Banana Bread Cake

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
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Thick, moist Banana Bread Cake with a smooth, rich, cream cheese frosting. Topped with fresh banana slices and chopped nuts, it’s a sumptuously sweet and easy recipe!

The Best Frosted Banana Sheet Cake!

It’s kind of amazing how popular banana bread is. Everyone loves it! I doubt that there’s any other fruit cake that is so popular and comes in so many different forms. On this blog, I’ve shared my favorite Brown Sugar Banana Bread, a tropical Pineapple Banana Bread, this jaw-dropping Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Bread, and a scrumptiously saucy Salted Caramel Banana Bread – but I am so seriously excited about this new recipe for Banana Bread Cake.

You read that right! Banana bread cake is like your favorite banana bread, but made into a soft-yet-bouncy sheet cake and topped with cream cheese frosting. I also add some fresh banana slices and a sprinkling of chopped nuts for extra texture and flavor. You don’t want to miss this one!

Looking for an impressive – but easy – layered banana cake? Try my very favorite Best Banana Cake! Or grab your bundt cake and whip up a Banana Bundt Cake!

The ingredients for banana bread cake, measured into small dishes and arranged on a table.

Recipe Ingredients

What will you need to make a banana bread cake? Well, this recipe is very similar to a basic banana bread recipe (read: it’s super easy). Here are the ingredients for both the cake and the frosting.

For the Cake:

  • Flour: All-purpose flour is the basis of the cake batter. You could use cake flour, but it’s not necessary for a great texture here. (If you do use cake flour, remember to add an extra couple of tablespoons of flour to each cup.)
  • Rising Agents: Baking powder and baking soda make the cake light instead of heavy or dense.
  • Salt
  • Sugar: I use a mix of granulated sugar and brown sugar, but you could use just one type of sugar if you prefer. Either type will work.
  • Butter: The butter should be at room temperature before you add it to this recipe.
  • Shortening: Adding shortening to this cake gives it the perfect bakery texture. If you don’t want to use shortening, melted butter works instead.
  • Eggs: A couple of large, whole eggs, plus an extra egg yolk for richness.
  • Sour Cream: Or Greek yogurt, or plain yogurt.
  • Mashed Banana: Use good, ripe bananas here – they can be fully brown, or dark yellow and flecked with brown.
  • Vanilla: You can use pure vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste for an even more intense vanilla flavor.
  • Pecans: Or walnuts, chopped. You can also leave these out for a smoother texture to your cake.

For the Frosting:

  • Powdered Sugar: Remember to use powdered sugar, not granulated – granulated sugar won’t dissolve as easily in the frosting mixture.
  • Cream Cheese: Cream cheese is also easier to whip up into a creamy frosting if you let it come to room temp first.
  • Butter: Room temperature. I usually go with unsalted, but you can use salted if you prefer and reduce the amount of added salt in the recipe.
  • Vanilla: Extract or paste, it’s up to you! Vanilla bean paste is more intense and will add those cute specks of vanilla throughout the frosting.
  • Salt
  • Milk: Use a little milk to thin the frosting as needed.

Optional Toppings:

  • Banana Slices: These are optional – I recommend adding them only if you’re planning to serve and eat the entire cake at once, for example, at a party. Leftover banana slices will brown and soften, so don’t add them if you’re going to store the cake for very long.
  • Pecans: Or walnuts. Also optional, but delicious when chopped up and sprinkled over the banana bread cake.
Banana bread cake on a table with sliced bananas, a bowl of pecans, a cloth napkin, and eggs.

What Does Banana Do in Baking?

Bananas are so great for making sweet treats! Because they are loaded with natural sugar and fiber, they make a healthier substitute for sugar, which allows you to make delicious desserts without needing to sweeten them so much. That same sweetness helps create a more tender dessert and adds moisture as well.

Side view of banana bread cake.

When Should You Not Use Bananas for Bread?

When it comes to making banana bread or banana bread cake, you are looking for fully ripe bananas, and even over-ripe bananas. A green or pale yellow banana isn’t quite ready yet. A yellow banana with plenty of brown flecks all over is a good choice, and from there, you can use bananas that are streaked with brown, fully brown, or even black. Just make sure to avoid bananas that are moldy, liquidy, or otherwise spoiled-looking.

Lifting a slice of cake with a cake server.

How to Make Banana Bread Cake

Okay, on to the baking method! The process is straightforward: just mix the wet ingredients, mix the dry ingredients, add the two mixtures together, and bake.

  • Mix the Dry Ingredients. To get started, grab two big mixing bowls, and set your oven to preheat to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with baking spray, and set it aside. Then whisk the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in one of your mixing bowls.
  • Mix the Wet Ingredients. In the second mixing bowl (I use the bowl of my stand mixer), beat the butter and sugars with the shortening until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat for 30 seconds, and then add your sour cream, mashed banana, and vanilla. Beat the mixture again until combined.
  • Fold in the Nuts and Bake. Add the chopped nuts to the cake batter, and use a spatula to fold them in gently. Pour this batter into the greased baking dish, and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs, that’s also fine.
  • Cool the Cake and Make the Frosting. Once the cake is baked, remove it from the oven and place it on a wire cooling rack to cool completely. In the meantime, you can make the frosting by beating the powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth. If the frosting is too thick, add a tablespoon of milk at a time to get a thinner texture.
  • Frost the Cake and Serve. Once the cake has completely cooled, spread the frosting on top, and evenly spread it using an icing spatula. Top the cake with chopped pecans and banana slices, if desired, and enjoy!

Baker’s Notes

A few helpful tips are always in order – these are my best tips for making this easy cake recipe. Read on, and happy baking!

  • Adding the Dry Ingredients to the Wet Ingredients: When you add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, make sure to mix them until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, because that can cause the gluten to overdevelop, resulting in a crumbly cake.
  • Smooth Frosting: When making the frosting, stop the mixer from time to time, and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. This will ensure a smooth, lump-free frosting.
  • Cool Things Down: Make sure to only frost the cake once it’s fully cooled down. If it’s still warm, the cream cheese frosting will melt and run off of the cake – not fun!
Side view of a cake with several slices removed, showing the texture of the interior.

Tasty Variations

Want to shake things up? Go for it! Here are a few easy ways to do just that. From frosting to mix-ins, you can totally customize this easy recipe.

  • Chocolate: You knew I was going to go there, right? Yep, this cake is extra-fun with chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips mixed into the cake batter. For a simpler chocolate twist, try sprinkling shaved chocolate across the top of the frosted cake. Or you could also go with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting on top instead of cream cheese frosting.
  • Cinnamon: I’m a huge fan of adding cinnamon to banana desserts. Cinnamon adds sweet, fragrant warmth to the recipe, and goes really well with banana and nuts. Sprinkle in about 1/2 a teaspoon, either in the cake batter or the frosting, and enjoy!
  • Frosting: For a slightly lighter, more breakfast-y take on this recipe, omit the cream cheese frosting and generously drizzle a simple glaze over the cake instead. The glaze from this recipe for Maple Glazed Pumpkin Donuts would be perfect.
A square of sheet cake on a small plate.

Storing and Freezing

Banana bread cake may be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days, Store it in the fridge if the cake is frosted. If it is not frosted, it can be stored at room temperature.

You can easily freeze this cake, frosted or unfrosted, wrapped in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and foil. If it’s frosted, you can place it in the freezer unwrapped for an hour to set the frosting, and then wrap it. Once the cake is wrapped, mark it with the date, and store in your freezer for up to three months.

Lifting a slice of banana bread cake with a cake server.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 15 Servings

Banana Bread Cake

Banana bread and banana cake had a baby! This decadent Banana Bread Cake is topped with a smooth, rich, cream cheese frosting, fresh banana slices and chopped nuts. It’s a sumptuously sweet and easy recipe!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Additional Time30 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Frosting:

  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 teaspoon milk

Optional Toppings:

  • Banana slices
  • Chopped pecans or walnuts

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with baking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the sugar, butter, brown sugar and shortening. Beat on high speed until pale and fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs and mix for 30 seconds. Add sour cream, mashed banana and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the chopped nuts and fold in using a rubber spatula.
  • Transfer the batter into the prepared baking dish and place into the preheated oven on the middle rack. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt. Beat on a medium-high speed until smooth. If needed add in milk to thin the frosting to desired texture.
  • Once the cake has completely cooled, add the frosting on top and evenly spread using an icing spatula. Top with chopped pecans and banana slices, as desired.

Notes

  • Storage: Cake may be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days. If cake is frosted, store in the fridge. If cake has no frosting, it can be stored at room temperature.
  • Adding the Dry Ingredients to the Wet Ingredients: When you add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, make sure to mix them until just combined. Be careful not to overmix, because that can cause the gluten to overdevelop, resulting in a crumbly cake.
  • Smooth Frosting: When making the frosting, stop the mixer from time to time, and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. This will ensure a smooth, lump-free frosting.
  • Cool Things Down: Make sure to only frost the cake once it's fully cooled down. If it's still warm, the cream cheese frosting will melt and run off of the cake – not fun!

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 535kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 96mg, Sodium: 330mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 36g

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Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.