and how much everyone loved it. Thank you!!

  29. I’m a novice baker. From the confidence derived from successfully baking three cakes i decided to try out a different frosting for the cake i want to surprise my sister with on her anniversary. Thats when i came across this recipe.
    The flavor of brown butter combined with cream cheese is out of the world. Thanks a ton for this. Keep inspiring!!!

  30. Jaimie Renda says:

    This looks so good, I’m going to make it. Would chocolate frosting be good with this do you think?

    1. Absolutely. The amount of chocolate frosting/ratios of ingredients I use for my Pinata Cake will be perfect to frost this cake.

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