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

1144 Comments

  1. This sounds great. Do you think I could sub out GF flour for the APF?

    1. Hi Ginny, I haven’t personally tested this with GF flour but I have heard from other readers who have tried it successfully. Let me know if you try it!

      1. Hi Sally, I just wanted to let you know that I made this cake using GF flour (Cup 4 Cup Brand) and made no other modifications, except I baked it in a half sheet pan. (There was a lot of batter! I was a little concerned it may overflow during baking, but it turned out fine in that regard.) Since GF flour doesn’t get tough during mixing like APF, I felt safe mixing it for a longer period too. ) My results were good, but still need some tweaking. The flavor of the cake was very good. My bananas were previously frozen and when they thawed, there was a lot of liquid, so I put them on the stove to reduce that down. In general, I believe this to be a good tweak on any banana flavored pastry. It concentrates the flavor while removing excess liquid. I measured exactly 1 1/2 cups of the reduced banana puree for the recipe. As I said, the flavor was great, but the texture was a little rubbery, very likely due to the GF flour. I’m not quite sure how to remedy that, but any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. My number one recipe to go to for our family reunion is coming up soon. Can’t wait to see the satisfaction on their faces. As usual. Thank you again ..

  3. Can I replace 1/4 of the butter with vegetable oil? Thanks!

    1. Ooops! I meant 1/4 cup.

    2. You can try it– the cake may be a little too moist.

  4. Christine Morgan says:

    Can you make this in two 9 inch panes instead? Without changing the recipe?

    1. Hi Christine, it fits nicely in 3 9 inch pans – you can see how I made it into a layer cake here: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/banana-cake-with-brown-butter-cream-cheese-frosting/

  5. Joann Toledo-Datu says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipe as always! I’ve been looking and tried recipes, and the outcome was sometimes it’s very dense and burnt. We have lots of bananas at home, and we love to eat I will try this one (banana muffin/bread) Thanks again.

  6. made this in a bunt cake pan even though it said it normally turns our dry. I added an extra half of a banana and lowered the temp to 340F in order to prevent it from drying out and it worked! it was a hit and it was gone in no time. everyone went back for seconds! such a great recipe we served it with dulce de leche! yum!

  7. Can this banana cake be made in a 10×15 sheet cake? Does out need to be doubled?

    1. Hi Lynae, I have not tested that pan size. It would depend on if you are using a 10×15 jelly roll pan that is only one inch high or a deeper pan.

  8. I have never made banana cake before. I’m not really sure if I’ve ever really tried it either! But when we came back from vacation, I found myself with a lot of black bananas. I decided to try this banana cake (I also made your banana bread for a friend). Let me tell you, This was the first but definitely not the last time I’m making this, it’s so delicious! Moist, fluffy with perfect banana flavor! Wow! I had some leftover caramel and added a few tablespoons to your basic buttercream recipe, then drizzled it with chocolate ganache. My boyfriend said it looked like an Entennman’s cake, lol, but tasted so much better! Can’t wait to try this with different frostings, I think brown butter frosting is next!

  9. Can I add shredded carrots to this recipe? Thanks!

    1. Hi Christy, you can yes, but I recommend reducing the mashed banana if adding shredded carrots. For example, remove 1/2 cup of mashed banana and add 1/2 cup shredded carrots.

  10. Can this banana cake be made without the icing ? Will it still taste nice just as a plain banana cake?

    1. You can definitely skip the icing. There is plenty of flavor without it.

  11. Holy moly. I would have to agree. That is the best banana cake I have ever had either. Love the tang of the buttermilk and cream cheese icing. Thank you for this delicious recipe!

  12. So delicious, the smells in my house now are incredible! I used demerera sugar and golden caster as thats what I had, unfortunately I had run out of vanilla extract so had to make do without. I used my 5 brown bananas and added white/milk chocolate chips. Very dense but so moist, I’ve not iced it this time but next time I think I’ll add a cinnamon or white chocolate buttercream for a more indulgent cake! And maybe add a little nutmeg to the batter as I love cinnamon and nutmeg. Will use this as my go to recipe now!

    1. I”m so glad you enjoyed it! If you used 5 bananas that would explain why it was dense – I use 3 which is about 1 and 1/2 cups mashed. It would be delicious with cinnamon frosting!

  13. Rade Obradovic says:

    Hi!

    Would it be possible to double-layer this cake? Or would it sink in the middle too much?

    I was thinking of making two batches and putting one on top of the other with frosting on top and in between.

    Thank!

    1. Hi Rade, you can make two 9×13 inch cakes and layer on top of each other. But the cake will be very tall and thick. You could also make it a 2 layer 9-inch round cake. Make 1 batch of batter, divide between 2 greased 9-inch cake pans, and bake for 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  14. Loved the recipe. But my cake was very dense, not fluffy at all. Followed instructions and recipe, only thing I can think is that my buttermilk and eggs were not entirely at room temp (but not cold). Would that make it dense? My cake was more like a banana bread texture. Coincidentally my neighbor made the cake the same weekend and hers was dense too. Is this cake really supposed to come out fluffy or are people just not saying it’s dense? I’m going to try making it again today and make sure the temp of ingredients are exact. The frosting is fabulous!

    1. Hi Debbie, This cake isn’t quite as light and fluffy as some of my other recipes. It should be dense, but not heavy. The crumb is very soft, but with tight crumbs. If yours was too heavy it could be that your ingredients were not room temperature which often leads to over-mixing to get everything to come tother. I’m glad you loved it though!

  15. Hi Monica, I recommend sticking with buttermilk. If you don’t have any see recipe note #2 with how to make your own easily!

  16. Hi Sally. It’s amazing. Recipie is so easy. I made it today .and it’s best in taste .I serve it without icing wid tea. All love .
    Thanks a lot for best recipe.

  17. OMG this was such a lovely cake. Mine was fluffy and moist. I knew it would be perfect the moment I saw the ingredient list. Spot on.

    1. I’m thrilled you enjoyed it!

    2. Carol sprangers says:

      Can this be made in a round pan. We are making a wedding cake .would this work

      1. This would work as a wedding cake, but you might have to keep the layers to a minimum or use bubble tea straws/Styrofoam tiers as it would sink very easily. Hope it works out 🙂

      2. If you malt the flour it will hold up a bit more as it makes bread more spongy so it’ll do the same with cake. I think a dash of rum would be nice too. I am going to try making this with some dark malt extract so I can use less sugar. It will make it have a slight banana malt flavor but it would compliment the profile. The malt works enzymatically so place a little powdered malt with the flour ahead of time and let it sit covered for a tad before making.

    3. Nancy vercammen says:

      I made this cake today exactly as the recipe called for and this is an outstanding cake and I’ve made many banana cakes in my time. Usually I opt out of cream cheese frosting but after I read the description of this one I decided to make it and it was just as described, absolutely delicious. Excellent recipe that I will return to. Thankyou for a great one!

  18. Absolutely fantastic cake recipe. Result as promised. Yum!

  19. Love this recipe

  20. Sally I made this cake 9-21-2019 this cake was so good. I bought back a empty container back home.I put the cake mix in two 9 inch round cake
    pans. Wow this cake is good.

  21. Just made it tonight. Since it is just for two of us, I halved the recipe and baked it in a 6 in pan. It was very good…lighter than banana bread. I used cake flour instead of AP. The only other change I made was that I used half and half because I didn’t have buttermilk. The frosting….oooh the frosting….I was almost hoping the cake wouldn’t come out well so I could just sit and eat the frosting with a spoon. I liked that the cake wasn’t overly sweet so it paired nicely with the sweetness of the frosting. Next time I will add more cinnamon and maybe try it with buttermilk.

  22. What an incredible cake! This is going into my recipe book as my permanent go-to for banana cake. Yum! Moist and flavoursome!

  23. I have made this recipe a few times and it has always come out great. It makes a huge cake! I bake mine in a sheet pan as it’s too much mixture for my 10″ cake tin.
    When I do want to make a 10″ cake, I half everything and it turns out awesome.
    Thank you!

  24. First off I have never liked banana nut bread or muffins. But the family loves them. I had some overripe bananas that I had frozen and made this cake with those (after thawing the bananas). I was not expecting much. I used a bit more cinnamon and a combination of canola oil and butter and made my own buttermilk with vinegar. All I can say is Wow! This was one of the best cakes I have ever tasted. This is definitely a keeper so moist and rich in flavor. Thank you so much for sharing.

  25. Great recipe! I used this to make my husband’s bday cake yesterday. I reduced the sugar and butter by 1/3 and it still came out great. I also enjoyed making my own sour milk.

  26. I loved making this cake. WHY is mine way too dense? My beaters don’t have a really slow speed to mix the flour in. Is that it? I want to give it another try. Otherwise tasty. Tks

    1. Hi Joan, If you think you are over-mixing your batter that can certainly lead to a dense cake. When a cake is mixed to quickly/for too long it over-develops the gluten. Try mixing the wet and dry ingredients together by hand if you don’t have slow speed on your mixer.

  27. Leslie Brockert says:

    This cake is amazing, Sally! I am a new-ish reader of your blog and I follow you on FB and Instagram as well. I have made several recipes and have loved them all. This banana cake is a family favorite. I have made it three times in the past couple of months. The last time I made it, I had to giggle when my husband said, “Wow, this is the best banana cake I’ve ever had.” Ha! We both agree with you. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes and baking expertise with the rest of us.

  28. Best cake ever! It’s a keeper.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  29. Jennifer Warren says:

    My family and I love love love this cake.

  30. Made your cake today, delicious and very moist! Thank you! Loved the frosting too.

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