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 more moist. 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!

I really love the mix of brown and white sugars in this banana cake. Brown sugar and banana pair wonderfully together and the brown sugar leaves the cake even more moist. Plus, a little brown sugar flavor is never a bad thing!

Let’s see, what else. Oh! The cinnamon. Just a little bit, nothing overpowering. 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon pairs with the brown sugar and banana flavors.

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

973 Comments

  1. This cake is delicious. I added 1/4 cup of black walnuts and instead of the 1/2 cup of brown sugar I used turbinado cane sugar. Also, I divided the batter between 2 Bundt pans. Did not make icing.

  2. d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s !! Even the leftover batter on the sides of my mixing dish was too good to be washed ! i used your exact ingredient measures and added crushed walnuts+pistachios to it , finger-licking good !!!! This confinement is slowly making me a chef lol

  3. Made this yesterday. Cake is lovely. Frosting is Way Too Sweet; and I even used less sugar than recipe called for. Will make cake again but will find less sweet frosting recipe.

  4. A perfect way to pass a Sunday in . Added walnuts! (Didn’t have a mixer but a fork worked fine). Thanks for making sheltering at home so delicious. Would love to try a carrot cake next! Greetings from Vienna, Austria.

  5. 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 Cream Cheese frosting is to die for,I wouldn’t change a thing,Only I’ll have to see my Cardiologist sooner…lol

    1. You can use room temperature solid coconut oil instead of butter, but make sure all of the other ingredients are at room temperature. Liquid oil will not work in this cake.

      1. Made this cake with oil and butter and it turned out AWESOME!!! Substituted 1 stick of butter 1/4cup vegetable oil turned out moist and decadent

  6. I rarely have whole milk or buttermilk in hand. Can I substitute skim milk for the whole milk to make the buttermilk?

    1. In a pinch, yes. However keep in mind that the banana cake won’t taste as rich without that extra fat. (Though frosting makes it plenty rich!)

    2. I am just making this cake. Not sure if it’s the oven or what but it has taken 65 minutes so far and is still wobbly in the centre and toothpick is not coming out clean. I have used gluten free flour as I can’t eat wheat. Would this affect cooking times?

      1. Hi Sally yes the gluten free worked out. It turned out good but not great. Operator error I think. I should have taken it out of the oven while the toothpick was still coming out moist as it was a little bit dry once it cooled ie not as moist as yours looked. Really positive comments from everyone who ate it though.

      2. I made this cake today and used all the ingredients exactly and mine took what felt like all day to cook :0 … I did 45 minutes and when I checked, the skewer came out clean so I took it out the oven to cool… when I cut it the whole centre was still totally uncooked so I put it back in for at least another 40 minutes… still wasn’t cooked enough so did maybe another half an hour… just kept checking till it was done… BUT having said all that, it was a delicious cake and it looked amazing!! It rose perfectly and did not sink at all even with taking it out the oven so many times and the whole family loved it!! So, I’m not sure why it took so long to cook through but it was worth the wait 😉 thank you xx

  7. Hi Sally. Can i substitute the cream cheese for creme fraiche? It’s lockdown in New Zealand for the next 4wks and I only have CF in my fridge. Stay safe. Thank you

    1. Hi Joycelyne, I haven’t tried it but I imagine it would work. You might however want to search for a frosting recipe that is specifically written for creme fraiche. Let me know if you find a good one!

  8. Hi Sally, I tried this in Nigeria today without the frosting. Substituted the buttermilk with liquid peak milk + vinegar and it turned out just right. For someone who is just learning, I must say your recipes and instructions were quite simple to follow. Really proud of myself.

    Thank you

  9. Followed your instructions to the t and Best banana cake and frosting Ive ever made. Thank you!!

  10. I made this cake last Tuesday and it was perfect. The cake has incredibly balanced flavors, and the frosting provides just the right amount of creaminess and thickness to it. The only “problem” with the cake is that there is a lot of it for two people who are socially distancing. Five days later, we still have about 1/4 of the cake left. (What a nice problem to have, right?) Next time I make it, and there will be a next time in the near future, I am going to cut the recipe in half and bake it in a 9″ round cake pan. Thank you, Sally!

  11. Hello any alternative for cinnamon? Or can I still bake this one without cinnamon? Because it’s not available in our kitchen. Thanks

  12. This recipe is fantastic! I was a little skeptical, storing the cake in the fridge. But I almost like it better cold – with a hot cup of coffee (or a cold cup of milk, I don’t discriminate). Stays moist and still tastes delicious on day 3! In my opinion, it is worth following the recipe exactly. Make this cake!

  13. I’m planning to bake this delicious sounding cake today. What do you think of adding walnuts and raisins or maybe chocolate chips?

  14. The flavor of this cake and icing were amazing. The texture however was much more dense than I anticipated. Any suggestions?

    1. Rachel Cole, I had the same issue. Tastes great, but very dense. In fact I sank a wee bit while cooling. I’m pretty sure it was done – Toothpick came out a clean, and it sprang back from a finger touch. But it’s really more like a big flat banana bread with frosting. Don’t get wrong, I’ll eat it!

  15. Hi Sally, I struggle to get buttermilk here in the Middle East, but some googling suggested using Laban instead. Have given it a go and will let you know how it turns out! Thanks also for putting recipe in g as well as cups. Non US baker and still use oz or g in my baking!

    1. Hey Sally, just wanted to let you know full fat Laban if available is a fantastic substitute for the buttermilk, recipe came out amazingly moist and moreish! Used a Labneh and honey frosting on top for a bit of zing and tastes amazing. Thank you for the recipe. Hope this helps others looking for recipe with alternative options for ingredients. X

  16. We finally finished the best banana cake I baked last week, and we happened to have two bananas that were extremely overripe. I decided this was a sign to make another one, so I did. This time, I cut the recipe in half because there are just two of us. I cut all measurements in half (except the eggs; I used 2 instead of 1.5) and added 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts to the batter. I baked it for 45 minutes in a 9″ cake pan, and it was incredibly delicious again! I think the extra half an egg made it slightly spongier. Thanks again for this outstanding recipe!

  17. I’m the weirdo that doesn’t have a paddle attachment for my hand mixer and deff am not fancy enough to have a stand mixer. Could use a whisk instead? Even for the butter?

  18. Hi Sally, last week I tried this recipe. I’ve always been intimidated by baking, this was my first time baking. Ever!
    Huge success! I had to make a second one the following week lol.
    Your ideas and recipes are stunning, I can’t wait to try more!
    My wife is gluten free so I ended up grinding some rolled oats into a flour and used it as the flour base (had to use whatever I my pantry had thanks to covid-19)

    Anyways no questions, just a big thank you:)

  19. Love this cake made it yesterday only I did 5 bananas and chocolate chips and I added a teaspoon and a half of cinnamon. Used less flour. For the icing, I added vanilla powder with the extract and a half a teaspoon of maple sugar, and it was lovely…..

  20. Hi.
    Planning to make this today, but only have self raising flour due to all the plain flour being sold out. Will this be as successful?

    Thanks
    Sue

    1. Hi Mary. You can use salted butter with no changes to the recipe. Honestly it won’t make a difference in taste or texture in the baked cake, but if you want to slightly reduce to 1/4 teaspoon you can!

  21. Hi Sally,

    Can I omit the sugars for my kiddos? Any option you suggest as substitute ingredient instead of sugar? I will try this soon.

  22. OK, I know this is a long shot at getting an answer swiftly but I’m wondering if this has been tried in a Bundt pan?

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