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

1002 Comments

  1. I saw I had 3 overly ripe bananas last night and have been wanting to make a banana cake so this was the perfect opportunity until this morning when I saw one of my bananas was missing…my husband ate it…who does that? lol…I read I could sub 1/2 cup of applesauce in place of the missing banana and thats what I did. I made 2 nine inch rounds instead of the sheet cake. I iced one of the rounds with some left over flour frosting I had made the other day and froze and stuck the other unfrosted round in the freezer since its only my husband and myself here. Oh boy was this cake good. I didn’t miss the 3rd banana and the cake was moist and so good. I do love cream cheese frosting but I find the flour frosting is very versatile and works on most cake flavors. I had added some maple flavoring to this batch of frosting which added that extra something to it. Great Cake!

  2. I had been craving a banana cake for YEARS and made this yesterday.

    Wow. It was perfect. So delicious and so dangerous… I need to box some of this up and give it away before I eat it all! 🙂

    1. I’m thrilled you enjoyed it so much, Tash! Leftovers do freeze well for up to 3 months if you need to move some out of sight 😉

  3. No lie! Best banana cake we’ve tried. Was our daughter’s birthday cake and made her day very special during this lockdown. Be sure to bake long enough. The cake will taste dense if it’s under-baked.

    1. Whole milk is best, but you can use any fat or nondairy milk. The lower the fat, the less “rich” the baked good will taste.

      1. Thank you so much for your quick response will buy the whole milk and let you know how it turns out

  4. Awesome recipe! I only had coconut milk but i think it worked out okay as a whole milk substitute in making my own buttermilk! I also cut the recipe in half to make it in an 8×8 pan. I took it out of the oven after 25-30 mins and cooled for about an hour before frosting. Topped it off with some banana slices and don’t think it’ll last through the weekend

  5. Definitely a 5 star recipe. The cake came out very moist and taste was perfect. I followed the recipe exactly, but added a sprinkle of cinnamon to the frosting. Family gobbled it right up!

  6. This banana cake was extremely fluffy! I baked my mini bananas in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes to ripen them further and they turned out SO SO sweet and flavourful. 😀 Used half the batter for a banana cake, and split the rest into muffin tins and got 12 banana muffins. Thank you for the recipe! I’m wrapping the cake to give it to my best friend as her birthday gift. Hope she’ll like it hehehe! (P.s. the whole house smells so damn good right now) Do give this recipe a shot guys

  7. Searched online for the best banana cake and this one did not disappoint. I’ve tried many over the past few years and we have a winner! I’m enjoying your website and detailed recipes and look forward to the spice cake next.

  8. Made this recipe a couple of weeks ago, delicious. Gave half to my neighbors and they loved it. Have more ripened bananas and making it again today. Will give some to my neighbors again. They are elderly and very grateful for it. We all need to pitch in and help who we can as we go through this quarantine.

  9. Hi, Sally!
    During this situation I don’t have any buttermilk and couldn’t find the wholemilk.
    Could you suggest me what to do?

  10. I made this recipe as a celebration cake for my daughter who is an essential worker for the elderly and working six days a week. It came out perfectly moist and fluffy after freezing. I cut each 9 inch round so I ended up with 4 thin layers. Easy to work with once frozen. I made the fluffiest cream cheese frosting using less cream cheese and more butter but ended up with a frosting that was too creamy to frost. Not wanting it to be too sweet, I added 1 cup of jif peanut butter instead of more sugar. Sounds gross, right? peanut butter and cream cheese? It ended up being the fluffiest, creamy spreadable frosting and great with banana cake. My daughter suggested spreading jam on the layers before frosting and TaDa! A PB&J banana cake Elvis style! Believe it or not It was probably the best cake I have ever made!!! And I am pretty good at making cakes I’m told. The small amount of tartness from the seedless raspberry jam was a perfect combination with the sweet cake and peanut butter. Try it! I wish I had taken a picture because the four layers with the small amount of jam under the frosting made the cake LOOK fabulous also…..give it a try with this wonderful banana cake recipe.

  11. Hi Sally!

    I tried baking this today and while delicious, the texture was a little dense. Specifically the top was fluffy but the bottom got more dense and rubbery despite being baked through? What could have happened? All my ingredients were definitely room temperature. Any help would be appreciated!!

  12. I didn’t think this was a dense cake at all. It was light and fluffy. Great recipe! Soooo good!

    1. Hi Joanne, I don’t recommend it. From my experience, it’s much too light to hold up to these heavy wet ingredients.

    2. Hi Vicki! This is my first banana walnut cake…it’s worth all the labor and love that went into it. So delicious, moist! I did not glaze nor ice it…I just buttered the top and savored the tastes of this little gem. Thanks so much, Lisa.

  13. The cake turned out sooo good, the flavour of the banana was better than any other banana cake I’ve tried. Everyone praised it, I will definitely be making it again. This will be the recipe I use in the future when making a banana cake

  14. Just made this cake and it is fabulous. It was still warm out of the oven and it looked so good we had to try it. SO good. Not sure if it will last for me to make the frosting! I used 2% milk with lemon juice for the sour milk because that was all I had and it was still super tasty. This one is a keeper. Thank you.

  15. Thank you for the “perfect” cake recipe, especially for novices. I’m a first-time baker; tried this one out, and it turned out just awesome. Can’t wait to try out the other recipes. Thanks again!!

  16. I tried this recipe to the exact measurements with one difference. I didn’t use the granulated sugar, I only used .5 cup of brown sugar. And it turned out perfect and sweet enough to the liking of myself and family. Thank you.

    1. I made this cakes few weeks ago using all purpose gluten free flour. It turned out great. The family loved it. In fact they requested that I make it again and I just did.

  17. HOLA SALLY
    SE VE RIQUISIMO Y FÁCIL DE HACER, TENGO UNA MANO DE PLÁTANOS DE SEDA, NO ME LO COMERÉ DEJARÉ QUE MADURE, CALCULO MADURARA HASTA EL DÍA LUNES O MARTES ME ENCANTA
    GRACIAS POR TUS SABIAS ENSEÑANZAS Y POR MANDARME TUS ESPECTACULARES RECETAAAAS¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

  18. This truly is the best tasting and moistest banana cake I have ever tasted in my entire life. I had one round cake tin so had to cook it for an extra 10-15 mins but OMG it was amazing. I used fake buttermilk with the lemon juice.

  19. I made this cake for the second time, it was no fluke it tastes just as fantastic as the first.
    Prefect for the family while we are coping with the perils of .
    Sally you have certainly made us very happy with this fantastic recipe, thankyou.
    Stay safe everyone and stay home and try this amazing banana cake recipe.

  20. This cake tastes like something out of a high end restaurant that would cost $10 per slice. This recipe hit it out of the park!! It’s incredibly moist and dense much like a good quality carrot cake. Our family of 6 devoured it. The ratio of powdered sugar to cream cheese and butter was perfect. Many times cream cheese frosting can become dry from adding to much powdered sugar and it’s to sweet. The only thing I did differently is I left out the cinnamon but only because I forgot to add it. I threw out my round cake pans recently so instead I used two square 8 inch pans. The cakes came out nice and high due to the amount of batter in each pan. I prefer a layer cake since you get more frosting than with a 9×13 pan. There was plenty of frosting for the 2 layers with a bit left over in the bowl. Trust me, you can’t go wrong with this recipe.

  21. I tried this recipe with 1cup wheat flour, 1cup Jowar(sorghum) flour, 1 cup coconut flour and used coconut oil instead of butter it turned out very good.

  22. My husband wanted banana bread for his birthday cake this year, but I didn’t think banan bread would bake up well in a traditional cake pan. I was afraid it would be too dense and not cook through in the middle. He wanted cream cheese frosting, so I was actually looking at your cream cheese frosting recipe when I saw the link to the banana cake. So I think I’m going to try this cake for the cake, and my regular banana bread recipe for the muffins (because we always have to have cake and cupcakes for birthdays in our house. I may have created a monster!) Anyhoo, I didn’t see what size cake pan was supposed to be used for this? 9×13?

  23. I read on another cake recipe. When you take the cake out of the oven place in freezer for 45 minutes to make cake extra moist. What do you think?

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