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. Demetria Olsen says:

    I want to make two layers of your banana cake. Would you recommend this recipe or your 9 x13 banana cake recipe to use?

    1. The recipes are pretty much the same, so you can use either one. The 2 layers will be thicker than pictured here, so the bake time will be a little longer. Use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  2. Can I make this recipe into cupcakes?

    1. Sure can! Or here is my banana cupcakes recipe, which is this recipe only slightly reduced down.

      1. Thanks sooo much!

  3. Hi,
    I’m thinking of making this for a birthday cake! Would you think you could make it 4 layers ? Or will it sink? Also is it Suitable for a naked cake or do you think it would dry out ?

    1. Hi Leah, This recipe is written for three 9-inch cake pans so the layers would be extremely thin if you divided it between 4 pans. It would be great as a naked cake! With any naked cakes I do recommend assembling them the day you are serving them as they can dry out from the sides of the cake being exposed to air. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. I made this cake, it was fantastic. I used 3 9” cake pans, same brand and model so I weighed them with the batter, the layers were almost perfect! I’m going to use this frosting as my go-to cream cheese frosting!

  5. I’m interested in using this recipe for my son’s first birthday but I would like to make him a banana chocolate cake. How would you adjust the recipe to do that?

    1. Hi Courtney, I don’t have a chocolate banana cake recipe at this time. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as adding cocoa powder and would take additional recipe testing. However, you can make this cake and pair it with my chocolate buttercream or Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.

  6. Hi Sally. I was wondering if I can use pastry flour instead of all purpose. Looking forward to bake this cake.

    1. Hi Mary Ann! Pastry flour is too light for this cake batter. I recommend sticking with the recipe.

  7. I made this recipe yesterday. I wasn’t sure I would love banana cake, I do! This cake and icing combo flavor was similar to banana pudding in my opinion. It was delicious, thank you!

  8. Hi Sally! Trying this for hubby’s birthday.

    Can I do the brown butter days before, pop in the fridge then bring to room temperature again when I need to use it? How long does it take to go to room temperature when it’s been browned?

    Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Liz, You can cover and store browned butter the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. For more information see my tutorial on How to Brown Butter.

  9. Hi, I want to make a smaller cane just single layer how can I adjust the recipe for that?

    1. Hi Shanze, You can follow my single layer Banana Cake recipe which is written for a 9×13 inch pan and cut the recipe in half for an 8 or 9 inch pan. Or if you wish to use a different size pan you can see my post on Cake Pan Sizes and Conversions for more help.

  10. Will this cake turn out if baked in a bundt pan like your hummingbird cake?

    1. Absolutely! It’s hard to give a specific bake time, but make sure you bake it in a large 10-12 cup bundt pan. Same oven temperature.

  11. I made this cake & frosted it with chocolate frosting. Absolutely outstanding! Everyone loved it.
    Any cake I’ve made from Sally’s Baking Addiction is sooo delicious.
    I’m thankful for her recipes.

  12. I hope all is well with everyone during this era of corona. Right now flour is scarce as hen’s teeth. My shopping service however found 2 boxes of cake flour. Is this an acceptable substitute?

    1. Hi Mike, Unfortunately for the best texture I don’t recommend it. Cakes such banana cake (and carrot cake, etc) contain additional wet ingredients (the fruits or veggies), so cake flour isn’t really ideal. You need a stronger flour like all-purpose flour. But here are all of my recipes that do use cake flour!

  13. Hi,
    I have some brown bananas, perfectly ready for baking, and am between this recipe and the banana chocolate chip cupcakes. Iwas just wondering what the difference in taste/texture is between the two recipes?

    Thanks!

    1. Besides the chocolate chips in the cupcakes, they taste pretty similar– though this cake is a little denser.

  14. Simply delicious. I made this exactly as written. I only have two cake pans so I made a two-layer; they just had to cook a little longer. This was for my daughter’s 21st birthday and it was a huge hit! It’s definitely a keeper 🙂 Thanks!

  15. I just tasted this cake 15 minutes ago and I will definitely be making it. Cake is so moist and the flavor of icing is fantastic!!!

  16. Hi Heidi, Depending on the temperature of your house an hour or two usually does it. I don’t recommend leaving milk out overnight.

    1. Thanks!
      Cake was a huge hit!! Made it last nite for my son’s birthday. That icing is to die for!!!

  17. Heya! Would I be able to do this recipe in mini loaf moulds? How would the baking times differ? ☺️

    1. Absolutely! The bake time depends on the dimensions of the pan. Use a toothpick to determine doneness.

  18. Any idea if becel margarine would work in this cake… Instead of butter? (not for the icing, just the cake)

    1. I don’t recommend margarine for this cake recipe.

  19. Hello! Is it okay to color this frosting?

    1. Yes, absolutely!

  20. Hi Sally. I am going to bake this beautiful cake for my boyfriend’s birthday. Do you think I can make just 2layers? I’ve got 2 x 20cm round cake tins, so I want to use them. But I don’t know how long I should bake and how much frosting I need?

    1. Hi Rico, for 2 layers you would need to only make 2/3 of the recipe. You can always make the whole thing and freeze the third layer to enjoy at a later date.

  21. Hi,

    This looks amazing. My daughter requests chocolate chips in it. How many would you add and at which point in the process? Thank you. Stay healthy!

    1. Hi Talia! You can gently fold in 1 – 1.5 cups of chocolate chips at the end after you’ve combined the wet and dry ingredients.

  22. Hello Sally, I made this for Easter and it was unbelievably good. The brown butter cream cheese frosting really took this cake to another level. Why did I wait so long to try this?! and next time (which will be soon) I will add cinnamon to it like you mentioned for your banana cupcakes!
    I have done a few of your cakes and you are my go-to for all cake/ frosting making in our house. Thank you for providing such great recipes that are easy to follow that are mouthwatering . You have given me confidence in my kitchen !!!

  23. I just made this banana cake with the browned butter frosting.
    Wow!
    How had I gone this long without knowing about browned butter frosting???

    The cake is fabulous and the frosting is, just wow! Buttery and nutty tasting… fantastic.

  24. Sarah Bourg says:

    LOVE this recipe thanks Sally!!! ❤️

  25. Sally….You are making me into a huge hit !! This cake was so moist and delicious even after 2 days in the fridge… I used 2 -10 inch rounds, i think i shouldve double the recipe. the cake tasted amazing, i think i wanted the layers a tad thicker…you called for 9inch rounds. I want to make it again as people are asking for it, but want to do 2×10 inch, 3inch deep rounds..would you suggest doubling?
    Let me know..AKBAKES

    1. I’m thrilled you enjoyed this cake, Allison! If you want to change the size of the pan here is everything you need to know about Cake Pan Sizes & Conversions.

  26. Jessica Marvel says:

    Hi Sally!
    I’m looking for a banana cake recipe that I could use for a small wedding cake. Would this recipe be sturdy enough if I switched the frosting to a brown butter swiss meringue possibly? Perhaps I could fill between the layers with a vanilla pastry cream.
    It sounds delicious with the cream cheese but I know how cream cheese frosting can be haha! Thank you!

    1. Hi Jessica, yes you can use a different type of frosting or filling for this cake. Enjoy!

  27. Nicole Feldman says:

    no confectioners sugar…can i use something else?

  28. Heather Hahn says:

    Followed this recipe 100% and it was so light and fluffy!!! I’m not a fan of cream cheese so I omitted it on my slice of cake… However my husband was raving about it. Next time I’ll add fresh bananas and raisins in between the layers for more of a banana punch!!

  29. Hi Sally. Your banana cake recipe is absolutely delicious, the cake is super moist & not too sweet. I bake this for mothers day & everyone loves it ❤️ But the frosting is too sweet for me. I only use half measurement of confectionary sugars but it still too sweet for me. Do you sure it is the right measurement? Afterall, the banana cake recipe is just spectacular, so easy to follow for beginner baker like me. Thanks ya. Love from Malaysia

  30. I have the fondest memories of a moist Banana Cake with Buttercream Icing from my childhood and your recipe sounds like the closest version I’ve seen, to date. I have 2 ripe bananas ready to go, but my third is in the freezer. Is it ok to thaw it and use it in the recipe? I suspect the texture may change. Thanks so much for your recipes and tips!!

    1. It should be just fine. Simply thaw the frozen banana at room temperature and drain off the excess liquid.

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