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. Paul Anthony Menegus says:

    beat top recipe for banana cake i ever seen.

  2. Would this recipe work well made in to mini bundts? How would that change the cook time?

    1. Yes, this would likely work in mini bundt pans but I haven’t tested it so I’m unsure of the bake time. Let me know if you try it!

      1. I ended up following your cupcake version of this recipe exactly but used mini bundts instead of a cupcake tray. They came out beautifully! Thank you for the fun and delicious recipe

  3. This is the best banana cake I’ve ever made and eaten. It is even better with brown butter cream cheese frosting!

  4. Delicious! My children normally insist on chocolate in their banana cake, but they loved this. I baked a 2/3 recipe in a 9″ cake pan. The only modification was that I used all 3 bananas, and it turned out perfectly.

  5. Meena Raisinghani says:

    What a easy to make recipe, Iwas thrilled when my family of four finished the cake in 2 days and are demanding more.I did not make the frosting, it was good enough without it.

  6. I wanted to make this banana cake yesterday and I had my daughter go to the store to bring me some all purpose flour as requested in the recipe. She came back with all purpose wheat presifted bleached flour, can I use this flour? I tried googling it but they want to keep referring to it as whole wheat flour which is not the case. The flour is just what I stated it was. I want to make this cake but I also don’t want to mess up the rest of the ingredients that goes into the cake so Sally can you please help me in this crisis I’m going thru, Thanks.

    1. Can you tell me what brand the flour is? All flour is made from wheat so I’m wondering if it’s really all purpose flour and not whole wheat flour which is different?

  7. Can I substittute white with brown sugar?
    What would be the measurement?

    1. Sure can. You can replace the brown sugar with 1/2 cup (100g) of regular white granulated sugar. Some flavor will be lost, though.

  8. Every body loved this cake. I added a handful each dried cranberries and chopped walnuts because we don’t like a strong banana taste and it was really wonderful.

  9. Hi Sally,
    This is AJ again and I need more info on the banana cake that I’m trying to make. I want to know is this enough cake batter to make a 3 layer cake or do I have to divide the cake recipe in half for that third layer?

    1. Hi AJ, It is! You can see that I made it into a layer cake here: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/banana-cake-with-brown-butter-cream-cheese-frosting/#tasty-recipes-67607

  10. Imani Kosasih says:

    I tried baking only the cake for the first time this evening. And it turned out perfectly. Wonderfully moist, soft and delicious even without the frosting! Thank you so much for sharing your fools proof recipe! Can’t wait to see what our 22 BSN girls will say about the cake when they have it tomorrow!

  11. Made this cake today and it is awesome, even my 2 picky eaters that only like chocolate ate it. This is my go to recipe now. Thank you very much.

  12. Kristina Park says:

    If I wanted to make this in three 8 inch round pans, would I want to 1.5 the recipe? Also would the layers hold up and not sink under the weight of three layers? It looks delish, can’t wait to try it.

    1. Hi Kristina, this recipe can fit into 3 8-inch cake pans. The layer cake won’t sink. Bake the layers at 350F and use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  13. This actually was the best banana cake I’ve ever had! Thank you for such a delicious and easy recipe. You made this beginner baker look like a professional – everyone LOVED it!

  14. This looks amazing!!! I need to try it. I have some bananas sitting there going brown soon so I am going to try making your delicious cake!

  15. Made this yesterday to take to a friends appetizer party and received rave reviews!
    It is my forever go to banana cake recipe. And I used all of the icing!!

  16. Can I make this into a two-layer cake?

    1. Sure can. See recipe note.

  17. My first time baking in my life! Tried this as hubby loves banana cake. He said it was perfect! He took a lot of it to work and I got loads of compliments! Thanks for giving me the confidence to bake! I’ll try another one of your recipes.

  18. Can you halve the recipe?

    1. Absolutely.

      1. How can you halve the recipe if it uses 3 eggs?

      2. Use 1 egg. Then crack a 2nd egg, beat it, then use half of the mixture. That’s what I always do!

  19. I made this gluten-free using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and it was amazing! Delicious and moist — which is hard to accomplish GF. Thanks!!

  20. Is there any way of making this without sugar?

  21. What is confectioners sugar?

    1. It can also be called powdered sugar or icing sugar.

  22. Made this recipe just as instructed with the exception of adding chopped pecans on top of the cream cheese icing. My family absolutely loved it! My husband’s favorite cake is red velvet and he told me that this is right in there with it. Will definitely keep this in the recipes made this recipe just as instructed with the exception of adding chopped pecans on top of the cream cheese icing. My family absolutely loved it! My husband’s favorite cake is red velvet and he told me that this is right there with it. Will definitely keep this as my go to desert.

    1. I’m thrilled that your family enjoyed it so much, Colleen!

  23. I agree on that. I added another 100gms of flour to make it moist. But trust me baking is easy with your blog.
    Thank you so much for inspiring.

  24. I need to make banana bread for a football team. I need a lot and was going to make your banana bread recipe but then i saw this banana cake. Does it taste good without the frosting? If not, i’ll stick with your banana bread recipe.

    1. Hi Kay! I often make this cake without frosting for a banana “snack cake” of sorts. Tastes less like dessert.

      1. I devoured 1/2 loaf of this cake without the frosting… warm out of the oven. It is deeelicious!!!

  25. Jessica Harper says:

    Hi! I want to make this tonight and I’m not sure what pan I should use? Thank you.

    1. I used a glass 13x9x2 and it was perfect.

  26. Esther Karlson says:

    This is the best banana cake i have ever baked.Thanks for this recipe. I baked this without brown sugar and vanilla sugar instead of the liquid extract and the result was still very good and tasty.

  27. Hi Sally, I wanted to use some bananas that I had frozen. When I have too many bananas and they’re getting brown I keep them in freezer bags, if I defrost them to use in the cake do I need to drain off the liquid?

    1. Hi Lisa, I do the same thing sometimes! Yes, drain off the excess liquid as they defrost and enjoy!

  28. I’m not one to leave comments but I just had to! These are amazing! Super moist, the banana flavor is not overpowering like many banana bread recipes, and the icing is sooooo delicious! Even my one son who doesn’t even like the smell of anything banana cooking loved them.

  29. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G !!!
    Hi from Queensland Australia Sally,
    I rarely post comments but….
    I had some black bananas in the fridge and wanted to use them in a cake rather than throwing them in the compost. Every time I make banana bread, I tend to try a different recipe as haven’t found one that I really love. Yours was the first recipe which came up for me on google so I gave it a try. OMG you are so right !! I find banana cakes too sweet as the bananas are usually sweet so I did make a small adjustment by only putting in 50g of Demerara sugar instead of the 200g granulated the recipe asked for. Made it in a loaf tin. It was spectacular. I still feel I could reduce the sugar a little more but WOW. Best banana bread I have ever made. Hubby was impressed too. We didn’t have it with the frosting this time but I may try that down the track. Thank you for this fantastic recipe.
    One question, when I went to print from my PC, I notice you have another recipe called Best Ever Banana Bread which is slightly different on the ingredients. What is the main difference between them taste/texture wise ?

    1. Hi Michelle! So glad you enjoy this recipe. My banana bread is a little more dense while this cake is more cake-like.

  30. I made this recipe and it is outstanding! I bake for my office co-workers. For the ease of traveling, as well as space limitations, I baked them into 4 small loaves. I made my own buttermilk (I live in Mexico and I haven’t found buttermilk…but it’s easy to make anyway) and used some sour cream. So, sorry I changed up the recipe a bit, but it is terrific and everyone loved it. In fact, I’m getting ready to bake some more right now. Thank you!

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