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? It was over on Instagram.

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 more moist. 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!

I really love the mix of brown and white sugars in this banana cake. Brown sugar and banana pair wonderfully together and the brown sugar leaves the cake even more moist. Plus, a little brown sugar flavor is never a bad thing!

Let’s see, what else. Oh! The cinnamon. Just a little bit, nothing overpowering. 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon pairs with the brown sugar and banana flavors.

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.

But anyway, as you guessed, buttermilk is the moist-maker. The cake wouldn’t be what it is without it! I rarely have buttermilk in my refrigerator, unless I have a ton of baking to do that day, so I always sour whole milk instead. For this recipe, you’ll need 1 and 1/2 cups of buttermilk. So here’s what I do instead: measure 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar, then add enough whole milk until I reach 1 and 1/2 cups. Stir it around, let it sit for a minute, then pour into the batter. To keep the cake extra rich, I do recommend whole milk when you are souring milk– not any other milks.

So, soured whole milk OR buttermilk. Your two best bets in this banana cake.

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

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

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Banana cake recipe

The Best Banana Cake I’ve Ever Had

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • 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 temperature1

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: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can add 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a large liquid measuring cup. Then add enough regular room temperature milk (whole milk is recommended) to make 1 and 1/2 cups total. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. This soured milk can be used in the recipe instead of buttermilk.
  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.

PS: Happy National S’mores Day. Here’s a new video for you. Try these. Try these!

Also, there may have been too much puppy partying on Kevin’s birthday yesterday…

pups 8-9-16

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

884 Comments

  1. In the quest to find interesting uses for ripened bananas, this recipe checks off three major boxes: tasty, uncomplicated, and quick to come together. I made it as a layer cake, start to finish less than 2 hours.

    I didn’t use the suggested extra 1/4 cup powder sugar for the frosting but wish that I would have. The frosting is creamy and yummy, but a tad more powder sugar wouldn’t have harmed it.

    This cake was a big hit with my husband. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  2. Can I substitute buttermilk for sour cream? Because where I live is very difficult to find buttermilk. If not, what can I use?

  3. Hi! I am baking this cake tonight-what else would be a good frosting since i don’t have any cream cheese? Would a simple icing be ok??

  4. Just made this tonight and it is DELICIOUS! Taking it to a pot luck tomorrow at work but let my husband and son have a taste because they were drooling! My son asked me to make another one soon for his class!

  5. IS the 350 degree F (175 degrees C fan forced or standard oven temp. Great cake but took longer than expected to cook.
    Graham

    1. Standard, conventional oven setting. If using convection or fan-forced, the universal rule is to lower the oven temperature by 25°F.

      1. Thanks for the reply. By the way the cake did turn out fantastic, the grand kids devoured it. The Alfoil trick did its job as well.

  6. Baked this cake for afternoon tea, turned out well, just added some leftover chocolate chunks and substituted buttermilk with freshmik and voila…my kids and hubby loved it. Thank you so much for the recipe. It’s been ages since i baked a decent banana cake. Wish i can post the pix here. And i skipped the frosting yet it was so tasty. Thanks again.

  7. I am a horrible baker so I did not expect the cake to turn out as good as it did. I did not have cream cheese but had mascarpone cheese and substituted it. I used 3 cups powdered sugar and felt the frosting a bit too sweet so I put in a tablespoon lemon juice. Perfect cake.

  8. Has anybody tried making a GF version? If so, would you please share what flour substitute you used (almond meal, coconut flour, pre-mixed GF baking mix like Pamela’s or Bob’s)? Thanks in advance. Baking for a friends birthday 🙂

  9. Hi SALLY!!!!

    What a wonderful recipe. I made this cake 4 times last month, it was pretty popular the first time I made it!!! I LOOOOVE this banana cake.
    This recipe was also really nice with fresh berries on top as decoration

    Thank you <3

  10. Tried this recipe today. It was delicious! The recipe was easy to follow. The cream cheese icing is amazing.

  11. I am looking to make a banana cake for my daughters first birthday. Would also like to make cupcakes out of it. Has anyone tried? How would it change cook time and temperature?

  12. Made this tonight and it turned out just amazing.
    Light and delicious, did not bother frosting , just dusted with icing sugar and that was perfect.

  13. This was to die for! Best banana cake i have ever tasted!
    It was so moist and fluffy and all round perfect!
    Thank you for sharing your talent with us!
    Your cakes are always a hit when it comes to events!

  14. This banana cake turned out great, even though I substituted a few things and made extra since I had 4 very ripe bananas. I used almond milk instead of buttermilk, used almond extract since I couldn’t find my vanilla, and used Bisquick mix since I had no flour…yes, my pantry is lacking, it’s been years since I’ve baked. I recall my mom always made a great banana cake, so I was wanting to make one like she did, so moist it never even needed frosting. Well, I’m never going to say what I make is as good as mom’s, but it is pretty darn close! Considering I haven’t baked in a long time, my measurements were improvised and this is a new oven with new baking dishes, I’m pleasantly surprised this turned out so well! I made a 9×13 and a small bread loaf size dish, both just amazingly delicious! I was never a big frosting fan, so I just cover loosely with foil so it doesn’t touch and refrigerate, it just gets very sweet and moist on the top naturally…so good! Thanks for you recipe!

  15. Adapted this with Almond milk and egg replacer for the husband who is intolerant. Added an extra banana to the mix, and sliced a couple more, sandwiched between two layers of mixture. Turned out totally dreamy! Great recipe!

  16. This is an unbelievable cake. Great flavor and very moist. A little dense like carrot cake and that’s why we all loved it. Family has already requested it again. Thanks Sally! Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

  17. Made this 2 days ago for just the hubby and myself and half of it is already gone! It’s just as good today as it was the day I made it. I keep it covered tightly with Saran wrap on my counter as our kitchen is cool in temperature. I have only eaten this cake room temperature but I think it would be very good refrigerated too, I just am not sure how it would keep in the refrigerator.

    This is the first recipe I’ve ever tried from Sally’s Baking Addiction and I’m glad I did. I will be trying more recipes from this site in the future! The tips and easy-to follow-instructions are thoughtfully written and detailed. Very helpful!

    This cake and the icing are both very, very good! The recipe title is true, it just might be the best banana cake I’ve ever had!
    I Followed ingredients and recipe directions exactly. Didn’t change a thing. Perfect as written. Was easy to make with ingredients I already had on hand.
    Cake was moist and tender. Perfect banana flavor. Not overly sweet; just right!
    I measured out the amount of bananas to exactly 1 + 1/2 cup mashed bananas. I used bananas that were spotty on
    the outside, not black.
    The taste is like banana bread, but texture is softer, more tender, and much less dense than a banana bread. It has a tight-crumb. The icing was great, too. Even my husband keeps going back for more, and he isn’t even into sweets or baked goods. He even made comments twice that it was really good. Which is surprising because he is a man of few words and usually doesn’t care much about anything I bake.
    The ONLY thing I did differently was I added 1 Cup of chopped walnuts on top of the icing.
    Superb! This recipe is a keeper. Will make again the next time I’m asked to bring a dessert!
    I would post Photos of mine if I knew how!

    I never leave comments . This time I did. That should tell ya somethin.

  18. I’ve been looking for a recipe close to the one my mom used to make and this is it! I did add two extra bananas and 1-1/2 C toasted coarsely chopped walnuts. It was perfect. Thank you!

  19. Hi!! I followed your Banana Cake recipe for my laboratory in Home Science. We needed to bake carrot cake for the first laboratory we had this quarter and it was a success thanks to you. Even my mom loved the recipe.I didn’t used the cream cheese frosting though but it still turned out great. The cream cheese frosting was abit expensive on our side since we are students. Hope you continue giving great recipes and I hope you are well in health. Thank you, once again.

  20. It’s Banana season in my yard & I have whole Bunches at a time! I made this cake for a small dinner party 2 weeks ago & it was a big hit! I try to avoid white flour & sugar, but when baking for others I use both. Holding back a piece for my husband, I sent the rest of the cake home with our friends. The next day I made a version adapted to my needs, with 2/3 of flour gluten free etc & i enjoyed it equally. But I again made Your Recipe for Superbowl Sunday & again it was Spectacular! I see it will be a speciality here for any event during Banana Season forevermore! Thank you!

  21. Made this tonight for 3 of my 4 family members. One of them has a gluten and dairy free diet, Crohn’s Disease is a SOB. Everyone was VERY PLEASED! Thank you for this recipe!

  22. Hi Sally! Thinking of making this for a Dinner party. Was wondering your thoughts if I served it with fresh bananas and then homemade caramel sauce (warm) drizzled on right before serving? Do you think that the caramel would overpower the cake too much? Thoughts?

    1. Hi Diane, I never think desserts can be *too* extra 🙂 The bananas and caramel would be delicious if you like your desserts extra sweet!

  23. Thanks so much, Sally—for your kind and quick reply–so thoughtful and helpful of you. I wonder if a dark chocolate sauce would go better/be less sweet? I will think on it. Thanks again!

  24. Thanks so much, Sally—for your kind reply. I wonder if a dark chocolate sauce would go better/be less sweet? I will think on it. Thanks again!

  25. Made this for my ukulele group and they loved it. At first I thought the mixture was a a bit running but I needn’t have worried as it rose perfectly. I added 50g of chopped walnuts for extra texture and flavour. The topping was a but sweet for my liking so next time I will use local Cornish clotted cream. Many thanks for the recipe.

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