Remember that time I told you about the best banana cake I’ve ever had?
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?
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.
How to Make Banana Cake
The recipe starts with 1 and 1/2 cups (345g) mashed bananas, or about 4 medium or 3 large ripe 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 and banana muffins, 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!
Can I Use Frozen Bananas?
Yes and I do this often. Thaw the frozen bananas at room temperature. Drain off any excess liquid, mash, then use as instructed in the recipe below. See How to Freeze & Thaw Bananas for Baking.
Here’s the batter. There will be some lumps.
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.
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 that we use for carrot cake, 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.
If you are not into cream cheese frosting or just want to try something different, try it with this salted caramel frosting or white chocolate buttercream frosting instead. Both are seriously delicious combinations!
The best banana cake I’ve ever had. We love it so much we turned it into a chocolate marble banana Bundt cake, too. And if you can’t get enough sheet cakes, you’ll want to try this fresh apple cake next!Print
The Best Banana Cake I’ve Ever Had
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 5 hours (includes cooling)
- Yield: serves 12
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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.
- 1 and 1/2 cups (345g) mashed bananas (about 4 medium or 3 large bananas)
- 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (spooned & 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
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9×13 inch pan.
- Make the cake: Mash the bananas. I usually just use my mixer for this! Set mashed bananas aside.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.
- 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.
- Frozen Bananas: You can use frozen bananas here. Thaw the frozen bananas. Drain off any excess liquid, mash, then use as instructed in the recipe. See How to Freeze & Thaw Bananas for Baking.
- 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.
- 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.
- Can I Turn This into a Banana Bundt Cake? I recommend using my extremely similar recipe for chocolate marble banana Bundt cake instead. (There’s a little extra baking powder for lift, which is helpful when baking in a large Bundt pan.) You can leave out the chocolate swirl in that recipe.
- 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.
Keywords: The Best Banana Cake I’ve Ever Had
Reader Comments & Reviews
I’d like to make bars instead of the other sized pans. What size should I use.
Not a fan of cream cheese frosting. Do you think caramel buttercream would pair well with the cake?
Hi EM, our salted caramel frosting would be wonderful here!
Hi Sally, I made this cake it was wonderful, I couldn’t decide if I loved the cake or the icing more. Can this recipe be adjusted for cookies?
Hi Leslie, we’re so glad you enjoyed this cake! We don’t have a similar banana cookie recipe, but you might enjoy these banana chocolate chip breakfast cookies instead.
I am from Slovenia and I Love your recepies. So, I have a question,what kind od cheese do you use,od it ok od I use mascarpone?
I am baking the Best banana cake.
I have to telo you, you are the Best,your recepies are all so good.
Hi Simona! We use full-fat block style cream cheese in this frosting recipe. Mascarpone may work in its place, but we haven’t tested it. Let us know if you give it a try!
I’ve made this cake a few times, it’s one of my absolute favourites. Alwats turns out spectacularly delicious.
What about nuts? 1 cup bakers walnuts in batter or just on top?
Yes, absolutely! Gently stir in about 1 cup walnuts after the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together.
Could I make this in 3, 6-inch cake pans?
Hi Hannah, the batter from our banana cupcakes recipe would be the perfect amount for three 6 inch cake pans. You can read more about using cupcake recipes to make 6 inch cakes here!
I just made this cake for my birthday, and it is awesome!
Happy birthday, Sandy! We’re so glad you enjoyed this banana cake recipe.
I want to make this cake for my mom’s birthday but she’s diabetic so I’d prefer to not use sugar. Would it be possible to replace the sugar by adding more ripe bananas to use as sweetener? If so, how many more bananas would you recommend? Thanks!
Hi Carla! Adding more bananas would add moisture to the cake and yield very different results. For best taste and texture (and so you don’t waste your time trying to adapt this recipe since it may not work properly), it may be more useful to find a recipe that is specifically formulated for sugar substitutes. Thank you!
I love this recipe so much!
Nice cake but the instructions are harder than they need to be. I just chuck the banana, butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla all in together, mix them and sift in the flour.
I made this yesterday. Terrific and easy!
I baked this cake yesterday, I baked two 9 inch layers. I also used the Cream Cheese Icing Recipe.
This cake is absolutely delicious, great banana flavor!
A prefect way to use up ripened banana’s.
The icing was prefect as well.
The recipe was easy to follow as well. I stored it in the refrigerator, had a slice this morning and it’s even better today.
Thank you @sallysbakingaddiction for this recipe.
I loved it very much, easy to do and you have the tick ✔️ box. I love all your recipe ❤️ much love from FIJI
SUPER tasty. How would you add chocolate to this? I was thinking mini chocolate chips but my husband mentioned cocoa powder. Would you add some and take out some flour? Thoughts?
Hi Chelsea, I wouldn’t recommend adding cocoa powder to the batter, as it’s a very drying ingredient and would require other recipe tweaks, but you can definitely add mini chocolate chips. Toss them in a Tablespoon of flour before adding them, to help keep them from sinking in the batter. Enjoy!
This recipe sounds great and I’l love to try it! Do you think it work in a 24cm round tin?
Hi Libby, for a layered cake, we recommend following our banana layer cake recipe instead. If you want to use this exact batter, it will be a bit too much for one round tin, but you can fill your pan half way and then use any leftover batter for a few cupcakes on the side.
I made this recipe for a co-worker for her birthday. I did it in layers and it came out perfect and delicious!! Thank you Sally. You are truly an inspiration.
very heavy, mediocre. we have a better recipe with more banana flavor but i misplaced the cook book….
Just pulled this out of the oven and it smells divine. There is a small squiggle of what looks like uncooked batter in the middle perhaps some banana that didn’t get fully mixed in… Anyone have this issue? Otherwise, the toothpick is coming out clean
Have you ever made this recipe as a layer cake? Does it stand up to the weight? I’m super excited to try it!
Hi Suzanne, we recommend using this banana cake recipe for a layer cake.
Great recipe easy to follow.
THIS recipe TRULY IS and Will ALWAYS be the BEST banana cake Ever! I’m currently making one right now for church pot luck! Hoping there might be a piece left over for me… Or I’ll be making another one just for us! I would serve this at Christmas as well! Hope You enjoy it as much as we do!
Can i put this in a bundt cake pan and if so, how long to bake?
Sure can! See the recipe notes for details.
The best banana cake recipe I have used . Moist, full flavour and fluffy my family love this cake, only recipe I use now. I do add a little more cinnamon but that’s a preference.
I followed exactly what the recipe is and it baked perfectly, my husband and his friends loved it and they asked for recipes:-))
My first time ever baking a cake and I chose this recipe. So good I had to bake it again 2 weeks later! I’ve always loved banana cake and the cake this recipe makes it divine!.
i have never commented on a recipe before but i had to do it this time — this banana cake is absolutely phenomenal! it was also easy to make. the texture is so unbelievably soft and the taste is just right. in fact i cut the recipe down by 1/3 because i only had 240mL of buttermilk left, and it still turned out perfect. thank you Sally for this recipe! i would recommend this to anybody who wants a pillowy soft and super snackable banana cake.
Second time making this cake – my husband absolutely LOVES it. Easy to make.
Made this a few times now and it is definitely our favourite banana cake recipe EVER!
Tons of flavor
Can I add some cinnamon to the frosting? Abigail
Hi Kim, absolutely! Add cinnamon to your taste. Or, use the cinnamon cream cheese frosting from these banana cupcakes instead (1.5x or 2x the recipe to ensure you have enough for frosting the cake).
Very dense and heavy. I followed the instructions. It doesn’t say how deep the cake Tim should be but I cooked it long enough.
Yummy!!! I subbed King Arthur Gluten Free Measure For Measure flour and doubled the banana (they were completely black and starting to liquefy, lol) and it turned out absolutely incredible. Very rich and dense yet perfectly moist. This will definitely go in my recipe box!!
Yes and it is delicious!
Can I put this batter in small aluminum foil pans for smaller servings? Sounds delicious ! I’m trying it now.
Hi Joan, absolutely! Bake time will vary depending on the size of your pans.
I plan to make this cake for my mother-in-law’s 92nd birthday celebration. But, since I don’t think it wise to blow one’s breath across other people’s food, I plan to bake a small one (9×9 pan) and put the rest into cupcakes. Sure hope that works out!
I added 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and that is the only change I made. I loved this cake. Tons of banana flavor, moist and dense in a good way. Both husband and son approved wholeheartedly.