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. Hi, I want to make this cake for my one year olds birthday tomorrow, but I’d like to decrease the amount of sugar – by a lot and maybe use some coconut sugar, do you think that will work?

    1. You may want to try my whole wheat banana bread recipe as a cake instead. (You can use all-purpose flour if desired.) If you decide to use this recipe, coconut sugar can work. Reducing the amount of sugar will affect the final texture of the cake, so keep that in mind. Let me know what you try!

      1. Hi there,

        I tried these combination and the outcome came out perfect.

        1 cup super brown sugar
        1/2 cup maple syrup

        It is perfect for my kiddos. Thanks

  2. Hi Sally,
    Do you think this would also work with a peanut butter frosting or possibly hold up with a chocolate ganache? Cream cheese frosting is my go-to, so trying to think of something different. Thanks!

  3. I don’t understand the great reviews of this ‘cake’. It’s pretty much banana bread with icing on it. Too dense and absolutely not ‘cake’.

  4. I made this cake last week. We finished eating the entire cake in 2 days. We NEVER eat a whole cake. Today my kids asked me to make it again (20, 16 and 11).
    LOVED!

  5. I just made one today. And it’s super moist and yummy! Thank you for the recipe! all my friends are enjoying it.

    1. Nancy, The vanilla gives the cake a wonderful flavor boost and all of the banana flavor comes from real bananas so no need for banana extract.

  6. Great recipe- for others reference, I baked in two separate 9in pans and the amount of frosting created with the ingredients was listed more than enough to spread a nice, thick layer of frosting between the layers of cake and to top it off and even spread it around the sides.
    I also used 4 large frozen bananas, which turned out well (it was all I had at hand- all of my not frozen bananas were too green still).

  7. These comments are really all over the place so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Some people said it was dense, some said spongey, some said gummy, some said light and airy … but let me tell you mine came out lovely! Very fluffy and most with a soft crumb and the flavor is quite delicate, but definitely banana, not at all bland. The only changes I made to the recipe were to reduce the white sugar to 3/4 cup instead of 1 whole cup and I didn’t have a 9×13 pan so I used an 8×10 along with a loaf pan and both cooked for 30 minutes and came out perfect. I covered my cakes in a fluffy peanut butter frosting since that’s my favorite things to pair with anything banana. I will definitely be bookmarking this recipe for future experiments, I think it would be great with butterscotch chips and chocolate frosting, or a maybe a light marshmallow meringue.

  8. This really is the best banana cake! I added a cup of chopped, toasted walnuts to the batter, and I divided the batter into two 9 inch rounds to make a layer cake. The cake came out perfectly moist. It is truly delicious!

  9. Overripe bananas never had it so good! I’m famous for my banana bread, but wanted to try something new. I’m glad I did…this cake is easy and so delicious. The glaze compliments it perfectly. I didn’t have buttermilk so I soured whole milk with fresh lemon juice and was not disappointed. This is now a family favorite!

  10. OM! Best cake ever! Took some time putting everything together, but it was well worth it. Husband doesn’t want the frosting, so I’m going to put a Banana Foster Topping on it with Pecans! His favorite!

  11. I tried this with King Arthur Measure for Measure flour in place of the all purpose flour for a gluten-free family, and I have to say, I’ve never had such enthusiastic compliments about a banana cake. Ever. Great cake!

    1. I used Gluten Free flour and it was an excellent swap out. This cake was super easy. I accidentally started adding the buttermilk and dry ingredients before the bananas but turned out just fine.

  12. Very good recipe. It tastes like cake; not bread. I made two loaf pans which required a little longer cooking. Will make again.

  13. This recipe is oh so forgiving. I mistakenly read the buttermilk quantity and only put in one cup. It was completely done at 40 mins. I didn’t have confectioners sugar for the icing so subbed it out for 2 cups brown and a few extra tablespoons of cream and beat it forever with the butter and the vanilla, threw in the cream cheese bit by bit and it was the best fluffy-like-clouds icing ever! I’m going to make another just to freeze. So Good! Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the recipe, but don’t know what the cake can’t raise and form like pudding at the bottom… is it because I should not use pound cake tray which is too high for it to raise ?

  14. This banana cake recipe is fantabulously delicious… I got 24
    cupcakes out of the batter.
    I didn’t have buttermilk so I
    made the soured milk. I made toasted buttered pecans for the topping.
    They were big in flavor…..

  15. Wow….my kitchen looks like a big meds while preparing for this cake. But boy…it is soooo worth it. So fluffy not dense at all and so delicious ♥️♥️♥️. I didn’t make the frosting at all. Just love the taste of the plain banana cake. Glad I found this recipe. Thanks heaps.

  16. Superb banana cake. I’m going to frost it shortly. But would be equally delicious with a drizzle of syrup/honey and custard. Lovely recipe thanks Sally

  17. Hi Sally. Please help! I love your recipes but for this one my Cale turned out very very gummy. With a toothpick test at 40 mins the stick was dry but a bit sticky. I thought the cake could be overdone. But the texture was very moist but gummy in the mouth. It didn’t crumb at all. Any tips? I followed the recipe except used brown caster sugar instead of white.

    1. Hi Vicki, I haven’t made this cake with brown castor sugar but I recommend following the recipe and using white granulated sugar, which is a little lighter in texture.

  18. My husband wanted a banana cake for his birthday. I found this recipe on Pinterest and gave it a try. He said it was the BEST cake he’s ever had! That’s high praise from a man who eats sweets all the time!

  19. This looks delicious! If I only have almond milk, could I add lemon juice to that instead of buttermilk? Or use plain yogurt? Trying not to head to the store this week. Thank you!

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