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The Best Banana Cake

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This is my all-time favorite, easy banana cake recipe, made completely from scratch! Perfectly flavored with extra bananas, soft, fluffy, moist, and topped off with a silky smooth cream cheese frosting and chopped walnuts, this is the snack cake of your dreams!

Fluffy, moist banana cake with cream cheese frosting

An Easy Banana Cake Recipe

This recipe is a result of many, many emails and comments from so many of you writing to tell me how much you enjoyed my best banana muffins (see, I didn’t call them the “best” for nothing). 

A few of you wrote to ask me if it would be possible to bake the muffin recipe into a banana cake, but I had a few reservations.  I was worried that the original recipe wouldn’t make the best banana cake, and so I started recipe testing to develop the perfect moist cake.

I went through a lot of overripe bananas (and some not-so-ripe ones, in moments of desperation), and finally ended up modifying my pumpkin cake (of all things) to land on this winning banana cake recipe. It’s incredibly soft, fluffy yet moist, and topped with a smooth and creamy version of my popular cream cheese frosting (though to make things extra decadent try it with my brown butter frosting!).

Let’s get started:

What You Need

Banana Cake Ingredients

This super moist banana cake is simple, sweet, and oh-so-flavorful. Let’s go over just a few of the ingredients that help make it this way:

  • Bananas. The riper, spottier, and browner the better and the more moist and flavorful your banana cake will be!
  • Butter & oil. If you’re a long-time follower, you know the drill: I (almost) always use a blend of butter and oil in my cake recipes rather than just one or the other. Butter is flavorful, but all-butter cakes are typically more dense and dry than their all-oil counterparts. However, while all-oil cakes are moist, they lack that beloved depth of flavor. We use balance here, a blend of both, for perfect taste and texture. Canola, vegetable, or any neutral cooking oil will work.
  • Sugar. Another best-of-both-worlds scenario. Granulated sugar adds sweetness without weighing the cake down too much, while brown sugar adds depth of flavor. Light or dark brown sugar will work, but dark brown sugar makes the cake a bit richer and sweeter.
  • Buttermilk. While this plays a role in helping the banana cake to rise a bit when combined with the baking soda, more importantly it adds moisture and a very subtle tangy flavor.
  • Flour. I use all-purpose flour as opposed to cake flour because I found that it provides the most desirable texture. I do not recommend making this recipe with self-rising flour.

Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!

How to Make the Cake

  1. Mash the bananas thoroughly. I like to use a potato masher, but a fork would also do the trick.
  2. Beat together the sugars and butter until well mixed.
  3. Stir in the mashed bananas until combined.
  4. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract and mix until batter is completely combined. The batter most likely won’t be smooth since your mashed bananas are bound to be a bit lumpy, but everything should be thoroughly mixed.
  1. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture gradually. You want the ingredients to be thoroughly combined, but as with my banana bread, over-mixing can result in dense, dry results.
  3. Spread the batter evenly into a greased 9×13″ prepared baking pan.
  4. Check the doneness of the cake by inserting a toothpick into the center. The toothpick should come out mostly clean, preferably with some moist crumbs.

How to Make Banana Cake Frosting

I found a cream cheese frosting is the perfect accent to this cake. It’s easy to make:

  1. Combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and salt and beat until smooth and creamy.
  2. With mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar in small increments until it is all mixed in.
  3. Add the cream gradually while increasing the speed of your mixer from low to high. Beat on high-speed for 30 seconds (this helps whip some air into the frosting, making it smooth but also stable) and you’re finished!
  4. Spread the frosting over the cooled banana cake. Top with chopped pecans or walnuts (or a drizzle of caramel sauce or dulce de leche 🤤) for a finishing touch!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my cake oily?

When I first published this recipe, I occasionally would receive a comment from someone saying that their cake had turned out a bit oily. The most likely culprits for this are
1) Using too much banana. While it’s generally safe to just grab 4 average sized bananas, if your bananas are larger than you think it can cause an oily cake. For this reason I recommend measuring your bananas after mashing.
2) Not thoroughly combining the wet ingredients, or not thoroughly combining the wet and dry ingredients together. Make sure you stir very well when mixing the butter/bananas etc., then when you combine the wet and dry ingredients do so carefully but thoroughly (remember that over-mixing at this step can yield dense, dry results).
3) Under-baking. Examine your toothpick carefully when testing. With such a moist cake, sometimes the toothpick may appear clean when there’s actually a thin, nearly translucent layer of banana cake batter on it. The toothpick should be dry or (preferably) have moist, discernible crumbs.

Why did my cake sink?

Either over or under-mixing can result in a cake that sinks as it cools. If the cake is not baked thoroughly, this can also cause it to sink after baking. Finally, if your baking powder or baking soda are expired and/or not properly stored, this may cause the cake to not rise properly. Store these in a cool dry place and make sure they are not expired before you use them.

Why is my banana cake dry?

This cake is very carefully and specifically designed to be moist, so it’s unlikely you’ll run into this issue (I’m not sure anyone has so far!) BUT, if you do it’s likely because:
1) The flour was accidentally over-measured. I recommend that you use a kitchen scale or stir your flour, spoon it into a measuring cup, and then level it off (see my post on how to measure flour).
2) It was baked too long or your oven is running too hot. Unfortunately many ovens do not run true to temperature, and for this reason I recommend keeping an oven thermometer in yours.

More Recipes You Might Like

  • Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
  • The Best Banana Pudding Recipe
  • Banana Cupcakes
  • Banana Cream Pie

Enjoy!

Let’s bake together! Make sure to check out the how-to VIDEO in the recipe card! 

Easy Banana Cake Recipe

This is my all-time favorite, easy banana cake recipe, made completely from scratch! Perfectly flavored with extra bananas, soft, fluffy, moist, and topped off with a silky smooth cream cheese frosting and chopped walnuts, this is the snack cake of your dreams!

Be sure to check out the how-to video!

4.88 from 49 votes

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Course: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 24 slices
Calories: 350kcal
Author: Sam Merritt

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature (170g)
  • ¾ cup canola or vegetable oil (175ml)
  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar (200g)
  • ½ cup sugar (100g)
  • 2 cups well-mashed ripe bananas (470g) (this is typically 4 bananas for me)
  • 2 large eggs room temperature preferred
  • ¼ cup buttermilk (60ml)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (312g)
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Silky Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese softened (225g)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened (113g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar (315g)
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts for topping (optional)

Recommended Equipment

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and spray a 9×13" (approximately 23x33cm) pan with baking spray or lightly grease and flour.  Set aside.
  • Combine butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl and use an electric mixer). Beat until well-combined and light and fluffy.
  • Add oil and beat to combine.  
  • Stir in mashed bananas.
  • Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract and stir until well-combined.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Gradually add to wet ingredients until completely combined.  
  • Spread batter into prepared pan and bake on 350F (175C) for 45-55 minutes (see note 1) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with few moist crumbs.  Allow to cool completely before covering with frosting.

Silky Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and salt in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy.
  • With mixer on low-speed, gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined.
  • Add heavy cream and gradually increase speed to high. Beat on high for 30 seconds.  
  • Spread over completely cooled banana cake. Top with chopped walnuts (if using).  Slice and serve!

Notes

¹Baking note:

Keep an eye on your banana cake as it bakes. 30 minutes in, check your cake to see if it’s becoming too brown on top (pay attention to the edges, if they’re getting darker in color and pulling away from the edges), if so you may lightly tent with foil before baking the remaining 15 minutes. I had this issue when baking in a glass dish but not in a metal one (which was the opposite of what I expected).  

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 234mg | Potassium: 80mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 456IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @SugarSpun_Sam or tag #sugarspunrun!

Recipe originally published March 2018. Recipe remains unchanged, but post has been updated to include more information as well as a how-to video.

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