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

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

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

Mashed bananas for the best banana cake on

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

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

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

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

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


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.


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


  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.


  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
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


  1. How would I scale down to either one or two, 6 inch pans? Now that my children are gone, I would love to be able to make more desserts for two. Also, would you recommend 6 x3 or 6 x 2 inch pans? Thank you so much for sharing all of your recipes! I have made several of them and have received many compliments.

    1. Hi Jan! The best way to do this is to make the banana cupcakes batter (just like this cake batter, but halved) and divide between 3 6 inch cake pans. You can freeze the extra layer(s) if needed. Bake time is about 20 minutes, but use a toothpick to test for doneness. I recommend 6×2 inch pans.

      1. I can’t find 6×2 inch pans locally. Do you know what the cooking time for 8 or 9 inch pans would be?

  2. I made this cake, came out good, no problem with rising or sinking, added walnuts because I like it, it’s fairly moist, didn’t taste the cinnamon in it, banana taste was good, however it’s not the best banana cake I ever ate, good but not great, after reading the comments I expected more. Also didn’t get a nice color, it’s pale.

  3. I made this cake last week in two 9″ pans and was absolutely delicious .
    Made it today and total disaster. I am not sure what I did wrong. All I can think of is in the final step I used the electric beater and then realised it said not to over beat. They turned out like pancakes. Have you any idea if over beating would cause the cake to be flat.

    1. Hi Marie! Over-beating leads to dense cakes. So much air is whipped into the batter that it deflates as the cake is cooking. I’m glad you loved it the first time you tried it. Careful not to over-mix if you make it again.

      1. Thank you so much Sally for your reply. It still tastes fine so is perfect for a banana slice

  4. I’m in Colorado, so I added an extra egg and used 3 1/2 bananas. I didn’t have buttermilk, so I substituted 1 cup milk and a 1/2 cup Greek yogurt. It turned out amazing! It was delicious and moist.

  5. Sally, I totally forgot to add the 3 eggs, I’ve been blending everything in my mixer lately and than my dogs had to be let in, heatwave here, returned to the kitchen and I totally forgot to add them, the batter seemed truly fine…but without the eggs how will it turn out? Never do that again! Ugh!!

  6. Dear Sally, it’s always with some trepidation that I bake using an American recipe but given you kindly provided mls and gms AND I had 16 frozen bananas (!) AND the title included “Best Ever” I thought I’d give it go. BONZA! It cooked in exactly the time stated, fell out of the tin a beautifully even golden colour, and is an absolute taste sensation. Will have it on repeat for the remaining 13 bananas! Ann

      1. I made the cake and it is delicious. I would, however, like it a little lighter in texture. I am not a seasoned baker, but if I add more baking powder would it be lighter?

  7. This was delicious! I replaced butter and buttermilk to make a dairy free option
    It was enjoyed by all!

    I wonder would it be possible to make it fluffY?
    or do dense and fluffy not go together?!

    1. Hi Dee,
      I am also wondering about the dairy free option. What milk did you use? I was thinking almond. Also, how did you replace the cream cheese? Thank you!

  8. I’m wondering how the ingredient amounts in this Banana Cake recipe compare to your Banana cupcakes recipe. I had great success with the Banana Cupcakes but I’m not quite doing everything right with this banana cake (btw the guinea pigs ate my last banana cake up and liked it despite my lack of perfection.) The Banana Cake has a considerable amount more flour and buttermilk along with more butter and sugar than the banana cupcakes. What differences does this make in the final outcome? I’d like to try this banana cake recipe again but also wondering if the banana cupcake recipe can be used as a cake too since the cupcake recipe really worked well for me? Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Nita! Which banana cupcakes are you making? This banana cupcakes recipe is basically 2/3 of this cake recipe. So the results should be the same! Feel free to use the banana cupcakes recipe for a 9×9 inch square cake.

  9. Just started to make this cake. Everything ready to begin……but I have a bit, about 1/2 cups worth, of a problem. I had three bananas but mashed they only measure 11/4 cup. What can I do here? I thinking just carry on..maybe increase the buttermilk by 1/4 cup? I really don’t know …would really appreciated a few ideas!
    Thanks and happy baking

    1. Just seeing this comment now! That will be plenty of mashed bananas for the cake without risking the texture or taste. How did it come out?

  10. Definitely better than other banana cakes I’ve made recently! I don’t tend to have buttermilk in and so used yoghurt as a substitute – I’ve also used the soured milk as a buttermilk substitute before in other recipes and both methods seem to work. I did these as cupcakes, and also added raisins and semi-sweet chocolate chips and they were really fluffy and moist on the inside – my little girl loved them!

  11. I just made this the other day.
    I normally make banana muffins and couldn’t imagine that a cake would taste better.
    It tasted so good that I have another in the oven.
    Thanks for taking the effort to get hold of and share such a great recipe!

  12. Hi Sally. I’ve been making different versions of Banana Cake for years now and yesterday I made your version for the first time. It’s definitely THE BEST BANANA CAKE I’ve ever made!!! Absolutely loved it…nice height, colour and moist throughout (no dry sides). Thanks so much for a fabulous recipe.
    I followed it to a tee, but used a 26cm round tin as couldn’t find my square one (we’ve recently moved). Also used 3 1/2 bananas as mine weren’t large – my bananas were very ripe.
    Such a beautiful cake and the frosting was fabulous too. I blitzed up some pistachios and sprinkled those over the top. Will tag you in insta when I post my pics this week x

  13. Hi Sally,
    My Mom and Dad’s Big 70th birthday celebration is coming up next Saturday. I was asked if I could make a banana cake, my Dad’s favorite.

    Do you have any instructions as to how I could make this cake into a 2-layered round cake …using two 9-inch aluminum round baking pans?

    And if I wanted to get even fancier… How I could also convert this into a 3-layered round cake, using three 9-inch round aluminum baking pans? Didn’t know if I should just double the recipe and make four layers but only use three of them or should I just equally divide the batter into three pans? Didn’t know if it would all fit or how much batter to put in each pan. Oven temp?
    (including the cream cheese frosting instructions… double it?).

    Sorry, if I’m asking too much.

    I also wanted to thank you and compliment you on your delicious cookie recipes. I have already made several different kinds of your cookies, and they have all turned out absolutely delicious… just like I was looking for.

    I was telling my husband that I can’t believe how generous and sharing you are with your recipes. You have put so much time and work into figuring out how to perfect these recipes and I couldn’t believe how generous you are with sharing them online with us all for free. I also love your cookie cookbook. Your cookie recipes and generosity has brought so much enjoyment to my family, friends, and neighbors already. Thank you so much!

    Gwen H. ( Yorktown, VA)

    1. Hi Gwen! What an incredibly kind message, thank you so much! I sincerely appreciate it. 🙂

      This is the perfect cake for a celebration. You can divide this batter between two or three 9-inch cake pans. I make a 3 layer banana cake with the same batter here:

      You’ll find that recipe helpful for the bake time/temperature!

      1. Hi Sally,
        Thank you so very much for your quick reply and sharing your helpful information. I can’t wait to try and make this banana cake for my parents’ Birthday Celebration!

        I was also just telling my husband yesterday that Food Network or a cooking TV channel really needs to give you your own baking show on that channel (seriously). All your cookie recipes that I have tried have turned out perfect like a bakery. Everyone has absolutely loved the cookies I have made with your recipes. Also, you give such great, easy-to-follow, detailed instructions and tips with really nice pictures… so helpful. I can’t wait to try many more of your other recipes. Thanks so much again for your kind and generous spirit!
        Gwen H. (Yorktown, VA)

  14. I loved it. So moist. The ingredients I had on hand were not exactly like the recipe but they worked out fine. I had to substitute some evaporated milk and some low fat milk then I added vinegar to make the milk sour.Also I used salted butter. All other ingredients were as per the recipe. I couldn’t find my 13 x 9 came pan so I used a bundt cake pan. I cooked it as described and it came out perfect. The cake even came out of the pan in one piece. I didn’t make any frosting and sliced it and ate it just as it was. It was so moist and very delicious. A must try recipe.

  15. Sally
    Omg!!! Best ever Banana cake lived up to the name.
    It was so moist . I brought it to work, they raved about it so much.
    Thank you for sharing all these recipes with us.I sure look so forward to seeing my emails from you.

    Thank you

  16. Tried this recipe but forget to put buttermilk! But still it is sooo yummy!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe

  17. Hi Sally: I have a “tried and true” 50 year old banana cake recipe that I have been making for years. Your raves about the best banana cake ever made me want to try your recipe. It was fabulous and my entire family, even some who don’t eat banana cake by choice, loved it. I made it exactly as written and can’t wait to make it again. It is definitely an everyday cake and also a company coming cake. Thanks so much Sally.

    1. Love reading this, Maureen! I’m thrilled you gave this recipe a try and that it was a hit with your family 🙂 Thank you for the positive feedback!

  18. OH MY Goodness ! Loved loved loved this cake. I never made a banana cake before. I always made banana bread. I will forever keep this and your name attached to my memory.

  19. This cake was sooooo good! My whole family enjoyed it and I was pleased to find a from-scratch recipe! Thank you!

  20. Yummy! The batter makes 24 large cupcakes. I didn’t have any butter so I substituted solid coconut oil…great texture and taste 🙂

  21. Someone else asked this above but I didn’t see a reply- I want to add mini choc chips, have you tried it that way? My son’s birthday is coming up and I want to try it out…

  22. Great banana bread! I would add a little more cinnamon
    And. About 10 more minutes in the oven for it to brown. But then, that depends on your oven.

  23. Hi just wondering if anyone has ever made this with chocolate icing?
    Need to make a cake black, and banana is the flavour requested!!

  24. I never comment on this things, but this time I will because I made this for me and my boyfriend (yes, the FULL recipe) and he said it’s definitely the BEST BANANA CAKE EVER. The best part?? I totally forgot about the milk, but only noticed when it was already in the oven. The bestest part? It was still soooo moisty and delicious! Specially I believe the frosting gives it a nice touch. I’m 100% saving and recommending this recipe!

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