This extra sweet Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is my new obsession! I love it because it actually tastes like bananas, it’s easy to throw together, and it feeds a crowd. It’s super moist thanks to oil in the batter, as well as buttermilk and sour cream. I will show you just how to make it. Say no to dry cake! 

simple banana cake recipe, shot from the side with a bite taken out

I accidentally put my T-shirt on inside out and backwards the other day. I noticed it and thought, oh, I’ll change that in a minute… minutes turned into hours and then Eric had to be the one to tell me that I definitely still looked like a toddler who had dressed themselves for the first time. I guess I should be grateful he saved me before I left the house like that!? Hashtag quarantine life, right?

easy banana cake recipe with cream cheese frosting swirls

Speaking of hashtags. The other day my sister Laura told me that her daughter received her new soccer jersey at practice. She asked, “Why does this say hashtag 8?” Our kids are never going to know that # used to mean number! And forget about the “pound sign.” Sometimes it’s weird seeing culture evolve before your eyes.

best banana cake recipe, shot from the side in the pan

How is everyone’s September going? Our kids started in-person school yesterday. It’s almost eerie having only 4 people in the house instead of 6. What am I supposed to do with all this quiet? I never thought I would appreciate the quietness that comes from having only a 3-year-old and a baby at home. The kids are loving school and I think we are all enjoying having a routine back in our lives!

easy banana cake with cream cheese frosting

You may remember that a few months ago I decided to conquer banana bread. I’ve always just picked random recipes when I get a craving for banana bread, but I decided to test a whole bunch together to see what I actually like. I landed on this recipe for Moist Banana Bread with Sour Cream, which I love because it doesn’t end up overwhelmingly gummy.

slice of banana cake recipe

How to make Banana Cake

And now I will tell you a secret: banana cake is basically just banana bread with a little more sugar and baked in a different pan. Shhh don’t tell anyone that banana bread is basically cake without frosting. (but really we all know this in our hearts, right? The only difference is that you top one with warm butter, and the other one with frosting.)

This cake could not be easier to make! It’s as simple as making any quick bread, which are called quick for a reason.

Freeze your brown bananas

how to make banana cake, smashing bananas

First mash up your bananas. You want dark brown or even black bananas. Did you know you can freeze brown bananas? I do this routinely and always have a stash of brown bananas in the freezer. It’s inevitable that at some point you will have brown bananas, but that moment might not coincide with your desire to make banana cake or banana bread. The freezer is the answer. Just peel them and toss them in a ziplock and pull them out as needed. For today’s cake, I used 2 regular brown bananas and one that I pulled from the freezer and microwaved until it was mash-able.

Stir up all the ingredients (it takes less than 10 minutes). I added cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to my cake, but that’s optional. I like my banana cake to taste really banana-y, and the small amount of spices called for in this cake provides a nice accent but isn’t overpowering. I also added maple extract, just a little bit. It is totally optional! I love the depth of flavor it adds.

banana cake batter being poured into a sheet pan

Then pour it into a sheet pan. Or a 9×13 inch pan will work too! You will have to bake it a few minutes longer. I prefer a sheet pan because I feel like it has a better ratio of frosting-to-cake. It will work great either way! Now it’s time for frosting.

cooked banana cake, pouring cream cheese frosting on top

I love this cream cheese frosting. There is something about cream cheese frosting and bananas that just goes. This recipe is my new favorite because it uses more cream cheese than most recipes. This gives you the perfect texture and a nice cream-cheesey-flavor, instead of just tasting like powdered sugar.

swirly cream cheese frosting for banana cake

What icing goes with banana cake?

I say cream cheese frosting is the best with banana cake! That’s the traditional pairing. But you could go in a lot of different directions! I think this Maple Pecan Buttercream Frosting would be amazing, or you could try the cream cheese version featured on this Carrot Cake.

best banana cake recipe

You could also use a simple Buttercream Frosting, which is so near and dear to my heart. (I know that post says it’s for Sugar Cookies, but I use that same frosting on many cakes.) This Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting would be amazing. Or this Brown Sugar Frosting. Chocolate Buttercream frosting would also be delicious! Caramel Frosting would be a magical pairing also. So many choices!!

easy banana cake, close up shot with bite taken out

Serve your banana cake to all the neighbors and UPS guys stopping at your house, because like I said, this recipe makes a bunch! Or just hoard it in your freezer. I get you.

More banana recipes you will love!

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Easy Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves 16-20     adjust servings

This extra sweet Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is my new obsession! I love it because it actually tastes like bananas, it's super easy to throw together, and it feeds a crowd. It's super moist thanks to oil in the batter, as well as buttermilk and sour cream. I will show you just how to make it. Say no to dry cake! 

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or light olive oil
  • 3 soft brown bananas (1 and 1/2 cups mashed)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk*
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (I like Mexican vanilla)
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract, optional
  • 2 and 1/2 cups flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves, optional

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 and 1/2 packages cream cheese (12 ounces total), softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (I like Mexican vanilla)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 11x17 inch jelly roll pan** (OR a 9x13 inch pan, see note) with parchment paper, or spray generously with nonstick spray.
  2. Make the cake. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter until it is smooth and creamy and there are no lumps. Scrape the sides as necessary.
  3. Add 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar. Beat with the butter for 1 minute, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  4. Add 1/4 cup oil. You can use canola oil, vegetable oil, or light tasting olive oil. Mix it in.
  5. In another bowl or on a plate, use a fork to smash 3 large bananas (about 1 and 1/2 cups mashed). See photos. Add to the butter mixture.
  6. Add 3 eggs, 3/4 cup buttermilk*, and 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon maple extract. The maple is optional! I like the extra flavor it adds. Beat it all together until smooth, scraping the sides as necessary.
  7. Add 2 and 1/2 cups flour to the mixture, but don't stir yet. Make sure you spoon and level the flour (don't pack it).
  8. On top of the flour, add 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. If you would like to add spices (it's optional) add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon each cloves and nutmeg. You can of course add more spices if you want (I like to focus on the banana flavor, so I want the spices to just be an accent.) Use your teaspoon to stir the soda, powder, salt and spices into the flour a little bit.
  9. Beat the flour mixture in, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom. Once it has come together and there are no streaks, stop mixing.
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. You will know the cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no wet batter on it. The edges will pull away from the sides of the pan. Don't over bake! No one likes dry cake.
  11. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter and 12 ounces total softened cream cheese. (This is one 8-ounce package, plus another half package.) Beat well, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, until smooth and creamy. There should be no lumps at all!
  13. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar. Beat well.
  14. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
  15. Add the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat well, scraping the sides.
  16. When the cake is completely cool, spread the cream cheese frosting to the edges of the cake.
  17. Slice and serve! Store leftovers covered on the counter. You can also store it in the fridge, chilled banana cake is pretty amazing.

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If you make this recipe, share it on Instagram using the hashtag #TheFoodCharlatan so I can see it!