The Best Banana Cake I’ve Ever Had

slice of banana cake in a glass baking dish

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?

slice of banana cake on a wood plate with a fork

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.

ingredients for banana cake

mashed bananas in a glass stand mixer bowl

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?

banana cake batter in a glass bowl with a whisk

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.

cream cheese frosting in a glass bowl with a hand mixer

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.

slice of banana cake on a wood plate with a fork

\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


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.


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


  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.


  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.


  1. HOLY MOLY. I have made this recipe several times and it is now my “go-to” whenever we have spotty bananas on the counter. It is so delicious fresh but my favorite way to eat it is chilled out of the fridge. Thank you for getting the recipe!

  2. sandra dean says:

    excellent, very moist,a lovely recipe, thank you the best banana cake ever ,I haven’t put the frosting on, its really nice with out too.

  3. Hi sally,

    If I want to add chocolate chips how much should I reduce the sugars by?

    Thank you!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sheetal! Chocolate chips would be a delicious addition! Add about 1 cup of chocolate chips with the last addition of the dry ingredients, no other changes necessary.

  4. I made this cake for my family and coworkers, they all loved it. At first I was nervous it would turn out dry because of some other comments I’d seen sprinkled in with your overwhelmingly positive comments. However, I followed the mixing instructions exactly and sure enough, it came out the moistest cake I’ve ever made. I’m not huge on super sweet icing, so I cut down on the icing sugar by 2 cups. Everyone thought the icing was perfect as well. The icing had more tang, it was good. Sorry for the long-winded comment, but thank you for sharing this recipe!

  5. Just tried this banana cake and it’s gorgeous. Really light fluffy and with the frosting it’s just perfect.

    1. leah caudillo says:

      If i wanted to add peanut butter to this recipe how much would you recommend

      1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Leah, We haven’t tried adding peanut butter directly to the batter but this cake is wonderful with Peanut Butter Frosting!

  6. Stephanie Lachtman says:

    it is so so so delicious. Brought it to a dinner party and the guests were crazy about it…much better than any banana cake they have ever eaten..they asked for the recipe and all had second helpings.Sarah Lee has nothing over this one…will make it again and again.

  7. Rishma Ramnath Maharaj says:

    Ok I never comment on recipies, but wow this was great, and I want people to know! The cake was delicious. I saw in the comments that someone added chocolate chips so I decided to try that as well, and I highly recommend it ! I used dark chocolate and it matched really well. Will definitely make again!

  8. I made this a few weeks ago, subbing plant-based ingredients and it was great! Thank you! I have a box of cake flour I’d like to use up–would it work? Thanks again!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Dawn, we’re so glad you loved this banana cake recipe! Unfortunately, with the addition of heavy banana, cake flour is too light for this cake recipe. Best to stick with all-purpose flour here.

  9. This cake was so good, I’m breaking my “I don’t comment on websites” rule. It was just WOW. I had to use buttermilk substitute (2% milk and lemon juice) and somehow resisted the urge to use only milk. It was absolutely the best banana cake I’ve ever tasted. The frosting was also amazing… I would actually make this cake instead of banana bread even when I didn’t feel like frosting. Thank you!

  10. Kay Hofmaier says:

    I LOVE THIS CAKE!!! It is the best banana cake I’ve ever had! I make this all the time now. My family, friends & coworkers really enjoy it. They’ve all asked for the recipe! Thank you so much for sharing it! I make a browned butter cream cheese frosting for it. That compliments it so good!

  11. Manuel Restrepo says:

    This cake turned out amazing, I wasn’t such a big fan of banana cake until I made this recipe, the cake was super fluffy and an amazing taste. Definitely would recommend and do again

  12. YUM! I love all of your recipes, they are always my go-to when trying new bakes. I will be attempting this this weekend!

    If I wanted to add some peanut butter to the cake, could I swap out part of the butter and/or buttermilk for natural peanut butter? I’m thinking of adding about 1/2 a cup of natural peanut butter, but don’t want to loose the butter flavor entirely or end up with the wrong consistency.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Teresa, We haven’t tried adding peanut butter directly to the batter but this cake is wonderful with Peanut Butter Frosting!

  13. Hi Sally, thank you for the amazing recipe. Just a small question, I halved all the ingredients but used 2.5 banana, cold buttermilk, and baked for 45 minutes. The result is very wet middle part and uncooked-batter-like bottom part. Do you have any ideas why? Would be great if you can help to solve the puzzle. Thank you so much.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi M, If you are cutting the recipe in half you only want to use 1.5 bananas (3/4 cups mashed). If you use too much banana the batter would be too wet. Also be sure to use room temperature buttermilk.

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