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. How long do you need to let the cake cool before frosting?

    1. HI Sam, I usually place the cake on a wire rack for about 45 minutes, and then move it to the refrigerator to speed things up for at least an hour. It can’t be warm at all to the touch or your frosting will melt.

  2. January 6, 2020
    Oh my this was awesome. For those of you who love banana foster serve with vanilla ice cream and whip up a banana foster sauce and forget the frosting. ( The frosting was awesome too!) . But the first bite said banana foster to me!!!! I have been looking for just this recipe. Tried a lot of frogs along the way. I am in my sixty’s so that’s a lot of banana cakes I have made. Oh this is good. So moist…..can’t say enough good things about the recipe. Thank you so much for sharing it’s a 10!!
    D

    1. Thank you so much for the positive review, Diane! I’m glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  3. I made this cake last night. It came out amazing!!! I can’t stop eating it…so moist and satisfying ♥️

    1. I’m thrilled that you are enjoying it so much, Vita!

  4. In a 6 inch pan the cake is still liquid in the Center but browning and cracking on top at 350 for 35 min now. What have I done wrong?

    1. Hi Sally, This batter is enough for 2 or 3 layers in 9-inch round cake pans (see recipe notes). If you are using 6 inch pans I’m guessing there is way too much batter in each pan – causing the outside to brown before the inside has a chance to bake.

  5. How much would I need if everything if I wanted to make a sheet pan full?

  6. How long would I bake for mini loaf pans and if they are the thin foil kind does that change the temp/time? I’d like to give as gifts 🙂

    1. Sounds like a cute idea! I recommend around 20 minutes or so to start, keeping a close eye on them and baking more if needed. They will be done when a toothpick comes out clean. Keep the same temperature. Let me know how they come out!

  7. I made this yesterday and the taste was out of this world! My children almost finished them so I’m making another batch tonight! Thanks so much

  8. Always a hit even without frosting (It’s hard to find cream cheese in the place where I live now). So in exchange, I just put 2 pieces of walnuts on the top (I always bake them in the cupcake form). Everyone loves them <3
    Thanks, Sally!

  9. Made this with gluten-free flour (and a chocolate icing): it was incredible! I couldn’t believe how moist. GF cakes can be tough to make, and turn out dry — not this one!

  10. Thank you so much for the prompt response Sally. I will be making this soon today for dessert tonight. I will post a picture and let you know how it turned out tomorrow. Love your recipes so I anticipate we will LOVE this one also. 😉

  11. Julie Naples, FL says:

    Sally – made this today for an employee at Nordstrom where I work who said she loved banana. I’m an experienced baker…found a vision board in my closet, covered it in tinfoil and FLIPPED IT SUCCESSFULLY. Then went to home goods and got a cute pale pink box and card and unicorn paper plates. Excited to put together the frosting…I never use 3 cups of sugar…much less and use more cream cheese. Cant wait to cut the pieces and lay them in the pink box. It looks perfect even without the frosting. Love your chocolate layer cake — forget which one. Thank you for posting this. Sara Lee many years ago made a frozen frosted banana cake loaf. It was killer .

    1. I’m so glad you found this recipe and are excited about it! I hope your coworker loves it!

  12. Tried this tonight…great flavor! However I have a huge problem with the cake collapsing right after it’s taken from the over and there is the layer of rubbery/uncooked texture at the bottom of the cake. Tried 2nd time and still the same (mixed more gently in case it’s a problem of over mixing). Could you advise what might have been the problem? Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Erika, It sounds like it is under-baked. Next time try baking it longer and you can tent the top with foil if you notice it’s browning too much before the center is finished.

      1. Thanks Sally! I’ll definitely try to calibrate my oven temperature since I did bake it for 60 mins.
        Btw is it normal for it to crack on the top?

  13. This is a delicious banana cake and turned out perfect baked in a 13″ x 9″ pan and shaped into a car then iced with butter icing for my Grandson’s 2nd birthday. Now been asked to do the same for his cousin’s 3rd birthday! Definately a keeper! Thanks Sally.

    1. That sounds like such a cute cake, Ruth! I’m so glad it was a hit!

  14. DELICIOUS!!!

    I added walnuts to the batter and pineapple on top if I had coconut I would have added that too!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Laurie!

  15. Best cake ever! Award winner! My family loves it! This is a keeper and you could ever eat this with just powdered sugar dusted on it if you wanted or dressed up with icing.

  16. I commend you for including weights for measurements but have to ask why you wouldn’t extend that to the bananas themselves concerning that they constitute a substantial percentage of the recipe? Bananas vary tremendously in size and thickness of skins. Thanks.

  17. In the quest to find interesting uses for ripened bananas, this recipe checks off three major boxes: tasty, uncomplicated, and quick to come together. I made it as a layer cake, start to finish less than 2 hours.

    I didn’t use the suggested extra 1/4 cup powder sugar for the frosting but wish that I would have. The frosting is creamy and yummy, but a tad more powder sugar wouldn’t have harmed it.

    This cake was a big hit with my husband. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    1. This is easily the best banana cake I’ve very made- and I make it often. I do want to try a spin on this recipe but worry to add anything to this. What would adding a box of butterscotch pudding do to the integrity of the cake?! Would any adjustments need to be made?! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  18. If I only have 2 bananas do I need to adjust the recipe? Thanks.

  19. Aida Luz Delgaddo says:

    Can I substitute buttermilk for sour cream? Because where I live is very difficult to find buttermilk. If not, what can I use?

    1. You can, but the cake will taste a little heavier. See recipe note for substitution.

    2. 1 tablespoon of vinegar added to 1 cup milk makes a good buttermilk substitute.

  20. I expected a better cake. It tasted fine (like banana bread) but was too dense and not moist enough.

  21. Hi! I am baking this cake tonight-what else would be a good frosting since i don’t have any cream cheese? Would a simple icing be ok??

    1. Definitely. I love vanilla icing as well as the maple icing I use on my banana scones.

    2. When I mixed in the eggs and vanilla it looked separated like it didn’t blend. Did I do something wrong?

      1. Hi Katie, Make sure that your eggs are at room temperature. Room temperature ingredients bond together very easily since they’re warmer, creating a seamless and evenly textured batter. Cold ingredients do not incorporate together as easily.

  22. Barbara Sparnell says:

    Just made this tonight and it is DELICIOUS! Taking it to a pot luck tomorrow at work but let my husband and son have a taste because they were drooling! My son asked me to make another one soon for his class!

  23. Graham Murtha says:

    IS the 350 degree F (175 degrees C fan forced or standard oven temp. Great cake but took longer than expected to cook.
    Graham

    1. Standard, conventional oven setting. If using convection or fan-forced, the universal rule is to lower the oven temperature by 25°F.

      1. Thanks for the reply. By the way the cake did turn out fantastic, the grand kids devoured it. The Alfoil trick did its job as well.

  24. 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.

  25. Tobi Whittemore says:

    I am a horrible baker so I did not expect the cake to turn out as good as it did. I did not have cream cheese but had mascarpone cheese and substituted it. I used 3 cups powdered sugar and felt the frosting a bit too sweet so I put in a tablespoon lemon juice. Perfect cake.

  26. Has anybody tried making a GF version? If so, would you please share what flour substitute you used (almond meal, coconut flour, pre-mixed GF baking mix like Pamela’s or Bob’s)? Thanks in advance. Baking for a friends birthday 🙂

  27. Just made this cake and it’s amazing!! We love it! Thank you for another awesome recipe!

  28. Hi SALLY!!!!

    What a wonderful recipe. I made this cake 4 times last month, it was pretty popular the first time I made it!!! I LOOOOVE this banana cake.
    This recipe was also really nice with fresh berries on top as decoration

    Thank you <3

  29. Tried this recipe today. It was delicious! The recipe was easy to follow. The cream cheese icing is amazing.

  30. I am looking to make a banana cake for my daughters first birthday. Would also like to make cupcakes out of it. Has anyone tried? How would it change cook time and temperature?

    1. Look at the notes it’s says it all. Hope works well for you

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