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. Made this tonight and it turned out just amazing.
    Light and delicious, did not bother frosting , just dusted with icing sugar and that was perfect.

  2. This was to die for! Best banana cake i have ever tasted!
    It was so moist and fluffy and all round perfect!
    Thank you for sharing your talent with us!
    Your cakes are always a hit when it comes to events!

  3. This banana cake turned out great, even though I substituted a few things and made extra since I had 4 very ripe bananas. I used almond milk instead of buttermilk, used almond extract since I couldn’t find my vanilla, and used Bisquick mix since I had no flour…yes, my pantry is lacking, it’s been years since I’ve baked. I recall my mom always made a great banana cake, so I was wanting to make one like she did, so moist it never even needed frosting. Well, I’m never going to say what I make is as good as mom’s, but it is pretty darn close! Considering I haven’t baked in a long time, my measurements were improvised and this is a new oven with new baking dishes, I’m pleasantly surprised this turned out so well! I made a 9×13 and a small bread loaf size dish, both just amazingly delicious! I was never a big frosting fan, so I just cover loosely with foil so it doesn’t touch and refrigerate, it just gets very sweet and moist on the top naturally…so good! Thanks for you recipe!

  4. Adapted this with Almond milk and egg replacer for the husband who is intolerant. Added an extra banana to the mix, and sliced a couple more, sandwiched between two layers of mixture. Turned out totally dreamy! Great recipe!

  5. This is an unbelievable cake. Great flavor and very moist. A little dense like carrot cake and that’s why we all loved it. Family has already requested it again. Thanks Sally! Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

  6. Made this 2 days ago for just the hubby and myself and half of it is already gone! It’s just as good today as it was the day I made it. I keep it covered tightly with Saran wrap on my counter as our kitchen is cool in temperature. I have only eaten this cake room temperature but I think it would be very good refrigerated too, I just am not sure how it would keep in the refrigerator.

    This is the first recipe I’ve ever tried from Sally’s Baking Addiction and I’m glad I did. I will be trying more recipes from this site in the future! The tips and easy-to follow-instructions are thoughtfully written and detailed. Very helpful!

    This cake and the icing are both very, very good! The recipe title is true, it just might be the best banana cake I’ve ever had!
    I Followed ingredients and recipe directions exactly. Didn’t change a thing. Perfect as written. Was easy to make with ingredients I already had on hand.
    Cake was moist and tender. Perfect banana flavor. Not overly sweet; just right!
    I measured out the amount of bananas to exactly 1 + 1/2 cup mashed bananas. I used bananas that were spotty on
    the outside, not black.
    The taste is like banana bread, but texture is softer, more tender, and much less dense than a banana bread. It has a tight-crumb. The icing was great, too. Even my husband keeps going back for more, and he isn’t even into sweets or baked goods. He even made comments twice that it was really good. Which is surprising because he is a man of few words and usually doesn’t care much about anything I bake.
    The ONLY thing I did differently was I added 1 Cup of chopped walnuts on top of the icing.
    Superb! This recipe is a keeper. Will make again the next time I’m asked to bring a dessert!
    I would post Photos of mine if I knew how!

    I never leave comments . This time I did. That should tell ya somethin.

  7. I’ve been looking for a recipe close to the one my mom used to make and this is it! I did add two extra bananas and 1-1/2 C toasted coarsely chopped walnuts. It was perfect. Thank you!

  8. Hi!! I followed your Banana Cake recipe for my laboratory in Home Science. We needed to bake carrot cake for the first laboratory we had this quarter and it was a success thanks to you. Even my mom loved the recipe.I didn’t used the cream cheese frosting though but it still turned out great. The cream cheese frosting was abit expensive on our side since we are students. Hope you continue giving great recipes and I hope you are well in health. Thank you, once again.

  9. Debbie Walker says:

    Superb Banana Cake recipe, everyone loved it.

  10. Carol Jo Papac says:

    It’s Banana season in my yard & I have whole Bunches at a time! I made this cake for a small dinner party 2 weeks ago & it was a big hit! I try to avoid white flour & sugar, but when baking for others I use both. Holding back a piece for my husband, I sent the rest of the cake home with our friends. The next day I made a version adapted to my needs, with 2/3 of flour gluten free etc & i enjoyed it equally. But I again made Your Recipe for Superbowl Sunday & again it was Spectacular! I see it will be a speciality here for any event during Banana Season forevermore! Thank you!

  11. Kasaundra Adelman says:

    Made this tonight for 3 of my 4 family members. One of them has a gluten and dairy free diet, Crohn’s Disease is a SOB. Everyone was VERY PLEASED! Thank you for this recipe!

  12. Hi Sally! Thinking of making this for a Dinner party. Was wondering your thoughts if I served it with fresh bananas and then homemade caramel sauce (warm) drizzled on right before serving? Do you think that the caramel would overpower the cake too much? Thoughts?

    1. Hi Diane, I never think desserts can be *too* extra 🙂 The bananas and caramel would be delicious if you like your desserts extra sweet!

  13. Thanks so much, Sally—for your kind and quick reply–so thoughtful and helpful of you. I wonder if a dark chocolate sauce would go better/be less sweet? I will think on it. Thanks again!

  14. Thanks so much, Sally—for your kind reply. I wonder if a dark chocolate sauce would go better/be less sweet? I will think on it. Thanks again!

  15. Made this for my ukulele group and they loved it. At first I thought the mixture was a a bit running but I needn’t have worried as it rose perfectly. I added 50g of chopped walnuts for extra texture and flavour. The topping was a but sweet for my liking so next time I will use local Cornish clotted cream. Many thanks for the recipe.

  16. This was great! Very easy and came out perfectly! Lots of banana flavor (I used big bananas)!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Emily!

  17. Have you ever tried using half butter & half shortening for the cake? Thanks!

    1. joseph saratore says:

      I made my second one today,But I had fresh bananas so I microwaved them till they were soft ,This Banana Cake is Crazy good ,My Favorite now ,And the Cteam Cheese frosting is to die for,I wouldn’t change a thing,Only I’ll have to see my Cardiologist sooner…lol

  18. My Son and I had 3 spotted bananas and all the other ingredients to make this cake, so so yummy!! We made it last night and everyone agreed that this cake is a perfect blend of sweetness and banana flavor. The frosting is to die for! Thanks

  19. I have over ripened bananas that need used up and my boyfriend mentioned making banana cake (a favorite of his mom’s). When google popped up Sally’s recipe, I knew this would be a winner! Baking tomorrow!

  20. Best banana cake recipe ever! Made three times! I don’t even bother icing the cake!

    1. Love reading this, Helen!!

  21. It’s even better with caramel flavoring instead of the vanilla!

  22. Once again, an amazing recipe!!!!

  23. I have had mixed success with banana cake recipes in the past- either the cake was too dry or lacked flavor. I can honestly say that I have found the BEST banana cake recipe I have ever made- DELICIOUS!! Perfectly moist, great flavor, and yummy cream cheese frosting. Thanks Sally for another great recipe! I took this cake to work and it was a hit! One of my coworkers chased me down the hall just to tell me how delicious the cake was!!.

  24. Frankie Vermaak says:

    Would you recommend making two loaves as in banana bread and then frost them?

    1. This batter would fit into 2 9×5 inch loaf pans, yes. I’m unsure of the exact bake time, but you can use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  25. The best banana cake ever. Lovely and moist. The cream cheese frosting is wonderful.

    Next I’m going g to try the coconut cake.
    I live in north of England UK

  26. Fantastic! 3rd time I’ve made this and family just loves it!

  27. I made this recipe for the first time (without frosting). It was delicious and the kids loved it.
    Baked in an 8×8 inch pan… Took alot longer than expected.

    But the problem was it ended up looking like a massacred mess!

    How do you slice it without breaking it into pieces?

  28. This is a wonderful cake and a fool proof recipe. I had my two kids (older teens) whip up and bake the cake then I came home and made the frosting. I would not call my kids baking experts, this is probably the first time they have made one without me being there, but the cake came out moist and scrumptious. Will definately keep this recipe and make in the future. So Good.

    1. I’m thrilled that you all enjoyed it so much, Tammy. And yay for your kids taking on the baking!

  29. Made this homemade banana bread with the frosting today for the first time! Was the best banana bread ever, I agree. The frosting though was not as sweet as I’d like it. I think it had too much of a cream cheese taste which was over bearing.

  30. Linda Mullen says:

    Made this cake yesterday as I had bananas that were perfect for cake or bread!! I substituted coconut milk, which I added the vinegar to, (to sour)
    For the buttermilk since I did not have any!! This is such a moist, delicious cake!! Will definitely make it again! I might even make it into cupcakes next time!! So yummy, this could be dangerous!!

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