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.

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

738 Comments

  1. Got bitten by the baking bug and decided to try this one out, but is it just me, or are we not adding in the bananas? I could just be blind…

  2. Ohhh Sally!!!
    Read this post has been like: “good morning, you have a cake in your email”…Wake up and see this is the best way to begin a Wednesday…Beautiful pictures, the cake look so yummy…and you are capable to explain how it taste in a amazing way…I can´t wait to make it, no doubts…Thanks you for share it, after begin the day with this, it can´t go bad…;)

  3. Hi Sally!! THIS TRULY IS THE BEST BANANA BREAD STICK TO YPUR FORK MOIST!! We all loved it ! thank you so so much for sharing such a beautiful recipe with us ! God less you.

      1. Sorry, bless*. Yes! I made it as soon as you posted it. It was awesome. You’re the kind of lady I’d love talking to about baking because I love talking about that to everyone as well!

  4. I have been known to nerd out on the chemistry of baking in front of people who are clearly just humoring me. It’s like when people talk about their children and other people politely listen and kind of glaze over. I’ve gotta stop doing that with my lecture on cookie dough perfection. 😉
    This looks amazing. If it’s the best, I’ve gotta try it!

  5. Hi Sally,

    this sounds delicious! Do you foresee any problems with halving the recipe and baking in an 8×8 pan?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. I don’t think so, but it might get a little tricky halving the 3 eggs! I’d use 1 full egg, then crack the 2nd egg, beat it, and use half of the mixture.

      1. Thank you for your quick response! Just reporting back in case anyone else wants to cut the recipe in half, worked great with 2 smaller bananas and 1.5 eggs in an 8×8 pan. Definitely check it around 30 minutes – I left it for 33 minutes and may have been a minute or two overbaked! Thanks Sally – this was delicious!!! 🙂

  6. This looks great, even to a not-quite banana person like me 😉 But you could tell me an olive and durian cake with celery frosting was good and I’d give it a shot, haha. Random statement: I love your front doors!! So pretty, with the color and the glass 🙂

    1. HAHAHAHA the thought of that flavor cake… and celery frosting.

      Thank you! The front doors are one of my fave parts of the house.

  7. First, LOL @ the name of this recipe. You’re fabulous. Second, now all I want is for my bananas to rot so I can make this cake. And third… WHEREEEEE did you get those brown/woodenish plates? My parents used to have salad bowls like that and I was obsessed with them when I was little. If I could get those plates now as an adult (and, let’s be honest, nerdy food photographer), I would die! Let me guess– Pier1?

  8. I can’t wait to try this! This is the cake I make for my husband every year on his birthday. That’s what his birthday cake has been since he was a kid. If you say it’s the best one you’ve ever tasted, then I’m making it!! Funny at work this morning, they offered me 3 very ripe bananas asking me if I wanted them to bake with!! Then I open this email, it’s fate!

  9. Hi, I love your banana cupcake recipe in your first cookbook! But if you’re saying this is even better then I will have to try this too.
    Btw, in your new house how are you going to arrange all your cookbooks? I know you must-have a lot, so did you get a special shelve for them or so you just put them in a bookcase?

    1. That banana chocolate chip layer cake from the book is one of my favorites. I can have two faves, right?

      Right now I just have them all on a bookcase, but I’d love to stick a few in the kitchen somewhere on display once it’s 100% done! 🙂

  10. This looks ahh-mazing!!! As someone else said, I’ve been waiting for this post too! Could this be made in a bundt pan? I love all things bundt cake!

  11. This looks and sounds amazing – I am completely sold! Those three perfectly spotting bananas I have sitting at home will be put to good use this evening 🙂 Thank you Sally!

  12. Love love love the look of this! I’m mad about banana anything, and I am totally the type of person to discuss cake at parties too, you’re not alone! I posted a banana custard (like banana pudding) cake recently which made me feel very similar to the way you feel about this cake, it’s the dense but light and moist texture that makes banana cakes so good, eh?

  13. I love your post! It is so much fun to read. Believe it or not, my daughter (5th grader) and I were just talking about a layered banana cake and how we have to track one down. Do you think this would work in a round pan as well? I’m also thinking of using your chocolate buttercream recipe instead. 

    As always, thank you so much for sharing your recipes. You are so generous!

  14. Have you ever made this recipe into cupcakes? I need to bring a dessert to the staff at school on Friday and had been thinking banana cupcakes actually. Cupcakes are so much easier to deal with in that setting. Thoughts?

  15. Hi Sally,

    I’ve been dying for the recipe since I hear your rave reviews on it!! I can just tell we’d be the best of friends. See, I once pounced on someone for their cookie recipe at a funeral!!!!!!!! Is there ever an inappropriate time to track down recipes? I think that may have been the time. But you gotta strike, you know!?

    Question – Can you make this into a layer cake?

  16. What do you think about substituting the cream cheese frosting for chocolate frosting. I love banana cake with chocolate frosting!!

  17. I have made banana bread thousands of times and somehow never thought to make banana cake!  My husband loves banana bread and cc frosting, so I need to make this for him soon.  Now I don’t know whether to make your giant cinnamon rolls or this cake this weekend, or BOTH?!?  =)

  18. OH BOY….I love nana bread! I have ‘spotty’ banana’s in my freezer now! Banana bread is one of my all-time fav’s and have never put icing on it. My mouth is watering already just reading your description Sally! Cannot wait to try it! And I love the party hats on the pups! And yes, they DO look partied out! But that’s a good thing! 🙂

  19. I LOVE banana cake, it’s absolutely one of my favourite treats. I’ve made your banana chocolate chip crumb cake more times then I can count (which, by the way, is even more amazing with BUTTERSCOTCH chips instead of chocolate). I’m definitely going to make this recipe in the Fall for a weekday treat/pick-me-up, and I’ll try it as is first, but it would also be amazing topped with a peanut butter frosting. Banana cake is really a simple and no-frills dessert but those are usually the classic ones people like best anyways. Hope Kevin had a great birthday! Looks like someone (Jude and Franklin) enjoyed themselves anyways 😉

    1. For how many times I’ve made that crumb cake, I’ve NEVER tried it with butterscotch chips. On my to-bake list this fall. Thanks Hayley!!

  20. The Banana cake looks fab. can i make it as cupcakes, we’re going to the lake for vaca and i want to make and bring these lovely’s w/ us,and cupcakes are much easier to transport!!!

  21. I can only think of one thing that could possibly improve this…chocolate chips! If I want to add them what quantity would you recommend? Would anything else need to be adjusted?
    I’m going to try it this weekend! Thanks!!

    1. I like your thinking! I’d say 1 cup chocolate chips. I wouldn’t adjust anything else. Just gently fold them in after the buttermilk + dry are incorporated.

  22. My son loves banana cake, but despises the smallest taste or a hint of cream cheese.  Would a buttercream frosting work instead?

  23. My husband would weep if I made this without a big handful of chopped walnuts tossed in.  Will give it a go tonight!  Thanks Sally!!

  24. Mmmmmmm. Banana ca- OH! OH! DOGS IN HATS!
    lol sorry. Love the recipe, obsessed with Jude and Franklin. Do they have their own Instagram? ‘Cuz they should. Thinking of starting one up for my little Dulce…because my Instagram pretty much consists of your recipes, Michelle’s recipes over at Brown Eyed Baker, and… Dulce.

      1. That’s so awesome 🙂 Will follow immediately!! Don’t feel ridiculous- they are so lucky to have such a loving mama!

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