This is my all-time favorite 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 banana cake of your dreams!
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 a few moments of desperation), and finally ended up modifying my pumpkin cake (of all things) to land on this winning banana cake recipe.
Soft and fluffy with a tender, moist crumb, this is banana cake perfection. It’s easy to make and is perfectly complemented by a liberal topping of cream cheese frosting.
For this banana cake, I used a variation of my favorite cream cheese frosting that I shared the other day. Today’s recipe uses a bit less sugar and has you whip heavy cream into the frosting so that it’s smooth and silky.
This variation is much less sturdy than my other recipe and isn’t one that I recommend for your standard cake or cupcake, but it suits this cake perfectly (no piping required here!).
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Tips for Making Banana Cake
- The riper your bananas the better! I prefer mine to be mostly brown (which I did not have when I made the video below… food blogger fail), the riper they are the more flavorful your banana cake will be.
- I top the frosting off with chopped walnuts, but if you’d like you can also bake walnuts or pecans into the cake, too. About 1 cup of chopped nuts would work nicely in this recipe.
- You can add cinnamon to spice up this cake! I ultimately decided to leave it out for maximum pure banana flavor, but you can add 1/2-3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in with the dry ingredients if you’d like.
- When I made this banana cake in my glass baking dish, the top browned faster than I expected it to. Because of this, I’ve included instructions in the recipe to monitor your cake at the 30 minute mark, and if the edges are browning too fast, lightly tent the cake with foil.
How to Make the BEST Banana Cake
The Best Banana Cake
This is the BEST Banana Cake recipe, and it's made completely from scratch!!
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature (170g)
- ¾ cup canola or vegetable oil (175ml)
- 1 cup light or dark brown sugar (200g)
- 1/2 cup sugar (100g)
- 4 ripe bananas, peeled and well-mashed (this is about 2 cups mashed) (470g)
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten room temperature preferred
- ¼ cup buttermilk (60ml)
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (312g)
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and spray a 9x13 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* 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!
*Important -- 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 opposite of what I expected).
Please see video or 3rd photo in post above to see how brown the cake should be when it is finished baking, if it looks like this at 30 minutes you should tent with foil.