Best Banana Cake Recipe

Soft, sweet, and loaded with ripe bananas, this is truly the Best Banana Cake ever! You’ll love the light and moist crumb and decadent cream cheese frosting!

Frosted banana cake with a slice taken out

The Best Banana Cake Ever

Confession time: I’ve been holding out on you. You see, this banana cake. Oh, this cake. It’s been on my list to share for some time now, but I always seem to get side-tracked! So today I’m putting an end to the hold-out, sharing my favorite recipe for this epic, perfectly moist, perfectly flavorful, cream-cheese-frosted banana cake.

Dudes, it’s so great I can’t even tell you. Like, so great you should probably go ahead and make it now. (Plus, bananas + cream cheese = breakfast material, folks. Sprinkle a few chia seeds on top and you’re basically drinking a smoothie.)

You may think that you don’t need a whole layer cake sitting on your counter on a random weekday, but I’m here to debunk that negativity. You do need cake. Cake needs you. It’s a relationship that’s bound to happen, so don’t fight it. You can diet when the cake is gone. Trust me, that’s my life’s motto.

Slice of banana layer cake on a plate

What Makes this Recipe So Good?

First of all, there are only simple, wholesome ingredients here! It just makes a difference when you bake with real butter, lemon juice, milk, etc. Second, this banana cake recipe calls for a mixture of both granulated and brown sugar. The added brown sugar adds moisture and depth of flavor, which pairs beautifully with the banana! And third, the mashed bananas add a lovely moist quality to the cake, while the soured milk, whole eggs, and baking powder keep things light.

Ingredients for frosted banana cake

What You’ll Need

Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients for this amazing dessert! I love how simple they are, and how perfectly they bake up into a dreamy 3-layer banana cake with tons of flavor. (If you want to see the full recipe with ingredient amounts, scroll on down to the bottom of this post!)

For the Cake:

  • Milk: Whole milk will give the best flavor, but 2% is also fine.
  • Lemon Juice: Although bottled lemon juice is fine, freshly squeezed will give a brighter taste.
  • Butter: The butter should be softened at room temperature.
  • Sugar: You’ll need light brown sugar as well as granulated sugar.
  • Eggs: Use large, whole eggs for a good taste and texture.
  • Vanilla
  • Salt: I use kosher salt.
  • Baking Soda: To make the cake layers rise, you’ll need some baking soda (not baking powder).
  • Flour: You can use all-purpose flour in this recipe.
  • Bananas: Make sure the banans are ripe. If you need to ripen the bananas faster, see the section below!

For the Frosting:

  • Cream Cheese: Soften one block (8 ounces) of cream cheese to room temperature.
  • Butter: The butter should also be at room temperature for easy beating.
  • Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar gives the frosting body and sweetness.
  • Vanilla
  • Milk: You’ll need a couple of tablespoons of milk to thin the frosting to the right consistency.

For the Optional Toasted Coconut:

  • Sweetened Flaked Coconut

How to Ripen Bananas Quickly

Since we’re starting with mashed bananas (obviously), it’s important to make sure that they’re good and ripe. But what if you’re short on time? No worries! Here are three easy ways to “ripen” bananas quickly.

  • If you have a day or so, just put your bananas in a brown paper bag. The ethylene that bananas give off as they ripen will build up and circulate within the bag, speeding up the ripening process.
  • If you want to make this cake asap, or any banana recipe for that matter, and you don’t have time to wait for bananas to ripen I’ve got a quick trick! Poke holes in the banana peel with a fork on all sides pretty liberally. Then microwave the banana for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until it’s dark and kind of mushy. It isn’t ideal, but it’s definitely worth doing in a pinch!
  • You can also do a similar technique in the oven! Preheat your oven to 300°F. Place your (unpricked) bananas on a parchment lined baking sheet for 30 minutes, but check them at 15 minutes to see how things are going. Bake them until they start to brown and get soft!

How to Make Banana Cake

Let’s get into the process of making this indulgent banana cake! There are basically three parts: the cake, the frosting, and the optional toasted coconut.

Mashing bananas with a fork in a bowl

Making the Cake

  1. Preheat the Oven and Get the Cake Pans Ready. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Then coat 3 8-inch round cake pans (or other sizes; see Tips section below) with nonstick spray. Cut parchment paper into rounds to fit into the bottoms of the pans. Place a parchment round into each pan, and spray the whole thing again with nonstick spray. Set the pans aside.
  2. Sour the Milk and Cream the Butter and Sugar. Combine the milk and lemon juice in a medium bowl, and give it a quick stir. Set that aside to sour. Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both kinds of sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the Eggs, Vanilla, Salt, and Soda. Add in the eggs, vanilla, salt and baking soda and mix until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  4. Add the Flour and Milk Gradually. Turn the mixer to low, and alternately add the flour and milk to the batter, starting and ending with a small amount of the flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed to keep things mixing correctly.
  5. Add the Bananas. Finally, mix in the bananas until just incorporated.
  6. Bake. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared baking pans, and bake for about 35 minutes, rotating the pans in the oven halfway through baking. You’ll know the cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the layers comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for 15 – 20 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Frosting in a bowl

Making the Frosting

  1. Cream the Butter, Cream Cheese, and Sugar. Beat the butter and cream cheese together for a couple of minutes until creamy. Then turn the mixer to low, and beat in the powdered sugar.
  2. Add Milk and Vanilla. Add in the vanilla and a tablespoon of the milk. Turn the mixer up to medium, and beat until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add more milk, if necessary, to get the right consistency.
Toasted coconut in a bowl

Making Toasted Coconut

If you’re using toasted coconut, it’s easy to make! Just place the coconut in a nonstick skillet and heat over medium-low, stirring frequently. Watch the coconut carefully, because it burns easily. Once the coconut turns golden brown, remove it from the heat and cool it completely before using.

Banana cake being frosted

Frosting the Cake

Finally, add the frosting to your cake! It doesn’t have to be perfect, just add frosting between each layer as you stack the cake and then frost all around the outsides of the cake. Finish it off with toasted coconut by pressing the coconut into the frosting gently.

What Kind of Frosting to Use

I really feel like cream cheese frosting is the perfect choice on this Banana Cake. But  if you aren’t a fan of cream cheese, here are a few more options that would be fantastic as well:

  • Classic Buttercream: My Perfect Buttercream recipe is a sweet and creamy vanilla frosting that’s delicious on anything!
  • Chocolate Frosting: Creamy Chocolate Frosting is oh-so-delicious, especially paired with banana. It’s a match made in heaven!
  • Heritage Frosting: This Heritage Frosting recipe is an old-fashioned cooked flour frosting that my mom used to use on her Red Velvet Cake. It’s buttery and creamy, a little bit different and a whole lot of delicious.
Frosted banana cake on a wire rack

Tips for Success

Okay, so if you’re anything like me, you are now dying for a slice of banana cake! That’s great, but before you go, have a gander at these helpful tips for baking up the perfect cake.

  • Choose a Size: You can bake the banana cake in 3, 8- inch round pans or 2, 9- inch round pans! I prefer 3 layers…because more frosting.
  • No Sticking: Also, make sure to coat your pans with nonstick spray, and also line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper rounds, that are cut to fit the pan. I find that for this banana cake recipe, and honestly all cake recipes, this method works best for perfect removal.
  • Coconut Swaps: If you don’t want to use coconut, you could use toasted walnuts or pecans instead. Mini chocolate chips ate another fun alternative to the coconut. Or, of course, you could choose to leave the cake as-is… totally up to you!
A slice of banana cake on a plate

How to Store Frosted Cake

Store banana cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow the cake to come up to room temperature before serving.

Can I Freeze Extra Slices?

Yes! Freezing leftover slices is a great way to save cake for later. To keep the cake from drying out, press parchment paper or wax paper against the cut sides of each slice. Put the slices on a plate or cookie sheet in the freezer until the frosting is frozen solid, and then wrap the slices completely in plastic wrap. Freeze for up to two months, and thaw in the fridge or on the counter before serving.

Print

Best Banana Cake

  • Author: Shelly | Cookies & Cups
  • Prep Time Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield Yield: serves 10 1x
  • Category Category: Dessert
  • Method Method: Baking
  • Cuisine Cuisine: American

Description:

Soft, sweet, and loaded with ripe bananas, this is truly the Best Banana Cake ever! You’ll love the light and moist crumb and decadent cream cheese frosting!


Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 ripe medium bananas mashed, approximately 1 1/2 cups

For the Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 tablespoons milk
  • optional – 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Instructions

Make the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Coat 3 8-inch round cake pans or 2 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray. Cut parchment paper into rounds to fit into the bottoms of the pans. Place the parchment into each pan and coat again with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl combine the milk and lemon juice. Stir and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  5. Add in the eggs, vanilla, salt and baking soda and mix until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  6. Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour and milk in alternating additions, beginning and ending with flour, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  7. Finally mix in the bananas until just incorporated.
  8. Divide the batter evenly among the pans and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans in the oven half-way through baking.
  9. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 15-20 minutes and then remove from the pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the butter and cream cheese together for 2 minutes until creamy. Turn mixer to low and add in the powdered sugar.
  2. Finally add in the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk.
  3. Turn the mixer up to medium and mix until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  4. If desired add in the remaining tablespoon of milk and mix until combined.
  5. Frost cake.
  6. If desired place the coconut in a nonstick skillet. Heat over medium-low, stirring frequently. The coconut will begin to turn golden brown. Watch closely, as the coconut will burn quickly.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the coconut to cool completely.
  8. Garnish cake with the toasted coconut (if using).

Notes:

Store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow the cake to come up to room temperature before serving.

Keywords:: banana cake, bananas dessert, easy layer cake, simple cake

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Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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Brent
October 6, 2021 11:25 am

Great recipe and great cake. Turned out perfect.
Entered in county fair in Lubbock TX and won best of show!!

L.M.
April 1, 2021 4:20 pm

Can I use this recipe to make cupcakes?

Mint
February 22, 2021 10:29 am

I dont have eggs but i already started making the batter, anything i could use to substitute?

Jane
December 10, 2020 12:06 pm

Can I use half and half instead of milk?

Jane
December 10, 2020 12:04 pm

Can I use half and half or almond milk in cake and frosting instead of milk and if so which will taste better? And is it the same measure as milk?

Patricia
June 4, 2020 8:59 am

This cake was delicious as a butter cake but could not taste any banana in the cake. I used 3 very ripe bananas that measured 1 1/2 cups and mashed as directed. However, the texture was perfect and baked beautifully in three 6″ pans and I made 4 large bundt pan cakeletts with the extra batter.

Ivan
April 1, 2021 9:08 am
Reply to  Patricia

I substitute banana extract for vanilla extract. This gives any banana recipe an extra flavour kick.

Isa
May 20, 2020 12:50 am

This cake is so delicious! Is there a mistake in the nutrition facts though? 999 calories and 136 grams of sugar is a little excessive…

February 7, 2020 1:43 pm

Made it in a rectangular pan just baked it about an hour at 300 degrees, added crushed walnuts on top of the frosting and it turned out Awesome!

Brent
October 6, 2021 11:27 am
Reply to  Ester Mahmod

I was just going to ask if you could make this recipe in a 9×13 pan or would need any changes other than baking time

Nikki
January 31, 2020 12:44 pm

Can you add chocolate chips to this cake and if so how many cups would you suggest for an 8 inch 3 layer cake?

Nikki
January 31, 2020 12:46 pm
Reply to  Nikki

Sorry I meant to say how many chocolate chips for a 9 inch 3 layer cake. In order to make the 9 inch cake do I need to DOUBLE the recipe or?

Rosann Green
January 24, 2020 6:31 pm

Hi will this recipe rise up to the top of 3- 8” x 2” pans.

Jane
December 10, 2020 12:22 pm
Reply to  Shelly

Can I use half in half instead of milk for the cake and frosting ?

Dona
October 17, 2019 5:06 pm

Can I substitute buttermilk for the milk?

Thanks!

Greg
June 28, 2020 7:48 pm
Reply to  Dona

see Sabrina’s reply below…

Belinda Pavicic
October 17, 2019 3:26 pm

What do I do if I’m missing lemon juice?

Sydney
May 2, 2019 1:03 pm

How much batter do you suggest for a 12 inch pan?

ELIZABETH
March 20, 2019 9:46 pm

I used the cake recipe only here and made a cake for my husband’s coworkers. I filled the layers with cream cheese buttercream, toffee bits and homemade caramel sauce…. Several people said it was the best cake they’ve ever eaten! Going to make it again adding chocolate chips, peanut butter cream cheese buttercream and chocolate ganache! 🙂 Thanks for the great cake recipe!

Greg
June 28, 2020 7:44 pm
Reply to  Shelly

or what about a Nutella buttercream frosting – I bet theres a recipe to be found…

Stephanie
January 31, 2019 8:39 am

I have made this cake a few times now and it’s amazing. I don’t follow the icing recipe exactly (I use less icing sugar) but I have had glowing responses from the people to whom I’ve served it. I overheard one of my dinner guests whisper to someone else how excellent the cake was. Thanks for posting it1

Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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