All the favorite flavors of banana bread in a soft moist cake! This easy recipe for Banana Cake is a fun layer cake recipe complete with homemade cream cheese frosting.
Moist banana cake is a delicious alternative to regular chocolate or vanilla cakes. It has delicious banana flavor and an easy homemade cream cheese icing. This delicious banana cake recipe is perfect for special occasions or a surprise end to a family dinner!
Unsalted butter. Be sure to soften the butter before starting the recipe. You’ll use softened butter both in the cake and the frosting.
Eggs. Use three large eggs for this recipe.
All-purpose flour. Regular all purpose flour or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend can be used. We use and recommend Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 flour blend for gluten-free baking.
Kosher salt. This is a less salty tasting salt.
Overripe bananas. You’ll need two large or three medium overripe bananas with lots of brown spots for the best results. It’s a great recipe to use up leftover bananas.
Buttermilk. This makes the cake soft with a wonderful flavor. Don’t have buttermilk? Make your own. In a 1 liquid measuring cup add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and fill with milk to the 3/4 cup mark. Allow it to sit while making the cake batter.
Cream cheese. One 8-ounce package cream cheese will be used for the frosting. Be sure to start with softened cream cheese.
Powdered sugar. This will be used for the frosting. If there are hard lumps in the confectioner’s sugar pass it through a flour sifter before starting the frosting.
Milk or heavy cream. A few tablespoons are used to adjust the frosting consistency. Any milk can be used.
Crushed Walnuts (optional). These can be added to the top of the cake for decoration if desired.
Taste: This banana cake is moist with a very soft crumb. The taste is just like a banana bread but with a cake texture. It’s great served at room temperature or even chilled.
How to make Banana Cake
STEP 1. Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray.
STEP 2. Make the cake batter
In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together the granulated sugar, softened butter, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined (photo 1). Set aside.
In separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt with a whisk (photo 2). Set aside.
In a third small bowl, using a fork, mash the bananas until most of the big chunks are gone (photo 3). Add the flour mixture, mashed bananas, and the buttermilk to the wet ingredients. Mix until combined (photo 4).
STEP 3. Pour and Bake
Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans (photo 5). Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (photo 6).
STEP 4. Cool
Cool in pan for a few minutes then remove cake layers from pans and cool completely on a wire rack (photo 7).
STEP 5. Prepare cream cheese frosting
Once cake layers have cooled, prepare frosting
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese until lumps are gone (photo 8).
Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon milk; mix until a frosting has formed with a fluffy texture (photo 9). If the frosting is too thick, continue adding milk 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing in between each addition, until the desired consistency has been reached.
STEP 6. Frost the layer cake
Place one layer of the banana cake onto a cake plate or cake stand. Spread a quarter of the frosting onto the top (photo 10), spreading the frosting to the edge (photo 11).
Place the second layer on top (photo 12) and spread the remaining frosting over the top and edges of the cake (photo 13). Leave as is or decorate with crushed walnuts (photo 14).
Don’t overmix the batter. This can make it denser and the crumb less soft.
To keep the bottom layer of cake from moving while frosting put a dab of frosting in the middle of the cake plate or pedestal you are using before putting the cake layer on it. Spread the dab of frosting slightly and add the cake layer. This will work as a type of glue to hold the cake in place!
Try a chocolate frosting. Chocolate and banana is a classic combination. Use our Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting for a new taste combination.
Stir nuts into the batter. If you love the texture of banana bread you can stirred chopped walnuts or pecans directly into the cake batter. or even mix the nuts into the batter.
How to make it a sheet cake. Prepare a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Pour in the batter and bake at 350 degrees for a suggested bake time of 30-40 minutes. Start checking at 30 minutes with a toothpick.
Want a lighter option? Make it a sheet cake (no frosting between layers), skip the frosting, and dust with powdered sugar for a topping.
How to Store
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Instead of using overrripe bananas you can roast the bananas. Here’s how we roast bananas for our Hummingbird Cake. They have wonderful flavor and are ready quickly to use in recipes where you’d use ripe extra bananas.
More recipes you’ll love!
Banana Cake with Cream Cheese frosting
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large (or 3 medium) overripe bananas lots of brown spots
- ¾ cup buttermilk see Notes for making your own
- Optional: Crushed Walnuts to decorate with
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 – 8-inch round pans with non-stick spray.
- In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together the sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined. Set aside.1 cup granulated sugar, ¾ cup unsalted butter, 3 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- In a small bowl, using a fork, mash the bananas until most of the big chunks are gone.2 large (or 3 medium) overripe bananas
- Combine the flour mixture, bananas, and the buttermilk with the wet mixture. Mix until combined.¾ cup buttermilk
- Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool for a few minutes in the pan then turn layers out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before preparing the frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese until lumps are gone.½ cup unsalted butter, 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
- Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon milk; mix until a frosting has formed. Adjust the consistency (if needed): If the frosting is too thick, continue adding milk 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing in between each addition, until the desired consistency has been reached.3 cups powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1-3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- Place one layer of the banana cake onto a cake plate or cake stand. Spread a quarter of the frosting onto the top, spreading the frosting to the edge. Place the second layer on top and spread the remaining frosting over the top and edges of the cake. Leave as is or decorate with crushed walnuts.Optional: Crushed Walnuts to decorate with
- Use a 1 cup liquid measuring cup
- Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to the measuring cup and
- Add milk to the measuring cup to make 3/4 cup total volume.
- Allow it to sit while preparing the cake batter.