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. 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 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, 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.

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. 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 & 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.

808 Comments

  1. shane hannett says:

    I’m all for simple recipes and this was brilliant. I did make some adjustments in my recipe by replacing the butter milk with Greek Yogurt and adding in tbsp of coconut oil. It was perfect and so moist and extremely tasty

  2. This cake was amazing! Perfectly moist and the frosty was delicious!

  3. Simply yummy . Thanks Sally!

  4. Excellent! Easy enough for my daughter to make and very very tasty!

    1. My husband loved it! I tweaked both the cake and frosting by adding a little more cinnamon.

  5. Melanie Walker says:

    I have made this cake several times now; it is always a hit with the whole family!

  6. Thanks for the recipe for banana cake it was so delicious.

    Radha

  7. Delicious! I used oil instead of butter and 4 bananas. Topped with chocolate chips because I was too lazy to make frosting. The family loves it!

  8. I made this twice. Each time, I measured the ingredient exactly. The first time, I left it in the oven for one hour. I checked with a skewer after 40 minutes. It came out clean, but I decided to leave it longer. Even though I had covered the cake with foil, it was quite dark, so I took it out if the oven. As I watched, it sank, badly. When it was cool, I cut it in half. It was solid, all the way through.
    The second time, I did as before, but left it in the oven for two hours , having checked the oven temperature with a thermometer. The cake sank badly, again. This is tge worst banana cake recipe I’ve ever tried. I’m not a novice, I’ve been home baking for over 40 years.

    1. I followed the recipe to a “T.” The finished product was truly amazing it tasted like my grandmother’s Depression banana cake.

      I read the comment you left. Sir, it is my opinion that when your cake passed the skewer test, the cake should have been removed from the oven, left to cool.

      By compounding the baking time, you sabotaged your own cake.

      My oven does not work slowly, either. If cookies are to bake 15 minutes, I start checking at 10. Have your interior thermometer checked. Good luck in the futuure.

      1. Leaving the cake in the oven for longer wouldn’t have made it sink. Once it was properly cooked, and the structure set, it wouldn’t sink. The second time, when I left it for two hours, it was slightly better than the first time. My oven is an almost new Neff. I checked the internal thermometer with a small oven thermometer placed on the shelf. The temperatures agreed exactly.
        Ive been making cakes at home for over 40 years. I’ve never had one come out so badly. In my opinion, the recipe is too wet. I might try it again with half the amount of buttermilk, just to see what happens.

    2. Cannot understand why you would say that it is the worst banana cake recipe. Obviously you left in oven to long. Each oven is different so you always have to adjust the timing. I have a newer oven therefore have to reduce cook time between 5-15 minutes for all baking l do. As soon as skewer is clean l remove from oven. I am far far being a good baker yet l have made this cake a few times without any problems. Always delicious

    3. This cake lives up to it’s name! I have made it many times now to use up bananas and it is perfect every single time. The flavor is delightful, and the texture is outstanding. This cake is so satisfying, and those whom have I have shared this cake with always rave about it. There is not a thing I would change about this recipe!

    4. I sadly have to agree, I wanted to try a new recipe for baking banana cake as I usually use BBC good foods but thought I should try something different and came across this recipe. The only change I made was using wholewheat flour but I have to say this cake although was moist and soft, was too sweet for my liking. I like the buttercream recipe though but tweaked it a bit to my liking. Some family members with a sweet tooth enjoyed it but I unfortunately did not. I prefer cakes that are a bit more stiff but moist and less sweet than this.

  9. We are not big fans of banana cake but oh how this recipe has changed our minds. Absolutely heavenly and the frosting is divine.
    Thank you

  10. I made this banana cake today . I dropped the granulated sugar to half a cup and it turned out perfect .. so fluffy and yummy that everyone loved it so much. Thank you

  11. I Made this cake over the weekend but doubled the frosting recipe. (Didn’t use all the frosting, but needed more than what one batch made. We love extra frosting around these parts! Lol) The cake was AMAZING!!! So moist and so flavorful! I lucked out and found some extra ripe bananas on sale at the store to use. I gave half the cake to my aunt and uncle and wish I could add a screenshot of the text he sent me. It said “This is one of the top 2 cakes I have eaten in all my 76 years.” I feel like there is no higher compliment than that! I have tried quite a few of your recipes and they never disappoint! I printed this recipe out and it’s now in my recipe box for good!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      So happy to hear that this cake was a hit for you, Kourtney! Thank you so much for giving it a try.

      1. I just made this cake in between making supper and I Will Agree that it is THE BEST !, Although I added 1/2C. of finely chopped pecans and 1/2C. of mini choc. Chips. I got a late start on it so the icing will be made tomorrow, BUT right after pulling from the oven onto rack, I HAD to cut into it and try !! Lol, and so did my husband, in which we LOVE cake fresh out of the oven and this cake hit the spot !! Really don’t need the frosting, It’s that good ! :))

  12. Great recipe! It’s so moist and tasty. I used organic Stevia instead of white sugar in the cake recipe and trivia brown sugar (instead of brown sugar) works great ! I did add a whole vanilla bean (caviar) to the frosting, to make vanilla bean frosting. I make my own vanilla extract, so I always have some beans on hand. I have to say, I’m going to keep using that frosting on many things now – it’s very delicious.

  13. Most definitely the best banana cake l have eaten. A nice change from banana bread too. A big hit with the family especially my with granddaughter. I have made this cake a few times and always turns out great. Decided to split the batter in two and make a nine inch cake and the rest in cupcakes for her birthday party.
    Thanks for posting this yummy dessert.

  14. Hi sally can i half the recipe and use 8×8 square pan?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ran, you can halve this recipe for an 8×8 baking dish. The bake time will be shorter, though we can’t say exactly how long. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. For the eggs, use 1 egg then crack a 2nd egg, beat it, and use half of the mixture.

  15. Kathy M Williams says:

    I don’t care for Banana anything but I made this cake and it was the best Banana Cake I have ever had!! So moist and just plain excellent. Perfect! Thank you.

  16. 10 out of 10 !!! This really is the best Banana cake recipe ! I baked this for “home bake Tuesday” at work and it was a big hit ! Easy to follow with no tricky ingredients.
    Thank you

  17. The best cake I’ve ever made
    Done it 6 times.
    Just amazing

  18. I just doubled the recipe and made two of these gorgeous, moist, Autumnal cakes plus enough left over for 11 buns. I added extra cinnamon. Indeed it is the best Banana cake I’ve ever had too. A triumph Sally. Thank you for sharing.

  19. Great recipe . Done it a few times and it was prefect each time. My friends love it and ask for more.

  20. Experienced baker here – used to do it for a living. I followed recipe and baked in a Bundt but this one didn’t rise well. Compact and not airy. Just plain heavy. Maybe Bundt pan was the issue.

  21. Excellent banana cake! Thank for a great recipe!

  22. I made this recipe twice. Once as a two-layer 9” cake and once as cupcakes. It was delicious both times! This has become one of my family’s favorites.

    I was able to make about 40 standard size cupcakes by filling the liners only halfway as recipe says to do. However, filling them with batter only halfway was a little too small & thin for my cupcake liking. They don’t seem to rise as much as other cupcake recipes so I would say fill the liners 3/4 of the way. They’ll still come out flat enough for decorating. One more thing to note is that the cupcakes don’t peel of the liner neatly. Because of the mashed bananas in the recipe it gets stuck to the liner. Just mentioning this for the people who care about those things!

    I would say this recipe works better as a cake rather than cupcakes. But it’ll be delicious no matter what way you bake it! Trust the reviews and make this ASAP!!

    1. I made muffins, used FOIL cupcake liners 2/3 full, 20 min. No sticking at all.

  23. This is a family favorite, and it works great every time, even at high altitude (5200 feet). I’ve baked it in 2 round 9-inch pans for birthdays, a 9×13 pan, and in a jelly-roll pan for large crowds with no adjustment to quantities (but watch the bake time) and all with great, consistent results. (I may have made extra frosting to frost the layer cake.) It can be hard for me to find good cake recipes that work with my altitude, and this one always hits the spot.

  24. Really want to try this banana cake recipe, but are you sure it needs a pan 13:x9 inches, none of my pans are that big, I have one 13x9centimeteres would that do?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Diane, correct, this cake calls for using a 9×13 inch pan. However, see recipe notes for details on making in a cupcake pan, Bundt pan, or 9 inch rounds instead. This post on cake pan sizes and conversions may also be helpful for scaling the recipe for your specific pans. Hope this helps!

  25. Hi, is the icing in this recipe sturdy enough to be piped onto the cake?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Leah, cream cheese frosting can be used for basic piping, but more intricate designs are better suited for traditional buttercream. If you do want to try piping with the cream cheese frosting, you may want to put the frosting in the piping bag and then chill it for a while. Hope this helps!

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