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?

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 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.

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!

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.

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.

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

\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 (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 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.
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

1154 Comments

  1. Sigrid Sattler says:

    Sally!!! I made this cake this morning and it’s DANGEROUS!!! It is by far the best ever! I came upon it by accident and almost didn’t open my email this morning, but once I did and realized I had all the ingredients (including 3 bananas staring at me that were getting really ripe) I was hooked! I did not do the frosting but the cake by itself is delicious!
    Thank you for sharing!  You got a friend and follower for life! 🙂
    Sigrid from Reno , NV 

  2. Could you add chocolate chips to the batter and omit the cream cheese frosting? I want to make this cake for a party but my family dont really like that type of topping

    1. Sure can! I’d say about 1 cup of chocolate chips.

  3. I made this last night and brought it into work this morning. It’s almost gone already! I was surprised at how dense it was, almost like banana bread in a cake pan. I was hoping it would be a bit lighter/springy but everyone is enjoying it! Will be making the PB Choc bakery style cookies this weekend for a get-well gift to my FIL.

  4. Hi Sally I have just made this cake and it’s so good, just a few things I had far too much mixture for the tin which was correct size, so made 6 cup cakes as well, also the cake has sunk any idea’s why please cup cakes also sunk .

    Regards

    Carol

    1. Perhaps underbaked? That would be my first guess!

    2. Are you high altitude at all? I have to half all leveners and bake at a slightly lower temperature on every cake recipe I use and it works like a charm! No more fallen cakes and cupcakes!

  5. The vanilla frosting was AMAZING!  Thanks!!  

  6. Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen says:

    Banana cake (or any banana related dessert honestly) is my favorite!! This looks so amazing. I would likely be the other person sharing your excitement in spotty bananas 😀

  7. Hello Sally,

    Could you please let me know if I can make this cake in a bundt pan?

    Thank you very much.

    1. Sure can! I’m just unsure of the bake time.

  8. Hi Sally! I just love your blog, your dogs and your recipes! This cake is the moistest ever but I couldn’t get the center to get out of its “pudding stage” ever after 75 mins! What did I do wrong?

    1. Which oven rack did you use? Maybe place it a little higher in the oven. Also– do you use an oven thermometer? Make sure your oven is at the exact temperature. And don’t open that oven door much, which can extend the bake time. 1 hour 15 minutes is awhile for a 9×13 cake though!

      1. I had the cake in second rack from the top and my oven thermometer was spot on 350. I was able to save the other edges and frost them. They were delicious! (Co-worker said “7th Heaven”!) 

  9. The flavor is amazing ! I did notice that after covering the cake tightly and refrigerating overnight the cake become more dense and actually had condensation on the top! Even after letting it come to room temp it remainder the same.  It also pulled away from the sides and made the cake less fluffy. Any advice ? 

    1. Oh geez! Ok, maybe keep it at room temperature overnight before frosting. Did you let it cool completely before refrigerating? Glad you liked the flavor. Thanks Jessica!

  10. Another great recipe! Everytime i need to make something i ALWAYS come to you because i know i will get an amazing result! Just wanted to thank you for such great recipes and hope you have a great day! 🙂 

    1. Thanks Isabella, I really appreciate that!

  11. This does look great …and I love your writing style. Question: What makes this a banana cake vs. banana bread. I assume that a banana bread is more dense and firmer but may I ask what the ingredients are that make this a cake and not a banana bread? Or is it the combination of ingredients or amount of sugar or mixing ….?
    And I too …LOVE the dogs!

    1. Hi Kelly– it’s usually the density of the crumb. Bread is typically more dense than a cake. Whipping air into the batter through the creaming process lightens it up and the leaveners lift this cake up pretty high so the crumb isn’t as tight as a bread. Great question!

  12. I notice the first photo shows the cake in glass. Does it affect anything if you bake this in a metal pan versus glass? It looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it. 

    1. I baked it in a metal pan the other day actually– and there was actually no difference at all. Same bake time, same result.

      1. Good to know. I ended up baking it in metal with great results. This cake lives up to its name! It’s so delicious and moist. I almost switched the frosting because my husband isn’t usually a cream cheese fan, but even he went crazy over it. It’s the perfect flavor combination.

  13. Id love to make this recipe as cupcakes. What kind of nuts would you recommend?

    1. Chopped walnuts would be my top pick!

      1. Catherine Smith says:

        I’m going to add walnuts also! You recommend 1 cup of mix-ins, correct?

  14. Made the cake yesterday. There are two pieces left. It was really the BEST banana cake we’ve had. The taste and moistness of it was perfect. My grandchildren didn’t want frosting so we just devoured the cake without it. My granddaughter actually commented about your site saying we get a lot of good recipes from it. She’s soooo right. Thanks for another great one.

    1. Makes me very happy! Thanks Ann 🙂

  15. I made a double batch last night per my husband and daughter’s request. I was making one to go to a potluck at work this morning and they wanted one also. Naturally, this recipe is fantastic, the cake is the perfect texture and the frosting is amazing. Thank you for sharing with us. 🙂

    1. Would be perfect for a potluck!

  16. Cakes to Bangalore says:

    I love your recipe and looks delicious I will try this, thanks for sharing

  17. Hey sally,
    Made this cake yesterday and it has an amazing flavour. However, it turned out quite rubbery. What could be the reason for that. Also, i omitted the baking soda. Could that be it?

    1. Yes. I wouldn’t leave out the baking soda if you try it again.

  18. Half cup margerine,one and a half cups sugar,1 tsp baking soda,1 tsp baking powder,two and a third cups flour,three mashed bananas,third of bag of white chocolate chips and third of bag ofsemi sweet chocolate chips,use 9 by 13 foil pan,bake at 325 degrees till tests done with toothpick,cool and drizzle w ith chocolate frosting….so delicious and moist…does not use eggs.

  19. Oh my god! This was just so scrummy that we had to make it 2 days in a row just for the kids of course! 🙂

  20. Hi Sally,
    Just made the cake this afternoon and tasted it while still warm,with no frosting! OMG it’s simply delicious…… Moist & fluffy and delicate banana taste! I made a few substitions: I used 1 1/2 cups of regular flour & 1 1/2cups of spelt flour,I didn’t have enough butter so I used margarine instead and I had only had xlarge eggs in the fridge so I used 3of them. I cooked it 50 minutes in a metal bundt pan! Et voilà! I’ll go tomorrow to the store to get more bananas because the cake will be gone by tomorrow night ! Thanks Sally for your wonderful recipes!

    1. I’ve NEVER tried it warm. Now I have to make it all over again to experience it 😉

  21. 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!!! 🙂

  22. Thank you for the “prepare ahead” section you have on so many of your recipes – it’s a confidence booster when approaching a recipe just to know what you would do! Anyways, this was sooo yummy. That cream cheese frosting is just on point.

    1. Thanks Amy, I’m happy you find the make ahead tips helpful!

  23. Made this yesterday and it’s amazing! I scaled down by a third to fit a 9×9 tin and, next time, I’ll reduce the baking time a little more, I think, but it’s so good! I reduced the cream cheese and butter by 25% and made up the quantity with smooth peanut butter because who doesn’t love peanut butter?? Thanks, Sally 🙂

    1. Definitely trying this with your cream cheese PB frosting!

  24. Hi Sally I love all you’re recipes! I’m making this cake this week but would it be OK if I used 4 bananas instead? I always add one more when making banana bread.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! I’m unsure about the extra banana, but you can give it a go!

  25. Sally, this is not only the best banana cake i’ve ever had, but the best i’ve ever made. I make banana cake about once a month and have never stuck to one recipe, always looking for the “perfect” recipe. We had guests over today and I made them this – even I was blown away at how amazing it was!! Thank you SO much for another great recipe, Sally. I have finally found the perfect banana cake!! 🙂

    1. Thank you for coming back to let me know!!

  26. Hi! I can’t wait to try this banana cake. It looks amazing! I just have one question; our family doesn’t care too much for cream cheese frosting, so I was wondering if you knew of any other frosting ideas, besides the cream cheese and peanut butter? Thank-you! 

      1. Thanks! I will have to give it a try! 🙂

  27. I made this for my daughter’s birthday cake. I was nervous, because I had had a few cake disasters lately (imagine a carrot cake that looks done but is really like a carrot milkshake in the middle), but a birhtday calls for cake, and home made is so much better. It was great! Thanks so much for a recipe that works, is deicious, and may just break the cake curse I have been under.

  28. Hi!  I’m looking for a banana cake as per my sons request for his birthday.  I’ve never made anything from your site that wasn’t great!! :). How would this cake hold up to decorating with a buttercream and marshmallow fondant?  I’m planning to make his cake in the shape of a ball to create the BB-8 robot from the newest Star Wars movie.  Would this cake hold together well enough for that?

    1. It should hold up perfectly!

  29. See my recipe note. 🙂

  30. Hi Sally, 
    I’m planning to make this cake for a get together on the weekend. Can u tell me if I can substitute coconut oil in place of butter in the batter? 
    I know it might change the flavor a bit right? But would it turn out the same in sponge and denseness? 
    I just have a or of coconut oil around at home and have loved using it in all other baking so thought I’d use it in this too.. 
    Thanks a lot 

    1. The flavor would change, yes, but I feel like the texture should be quite similar. Let me know if you try it!

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