The Best Banana Cake I’ve Ever Had

slice of banana cake in a glass baking dish

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?

slice of banana cake on a wood plate with a fork

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.

ingredients for banana cake

mashed bananas in a glass stand mixer bowl

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?

banana cake batter in a glass bowl with a whisk

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.

cream cheese frosting in a glass bowl with a hand mixer

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.

slice of banana cake on a wood plate with a fork

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

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slice of banana cake in a glass baking dish

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


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 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


  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: 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.


  1. I made this cake tonight and it was so good! The cake was not too sweet, with the icing, it was perfect. I’d make it again. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Hi there!

    If I browned the butter for the frosting recipe, would it be the same as in your “brown butter cream cheese frosting” recipe?

    Thank you

    1. Hi CeeCee! The recipes are different to (1) make more for the banana layer cake and (2) make up for the different form of butter. Here is my brown butter cream cheese frosting recipe.

  3. This is truly and delish cake! Moist, tasty and a now go-to recipe for all things ripe bananas. (Shhhhh, don’t tell my mom). I made it exact to the recipe. It does make a good sized cake so I will share half with my neighbor (okay, maybe not half).

  4. Hi Sally,

    I am hoping to make this cake double layered – what size cake pan would you recommend?

    Thank you 🙂

    1. You will need two 9-inch cake pans. See recipe notes for details!

  5. I made this cake with 4 bananas and even without the extra one, it would have been the bomb! I had to take half of it to work or I would have eaten the whole thing myself. My co-workers snarfed it up with no shame, then complained because it was sooo good and I made them eat it. This is a cake worth savoring every single bite. Thank you.

  6. Could I make this into muffins/cupcakes?

  7. Hi Sally!
    I’d like to make this for our Friendsgiving. How long should the cake bake in a 8×8 in pyrex container?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Lissa! You will have to halve this recipe for an 8×8 baking dish. The bake time will be shorter too, though I can’t say exactly how long. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. For the eggs, use 1 egg then crack a 2nd egg, beat it, and use half of the mixture.

  8. Loved this banana cake! Very flavorful. But in spite of strictly sticking to the recipe , it came out with a VERY dense layer at the bottom. What could I have done wrong?

    1. Hi Jean! It sounds like that bottom layer is not baked all the way through. It could be as simple as extending the bake time if you decide to try the recipe again. Thank you so much and I’m glad you enjoy it!

      1. Thanks Sally for responding so quickly and for the suggestion. I definitely will try the recipe again and extend the baking time.

  9. Thank you Sally for this amazing recipe! My mom only made banana cake for our birthdays (thank goodness there were six of us), and it was always so delicious! She passed that recipe down to me and I have yet to get it to turn out like hers, so when I saw this I had to try it! It was perfect! The only thing I changed was the frosting, because hers was amazing. I would love for you to try it. There is only three ingredients. 1/3 cup butter, 3 cups powdered sugar and enough strong cooled Coffee to get the necessary consistency to spread. It is sooooo good with the banana cake!! All my kids and grandkids beg for this for every occasion! Thank you so much!

    1. I’m so happy you loved this recipe! I’m sure it brought back many sweet memories 🙂 I will have to try the frosting you describe- sounds delicious especially paired with the flavors in this cake!

  10. Hi, thank you for posting this recipe. I now have/get to make 3 more. It’s indeed a great Banana Cake! 🙂

  11. I found this recipe after losing my last banana cake recipe. I’m making a cake for thanksgiving and I can’t wait to eat it! I think I made a mistake and overfilled my pan so the middle did not cook as it should’ve but once I put aluminum foil on my pan, it quickly cooked! I would recommend putting aluminum foil from the beginning so it bakes faster. Also! My local grocery store did not have butter milk so I substituted this by doing 1 tsp of vinegar and milk until it reached 1 cup. Thanks again!!!!

  12. Can I substitute oil for butter?

    1. Hi Alina! You can try creaming solid coconut oil, but I don’t recommend other oils. It’s best to stick with the recipe.

  13. Hi Sally! I tried this recipe and EVERYONE absolutely loved it!!! Thank you so much!!!

  14. Is this meant to be baked in a sheet pan?

  15. Sally, this cake was fabulous! I brought it to a potluck and got rave reviews and gave the recipe out. I loved the real banana flavor without the cake itself being overly sweet. And the frosting is to die for. I work with the daughter of a professional baker and she even said it was good. I never comment on recipes, but I had to for this one. Thank you (for making me look like a good baker)!!

  16. Simply loved this cake ♥️
    Made this today and my whole family loooooooved it!
    This is a keeper
    Thank you soooooooo very much
    Much love ♥️

  17. I made and took this cake to church (without the frosting and reduced sugar), it went so quickly and I got amazing compliments‍. Best banana cake I’ve made. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I just finished making this cake and it was amazing! I did not have cream cheese so I made a buttermilk icing and it worked great! Thanks for the recipe and the extra tips at the bottom, used viniger to make buttermilk 🙂

    2. Gandhi Ganeson says:

      Baked this cake for afternoon tea, turned out well, just added some leftover chocolate chunks and substituted buttermilk with freshmik and voila…my kids and hubby loved it. Thank you so much for the recipe. It’s been ages since i baked a decent banana cake. Wish i can post the pix here. And i skipped the frosting yet it was so tasty. Thanks again.

  18. Barbara Bennett says:

    Best banana cake ever! I used the recipe to make small loaves and iced with a little decorating for Christmas. They turned out really cute and I froze them. I would have posted a pic if I could have.

  19. Delicious. I don’t like cake but this one is Devine.

  20. Tried this at home and oh my gosh it was absolutely delicious, loved it. Thank you for this amazing recipe.

  21. This looks amazing! Do you think it will turn out fine with frozen (but thawed) bananas?

  22. The cake rose well, a little on the denser/heavier side. It tastes exactly like banana bread (unsurprisingly). The frosting was wonderful

  23. Delicious cake, my favorite one indeed. Banana is always good

  24. If I wanted to add walnuts, how much would you recommend and at which stage? Would that affect the baking time?

    1. Gently stir in about 1 cup chopped walnuts after the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together. Baking time remains the same.

  25. Has anyone tried to make this recipe in the Bundt pan. Please let me know I want the cake to be moist.

  26. Thank you,Sally for this delicious recipe. I have used it in the cup cakes for my little grandchildren.They loved them!

    Wishing you a wonderful and delicious New Year.Lucy

  27. Nice recipe. Here’s a variation since my husband doesn’t like things too sweet and eschews frosting. First, I reduced the amount of sugar by about 13%. Then, when the batter was in the 14 x 9 pan, before baking, I chopped ~ 5-6 oz of 60% cocoa chocolate (Ghiradelli chips work well to chop)…chop into various sizes. Then, I sprinkled them on top of the batter and gently poked them down into the batter at various levels. Wanted to incorporate them gently. The result was incredible!

  28. I made this cake. It is wonderful and banana cake is my favorite. Really good! I printed the recipe and will make it again.

    1. Thank you so much for making my recipe, Jeaninne! I’m glad it was a hit! 🙂

  29. Was fluffy and tasty except too much sugar. Will definitely bake again with less of it.

  30. Would this make enough for two 8 inch rounds?

    1. Yes! For more than two layers, follow my Banana Layer Cake recipe. Enjoy!

      1. Hey sally, I would like to bake this in a 12 inch square tin, do you recommend X3 recipe?

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