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Our BEST Banana Cake Recipe
Enjoy our Banana Cake recipe for a special occasion, or whenever you have ripe and ready bananas.
This Banana Cake recipe is a favorite with everyone who tries it! With plenty of banana flavor and a rich, luscious cream cheese frosting, it’s hard to stop at just one piece. This banana cake can be made in two or three layers or in a 13×9-inch baking pan which is perfect for gatherings, potlucks and easy decorating.
With a beautiful texture, intense banana flavor and a rich, sweet frosting, this banana cake recipe will become one of your most requested desserts!
Ingredients needed to make Banana Cake
For the banana cake:
- all-purpose flour
- baking soda
- unsalted butter at room temperature
- granulates sugar
- large eggs
- mashed, ripe bananas
- vanilla extract
- whole milk
For the frosting:
- cream cheese, room temperature
- unsalted butter, room temperature
- powdered sugar
- vanilla extract
- toasted walnuts or mini chocolate chips for garnish, if desired
How to make Banana Cake:
First, combine the dry ingredients, set aside.
Next, beat the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks, then the mashed bananas and vanilla.
Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternating with the milk.
In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the cake batter. Pour into the prepared cake pan(s).
Finally, bake and cool before frosting.
To make the frosting:
Beat the butter and cream cheese together until blended. Add the sugar, vanilla and salt. Frost the cooled cake as desired.
For best results store this cake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
This banana cake recipe is easily made ahead and refrigerated until needed.
The texture of this banana cake recipe is more like a typical cake than banana bread. It’s soft and moist but just a touch more dense than a regular plain cake. However, this cake doesn’t wimp out on banana flavor so there’s no need to guess what kind it is.
Also, you won’t wonder what happened to the bananas because it has a deliciously intense-banana flavor throughout. You can even smell sweet bananas when you slice into this cake! And, we love how it slices beautifully. This cake is best eaten after it’s had time to rest and chill for a few hours.
The frosting requires refrigeration for longer storage making this cake a perfect make-ahead dessert. Our cake is delicious eaten straight from the refrigerator or at room temperature, it’s all good!
What’s the best way to ripen bananas?
If you plan to make this cake I recommend buying bananas a week before you need them and allow them ripen at room temperature, naturally.
The banana peel should be mostly brown on the outside with a soft fruit inside when gently squeezed. If you’re a little rushed (like I usually am) here’s our favorite way to ripen bananas for baking:
According to Cook’s Illustrated, the best way to ripen bananas is to enclose them in a paper bag for a few days. The bag will trap the ethylene gas produced by fruit that hastens ripening, while still allowing some moisture to escape. Since fully ripe fruit emits the most ethylene, placing a ripe banana or other ripe fruit in the bag will speed the process along by a day or two.
What kind of add-ins are good with this banana cake recipe?
For a nice flavor companion to the bananas, add ground or chopped nuts. If mixing nuts into the cake batter I recommend using just one cup of finely chopped walnuts or pecans. My favorite is toasted, chopped walnuts sprinkled on top for nice visual appeal, good crunch and great flavor.
Another great variation is to add a little cinnamon to the cake batter and/or the frosting.
And, let’s not forget the delicious chocolate and banana combo too! Garnish the cake with mini semisweet chocolate chips around the outside edge of the top layer – so pretty! The mini chips add just enough chocolate to compliment the banana flavor without too much sweetness.
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Banana Cake Recipe
For the cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 4 medium)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
For the frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- chopped toasted walnuts or mini semisweet chocolate chips for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans or a 13x9-inch baking pan.
To prepare the cake:
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and blend until combined. Add the mashed bananas and vanilla; beat until incorporated scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternating with the milk in 2 additions.
- In a separate bowl bowl beat the egg whites with clean beaters until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter using a spatula. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.
- Bake at 350F until a toothpick comes out with no wet batter (moist crumbs are okay), about 28 to 33 minutes, DO NOT OVER-BAKE! Allow the cake to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
To prepare the frosting:
- Combine the cream cheese and butter and beat until blended. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. And the vanilla and salt and mix on low until smooth and creamy. Frost cake as desired. Cake is best stored in a cool location or refrigerated and will keep well for up to 5 days.
Here are a few more recipes you might enjoy:
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread – deliciously, moist easy to make Banana Bread loaded with mini chocolate chips. So much flavor!
Easy Banana Bread Recipe ~ delicious and simple, and perhaps the best banana bread recipe around! Moist and tender cake loaded with banana flavor and chopped walnuts. Try a slice with cinnamon cream cheese – oh my goodness!
Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Muffin Recipe – Moist, delicious and super healthy muffins loaded with dark chocolate chips, flaxseed meal and whole oats.