The Best Banana Cake I’ve Ever Had

This is absolutely the best banana cake I've ever had! It's supremely moist with cream cheese frosting, tons of banana, brown sugar, and cinnamon flavor. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Remember that time I told you about the best banana cake I’ve ever had?

I enjoyed obsessed over it at a family reunion the other weekend. Kevin’s cousin made it and I stalked her down like a dessert creep and proceeded to talk her ear off about cream cheese frosting and spotty bananas for 35 minutes straight.

What? You don’t do that at parties?

This is absolutely the best banana cake I've ever had! It's supremely moist with cream cheese frosting, tons of banana, brown sugar, and cinnamon flavor. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Ok but this banana cake.

It was the moistest cake I’ve ever eaten. Stick-to-the-back of your fork moist. The perfect cream cheese frosting, both sweet and tangy, sinking into the top of the cake made it even moister. Sweet, but not overpowering. Mega banana flavor, certainly more banana flavor than any banana bread I’ve ever eaten. Very buttery and cakey from creaming the butter and sugars. Ridiculously rich, decadent.

The banana cake was dense, but not heavy. If that makes any sense? (Coming from the lady who talks about rotting bananas at social gatherings, but stick with me here.) The crumb was very soft, but they were tight crumbs. The cake didn’t fall apart when you took a forkful.

Lori told me this cake comes out perfect every time she makes it. And such perfection is reinforced, she told me, when absolutely everyone who has a slice begs her for the recipe. It is, hands down, the best banana cake I’ve ever had.

And I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

How to make the best banana cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Mashed bananas for the best banana cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to Make Banana Cake

The recipe starts with 3 mashed bananas (above). Now, make sure those bananas are nice and spotty. As you know, I’m very passionate about spotty bananas. The bananas you see above are just right. More brown spots = sweeter, more banana flavor. Your cake will thank you. I simply mash the bananas in my mixer– the same mixer I use for creaming the butter and sugars. Beat the bananas on high speed for a minute, then transfer to another bowl. I don’t even wash the mixing bowl– just throw the butter right in and start creaming!

Here’s the batter. There will be some pretty lumps.

Ok, let’s face it– are lumps ever attractive? Ever?

How to make the best banana cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

One more thing to note: buttermilk. Hey, how often do I express my love for buttermilk in desserts? You’re lucky I don’t hunt you down at parties and talk your ear off about… dairy.

As you guessed, buttermilk is the moist-maker in this cake. The cake wouldn’t be what it is without it! You also need the acid in buttermilk to help the baking soda do its job. I rarely have buttermilk in my refrigerator, so I always sour whole milk instead. For this recipe, you need 1 and 1/2 cups of buttermilk. If you don’t keep buttermilk on hand either, measure 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar. Pour into a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk until it reaches 1 and 1/2 cups. Stir together, let it sit for 5 minutes, then use in the recipe. To keep the cake extra rich, I recommend whole milk when you are souring milk.

The silkiest, best cream cheese frosting! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Is this not the silkiest and smoothest cream cheese frosting you’ve ever seen? Well, it’s the silkiest and smoothest cream cheese frosting I’ve ever tasted! It’s pretty similar to my favorite cream cheese frosting, but there’s a little less cream cheese for the amount of butter. So, this makes the frosting a little more silky. And definitely more buttery!

There’s also a lot of cream cheese frosting. You will think I’m crazy (-er than you already think I am). When you begin slathering it onto the cake, you’ll probably go “Sally, this is way too much frosting!” But it’s not. You want a nice thick layer. It’s essential to the cake’s overall awesomeness.

This is absolutely the best banana cake I've ever had! It's supremely moist with cream cheese frosting, tons of banana, brown sugar, and cinnamon flavor. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

\The best banana cake I’ve ever had. Let me know if you try it!

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slice of banana cake in a glass baking dish

The Best Banana Cake I’ve Ever Had

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours (includes cooling)
  • Yield: serves 12
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This is absolutely the best banana cake I’ve ever had! It’s supremely moist with cream cheese frosting, tons of banana, brown sugar, and cinnamon flavor.


Ingredients

Banana Cake

  • 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
  • 1/2 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*

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup if needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. Make the cake: Mash the bananas. I usually just use my mixer for this! Set mashed bananas aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute. Add both sugars and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together. 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 and a few lumps is OK.
  5. Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely. After about 45 minutes, I usually place it in the refrigerator to speed things up.
  7. Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add 3 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 (I add it). Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. This helps sets the frosting and makes cutting easier.
  8. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Prepare cake through step 5. Cover the cake 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: Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk if needed. Add 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough room temperature 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. Cupcakes: I’ve gotten a few questions about turning this cake into cupcakes. For about 2 dozen cupcakes, fill the cupcake liners halfway and bake for about 20-22 minutes. Same oven temperature.
  4. Bundt Cake: You can bake this batter in a 10-12 cup bundt pan, but I find it’s not quite as moist when baked in the bundt shape. Bake for 50-65 minutes, give or take. Use a toothpick to determine doneness. Same oven temperature.
  5. Layer Cake: I use this recipe to make my banana layer cake. If you want to make a 2 layer cake, divide batter between 2 greased 9-inch cake pans, and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Creamy, silky, smooth, and simple cream cheese frosting! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com
This is absolutely the best banana cake I've ever had! It's supremely moist with cream cheese frosting, tons of banana, brown sugar, and cinnamon flavor. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

1174 Comments

  1. WARNING: This may be longer then most comments.

    I would have to say I would be considered a novice baker. Especially since this recipe is the FIRST home made cake I’ve ever made. First, I wanted to commend you on your directions as they are written perfectly to be able to accomplish the end goal with very little research in regards to the processes taking place. Since I’m so new to baking I end up usually having to research a lot of the directions as I’ve never heard of some of the terms used. This was written so well I didn’t have to do that. It’s also a recipe that I think most people have all of the ingredients on hand at all times which is nice.

    Although it probably took me a little longer to finish the cake then most, as I was trying to be sure each thing I did was done as you described. The end result is phenomenal and I’m so happy with it! (So is my boyfriend, who luckily, and unfortunately sometimes, is my taste tester) I do have two questions that I’m sure I’m over thinking is about serving and storing the cake properly. I want to be sure we get to enjoy every last bite.

    In regards to storage, I know it says to cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to five days. Does that mean the cake needs to be stored in the refrigerator at all times? Then also, is there a time to take it out before consuming so that the cake has time to warm or is it to be served cold?

    Since I’m so new to baking I kept the cake in the 9×13 pan for cooling and then icing also. The only way to tightly cover for me is by using aluminum foil. Is that okay or do I need to try to purchase a container that will snap close?

    These may be silly questions but I just want to be sure I understand how to enjoy this cake the way it’s intended. Thanks again for the recipe! I know I will be making this cake over and over again in the future.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kari, Thank you for trying this recipe – we are so glad you both enjoyed it! After decorating anything with buttercream or cream cheese frosting, it’s fine for 1 day at room temperature. After that, I would definitely refrigerate it. Since your cake is still in the pan, covering it with aluminum foil is just fine. You can either eat this cake cold right out of the refrigerator, or leave it at room temperature to warm back up for a little bit if you prefer (I don’t recommend placing cake with frosting in the microwave).

  2. Will this taste good without the frosting ?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Priya, definitely! It won’t be as sweet without the frosting (more like a banana bread) but it’s still delicious!

  3. Bupe Chifokola says:

    I just tried it. Its delicious…I didnt even make the frosting but tastes really good, thanks Sally for sharing .

  4. This cake is simply unbelievable. Stellar recipe. Thank you so much!! I usually make lots of modifications when trying new recipes, but with this recipe most everything felt just right. Delicious.

  5. Hi Sally,
    I rated this high based on all the other ratings, but I haven’t made it yet. My daughter’s birthday party is tomorrow and she wants banana cake. I’ve used your recipes before & love them. Can I make this into a 9” round 2- layer cake? What would the baking time be? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lisa, See the recipe notes for a layer cake. Happy baking!

      1. Thank you, I zoomed right past it! 🙂

  6. Beatrice Eckman says:

    Made this today and was absolutely delicious as stated. Soooooo moist, nice and dense and I loved it.

  7. Hi! Would baking time and recipe be the same for 2 8″ round cake pans?

  8. Penny Hensley says:

    I made this again and again, I think this is my 4th time at least and it has been perfect every time. I’ve had to freeze some to keep from us eating a whole cake in 2-3 days. And it is wonderful out of the frezzer and let warm to room temperature. We even took some camping with us. It was wonderful every time. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

  9. This past weekend, I tried your recipe for the Best Banana Cake I’ve ever had. The cake was fantastic and I got so many compliments on it so Thank You!. I did not change anything in the recipe (I know lots of people like to make adjustments to recipes) and the cake was moist and so delicious and definitely the Best Banana Cake I’ve ever had.

  10. Mine has a heavy bottom, like the bananas settled to the bottom of the cake. My 9 x 13 pan is more like a coated stoneware so possibly that is the problem? Cooked it 50 minutes and the tester came out clean.

  11. I usually opt for box cake but I had to use up my bananas. This recipe did not disappoint! I didn’t even make the icing and it was still bomb! You go Sally!

  12. The cake was delicious and I love cream cheese frosting. I thought the lemon in the frosting was too in strong as it over powered the banana flavor of the cake. I plan to leave the lemon out next time.

  13. Made this recipe for a friend’s birthday lunch tomorrow. It made 24 super moist regular sized and 4 minis (for my youngster). I had to try a mini to check for quality. Delicious! I mostly followed the recipe. Never have buttermilk in hand but I always use a mix of whole milk yogurt (1/3 of buttermilk amount), whole milk (2/3 of buttermilk amount) and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice. Works perfectly every time.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  14. Hi thanks very much for allowing us to make this woderful cake. This is the 4th time I’ve made it and my wife says it gets better every time. As a retired truck driver i gotta say it’s definitely the “best banana cake”.
    Regards Nick and Karen Smith. Tin Can Bay QLD

  15. Can mini chocolate chips be added to the batter? Would this change the baking time or temp?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elayna, Chocolate chips would be a delicious addition! Add about 1 cup of chocolate chips with the last addition of the dry ingredients. Same baking instructions.

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