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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. My 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

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.

She 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. The bananas you see above are just right (and it’s what you want for banana bread and banana muffins, too). 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 lumps.

banana cake batter in a glass bowl with a whisk

One more thing to note: buttermilk. 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 our cream cheese frosting that we use for carrot cake, 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. 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.

If you are not into cream cheese frosting or just want to try something different, try it with this salted caramel frosting instead. It’s a seriously delicious combination!

slice of banana cake on a wood plate with a fork

The best banana cake I’ve ever had. We love it so much we turned it into a chocolate marble banana Bundt cake, too. And if you can’t get enough sheet cakes, you’ll want to try this fresh apple cake next!

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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 1x
  • 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, or 345g, 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 & Freezing Instructions: Prepare cake through step 6. 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 or unfrosted cake freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature, and then frost if needed and serve.
  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. Bake for 60-70 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.

Keywords: The Best Banana Cake I’ve Ever Had

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Grandson said can you make this for my Birthday! They ate the first one in record time

  2. Hi. I made this tonight. It was perfect. I halved the icing because I don’t like a lot. But it’s delicious too. Thanks for this one!

  3. Amazing. Made it in 10 cup bundt. Baked for 55 min.

    1. Delicious! The family couldn’t resist a second helping.
      Soft moist texture.
      Taste’s so good.
      I was Google searching “best banana cake” and chose this recipe. No regrets!

  4. Fantastic… Worth the time and effort for sure!!! Will definitely make this delicious Cake AgaiN!!

    1. Hi Ann! Sticks can be different sizes, but are most often 1/2 cup each.

  5. Could you put vanilla pudding, sliced bananas and crushed nilla wafers between layers and make it a banana pudding cake?

    1. Hi Beth, we haven’t tested that, but it sounds delicious! Here’s our banana layer cake recipe. For the layers, we recommend creating a dam with frosting in a ring around the outside of the cake and the pudding in the middle to prevent the pudding from spilling out. Let us know what you try!

    1. This cake is delicious without frosting!

  6. I made this cake and it was awesome. Can you use crisco butter flavor instead of butter

    1. Hi Linda! We highly recommend sticking with butter for best results.

  7. It turned out so soft like a pillow and super moist! I did replace some of the butter for vegetable oil through.

  8. Made the 9×13 and used your brown butter cream frosting- yum

  9. Made a five layer cake with this recipe. It was ADORABLE! Even had leftover to make a half dozen cupcakes. I added an extra banana and cut back on the sugars and it was still super yummy. Thanks again, Sally’s Addiction!

  10. You’re right. It’s the best! I always get compliments when I make it. I have given your site to many a baker & told them they can depend on any recipe you have. Thank you!

  11. Cake recipe is awesome! But almost 1 kg of sugar for cream cheese frosting is a bit excessive! I think one cup is more than plenty.

  12. Another great recipe! I make banana loaf all the time but this made a nice change. The icing is amazing! My five year old asked for some in a bowl!!

  13. Delicious recipe, thank you. I was trying to keep it lower calorie this time so used a reduced amount of sweetener as I knew the over ripe bananas would bring a lovely amount of sweetness for us anyway. I didn’t make the frosting although I’m sure it’s extra delicious but the cake alone is so moist and my husband has it with his yoghurt and fruit for breakfast too.
    160° in my fan oven for 45 mins was perfect. I’ll definitely be making again.

  14. Delicious! The family couldn’t resist a second helping.
    Soft moist texture.
    Taste’s so good.
    I was Google searching “best banana cake” and chose this recipe. No regrets!

  15. Everyone loved it! The frosting was perfect, the cake tasty and moist. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Can I use frozen ripe bananas that have thawed or will that change the consistency?

    1. Hi Ashley, frozen bananas can make this cake too wet and dense. If you do have to use them, make sure to thaw and absorb as much moisture off the bananas as you can before beginning.

    1. See step 4! With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk and mixing each addition just until incorporated.

    1. All of the recipes on this site are written for conventional (not fan forced) settings. Convection ovens are fantastic for cooking and roasting. If you have the choice, we recommend conventional settings when baking cakes, breads, etc.

  17. i am an experienced baker but mine was an epic fail!.. way too much milk compared to other recipes with similar ratios {too flat and gummy}..straight into garbage 🙁

  18. Made this recipe to take out ta a family reunion of sorts. It was devoured!!! So moist! I was asked to bring another the second day. I added a bit more banana and cinnamon than was stipulated and added vinegar to 2% milk because I had no buttermilk. (I also used a coconut/brown sugar broiled icing as opposed to the creamed cheese icing). To use a quote from my niece’s spouse, “This thing is totally at another level!”