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. My 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

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.

She 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. The bananas you see above are just right (and it’s what you want for banana bread too). 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 lumps.

banana cake batter in a glass bowl with a whisk

One more thing to note: buttermilk. 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 our 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. 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.

slice of banana cake on a wood plate with a fork

The best banana cake I’ve ever had. We love it so much we turned it into a chocolate marble banana Bundt cake, too. 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

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 & Freezing Instructions: Prepare cake through step 6. 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 or unfrosted cake freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature, and then frost if needed and serve.
  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. Bake for 60-70 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.

762 Comments

  1. Hi Sally, thank you for the amazing recipe. Just a small question, I halved all the ingredients but used 2.5 banana, cold buttermilk, and baked for 45 minutes. The result is very wet middle part and uncooked-batter-like bottom part. Do you have any ideas why? Would be great if you can help to solve the puzzle. Thank you so much.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi M, If you are cutting the recipe in half you only want to use 1.5 bananas (3/4 cups mashed). If you use too much banana the batter would be too wet. Also be sure to use room temperature buttermilk.

  2. Rose Robinson says:

    I made cake today and my is dry and not enough banana favor

  3. Trudie Duckworth says:

    Fabulous recipe!! I made this as a Bundt cake with a dusting of icing sugar….delicious

  4. Wow! I have never made anything with my over-ripe bananas except bread until now. This recipe is amazing! I will keep this one forever! So incredibly moist! The icing is perfect! Delicious!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. Michelle Gibson says:

    Delicious! love the frosting as well next time will add walnuts

  6. Tamisyn Grantz says:

    So good! Added about 3/4 C of chopped walnuts and 3/4 C semi sweet chips…which added 3-5 minutes to the baking time. Really enjoyed a new way to use over ripe bananas!

  7. This cake is divine. Everyone always destroys this instantly. Today I added PB to the icing, which was a GREAT life choice! Lol. PB just makes all things better.

    1. Susan Hardison says:

      I followed this recipe and it was delicious! Thanks for sharing. Now I can make my own instead of buying it!

  8. What quantities should I use if i want to make it in an 8×8 pan?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shelley, you can halve this recipe for an 8×8 baking dish. The bake time will be shorter, though we 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.

  9. I love this recipe, the cake is so good! I do not make the frosting, because even homemade unfortunately I do not like frosting, so I add walnuts to the cake and it turns out great.

  10. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

    Hi Lamia, Sugar is used for moisture and texture in baked goods as well as taste. You can certainly try reducing the sugar, but the resulting texture will be different than intended.

  11. Jenny Stagg says:

    Hi Sally, how long do you recrecommend to bake banana cake in the retangular tin 9inch (like a banana loaf) please?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jenny, this batter would fit into 2 9×5 inch loaf pans, yes (or halve the recipe for one loaf pan). We’re unsure of the exact bake time, but you can use a toothpick to test for doneness. Enjoy!

  12. After over an hour it is still raw and not baking well so I can’t give it more stars sadly. If I tried it again I’d use less batter or two pans

  13. Wow! I made it just as written. It was absolutely delicious. My husband gave it a 10!

  14. Hi sally, I am a big fan of yours & have used so many of your recipes & you are my one go to person when it comes to cakes & bakes, hence when I was asked if I bake banana cake I quickly looked up your page & said I do..now i have a small query, is it possible to bake this cake in a 1kg loaf tin??if yes then what will be the baking time??pls do reply as I have to bake tomorrow

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah! This batter would fit into 2, 9×5 inch loaf pans (or halve the recipe for one loaf pan). We’re unsure of the exact bake time, but you can use a toothpick to test for doneness. Enjoy!

  15. Wow I am never going back to banana bread again. This is such a good recipe! I halved the white sugar but otherwise followed pretty closely to instructions , and poured the batter into a buttered mini loaf pan and a madeleine pan. Took about 12 min for the madeleine and 24 for the mini loaf, and results are amazing! Thank you so much!

  16. Would this work for a 3-layer 6-inch cake?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ashley! You can use the batter from these Banana Cupcakes for a 3 layer 6 inch cake. Enjoy!

  17. My cake came out with a sort of hard, dark layer near the bottom. It seems to be banana that settled to the bottom. What can I do to avoid that? Does it have anything to do with using a glass baking dish instead of a metal pan?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Corrie, Thank you for trying this recipe. Any change you made any ingredient substitutions or changed the measurements of anything? Be sure your batter is evenly mixed before you pour it into your pan. We actually used a glass pan for this cake, so that shouldn’t be the issue.

      1. Ok. I think I followed the recipe exactly, except o added a bit more cinnamon. I am not sure what it could be. I don’t have a stand mixer but mixed with a hand mixer and the banana seemed sufficiently mashed before adding. I also mixed the dry ingredients and milk in three parts. It all seemed well mixed. I am not sure what I am doing wrong.

      2. Mine came out the same, dense and bottom 3/8″ hard and almost like under baked or soggy. I followed the recipe exactly as printed. Very disappointed. I think using an electric mixer caused it to be over mixed, especially when you add the wet and dry ingredients alternately and mix in between. I baked it on the third from bottom rung in the oven maybe this caused the bottom to be soggy.

    2. Some people recommend turning down the temp 25 degrees when using glass pans and make sure your cake is not on the but middle low rack. Hope that helps!

  18. I bought 12 pounds of bananas by accident haha so I just had to make this! I made it with monk fruit and swerve sugar substitutes to drastically reduce the calories and it was still soo good. Thanks a bunch!!

  19. I should have known three cups of flour did not sound right. This cake was dense like bread and not cakey at all. Good taste, but not the texture of a cake. I followed the recipe to a T and used King Arthur’s flour – which is the best for cakes.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi April, The texture of this cake will definitely be on the denser side. Did you use fresh or frozen bananas? Frozen will sometimes be too wet to use. Also make sure not to over-mix your batter. Mix just until combined to prevent a dense cake. Here’s more tips for next time on how to prevent a dense cake!

    2. Barbara G. says:

      Hi April, I have been reading where we have to sift & spoon Flour into the measuring cup to get it correct. Don’t scoop Flour, then it’s to much. I too want cake not bread.
      I am going to make this next week. Under the weather this week, and waiting on Bananas to ripen. Good luck on your next Banana Cake. Barbara…

  20. I used plain yogurt and freshmilk because I don’t have buttermilk. So tasty, fluffy ad moist. Delicious. Thanks for posting your recipe on site.

  21. Hi
    I have tried the recipe, just replaced the Buttermilk with curd and milk (half and half)…the cake turned out really great! Moist, springy and soft. Seriously the best banana cake I have had. Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe..it is definitely a keeper!

  22. Exceptionally good! Simple recipe and the cake is so moist… my family loves it.

  23. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

    Hi Trilby! This recipe is written for a 9×13 inch pan (roughly 22 cm x 33 cm), so you may want to decrease this recipe rather than doubling. Our handy Cake Pan Sizes & Conversions guide can help you scale for your needs. Hope this helps!

  24. JEAN THEDELL says:

    Can this be baked in a 1/2 Sheet pan?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jean, you can use our handy Cake Pan Sizes and Conversions guide to help scale this recipe for different pan sizes. Happy baking!

  25. Best banana anything I’ve ever made. Followed the recipe as is with only the addition of sprinkles on top. Definitely would make again.

  26. Barb Cohan-Saavedra says:

    I love this recipe so much I’m throwing away all my old banana cake recipes. (I baked professionally for 17 years, so there are a lot of them!)
    I followed the recipe except that I added an extra teaspoon of cinnamon and, instead of frosting, simply sprinkled chopped pecans on the top before I baked it. It was a huge hit.

  27. Beautiful. I used 1lb loaf tins and it made 2 loafs which I cooked for 50 minutes.

  28. I made this last night and it is delicious!! I put walnuts on the frosting but, that was the only change that I made. Thanks yet again, for a keeper recipe.

  29. Hey! Thank you for helping me learn to bake. Wasn’t really my thing up until, well recently. I’m getting more confident because of your awesome instructions. And not one of your recipes has let me down. Just a note, or question… the main recipe, the layered and 13×9 have different cinnamon measurements. I went for a fat teaspoon. It’s cooling now. My house, OMG I wish I could capture this freakin heavenly smell and stick it in a candle or wallflower. Thank you. I feel like I can tell you without it sounding weird… I love you.

  30. Jeanne mageean says:

    Absolutely delicious! Moist! Great banana flavor! Easy to make! I also liked the added instructions for the layer cake version with the time!! You covered everything!!

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