Best Banana Cake

Prep 25 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 1 hr 5 mins

This Banana Cake is seriously the BEST banana cake recipe, ever! It’s incredibly moist and fluffy and topped with a dreamy cinnamon cream cheese frosting. It has a secret method that might sound a little crazy, but keeps this cake super moist and with the perfect soft crumb texture. This homemade banana cake is definitely not to be missed!

A slice of the best banana cake recipe being lifted away form the whole cake with a cake server.

My Favorite Homemade Banana Cake

This is seriously the BEST Banana Cake recipe you are ever going to make. It’s insanely moist and the banana flavor is just right — not too strong and not too subtle. Then you add the whipped cinnamon cream cheese frosting and it takes it to a new epic level!

I originally got this recipe from a family friend in 2010 at an engagement party. They had made this banana cake in a 9×13 casserole dish as the main dessert for the party and everyone was drooling to get a piece of her famous banana cake. I was so intrigued because it’s not often that you see a banana cake as a family favorite dessert!

Then I had a bite and OH MY. I was instantly hooked and demanded (nicely) that the recipe be shared! I have since tweaked it a little to work as a layer cake, but the recipe still holds true to the original. It has two secret methods to getting a perfect banana cake that I bet you won’t expect, (Hint: It involves a freezer) but the results will blow you away.

I promise you will not regret taking the time to make this insanely delicious homemade Banana Cake! I guarantee it will be the hit of any party and everyone will be begging you for the recipe!

Frosted banana cake on a table.

Banana Cake With A Secret

This banana cake recipe has a secret that makes it so incredibly moist. Can you guess what it is? If you guessed bananas, applesauce, or sour cream — you would be incorrect! While those are all three in this cake and help with the texture and flavor, the secret to this perfect cake is in the method!

Actually, it is in two methods! First, this banana cake is baked at a lower temperature (275°F) then you are probably used to. Secondly, as soon as the cake is done baking, you pull out the cake out of the oven and stick it directly into the freezer to stop the cake from cooking anymore!

I know this sounds crazy, but it makes a big difference in the final texture and moisture level in the cake! I have tested this recipe so many different ways over the years, but this is truly the best method.

Ingredients for a banana cake.

Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to whip up this perfect Banana Cake:

For the Banana Cake:

  • Mashed Bananas: about 2 large, over-ripe bananas.
  • Lemon Juice: fresh or jarred.
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Eggs: make sure you let them come to room temperature.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Sour Cream
  • Applesauce: you can substitute this with oil, but I prefer applesauce in this recipe.
  • Whole Milk

For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Unsalted Butter: let butter soften before you use it.
  • Cream Cheese: also let cream cheese soften.
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Salt: just a pinch!
Banana cake batter in a bowl.

How to Make Banana Cake from Scratch

Grease the Cake Pans: Preheat oven to 275°F (135°C). Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans, set aside.

Combine: In a small bowl, mix mashed bananas with lemon juice, set aside. Then, in a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.

Mix: In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla, sour cream and applesauce. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk. Fold in the banana mixture.

Banana cake layers in pans.

Bake: Divide batter (about 2 1/2 cup batter in each pan) into prepared pans. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Freeze: This is where that freezer method comes in! Slide those cake pans right into the freezer after taking them out of the oven. Be careful what you set the cake pans on as they can melt something like plastic. Let cakes cool completely before frosting, this takes about 30 minutes in the freezer.

Banana cake ingredients on plates.
Banana cake frosting in a bowl.

How I Decorate this Cake

For the Frosting: In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar, cinnamon and vanilla on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth.

Decorating: Assemble the 3 layers with a thick layer of frosting in between each layer and frost the cake as desired. Sprinkle on a little cinnamon around the outside and store in the fridge, for up to 3 days, until ready to serve.

Up close image of a slice of cake being pulled away from a whole cake with a cake server.

Tips for the Best Banana Cake

Make sure you read through these tips for the best results with this banana cake:

  • Make Ahead Instructions: you can easily make the layers of this cake ahead of time, and then construct the whole thing later, if you want. Once the cake has cooled, refrigerate the cake and frosting separately until you’re ready to put them together.
  • Don’t Skip The Freezer Trick: It’s not necessary, but it makes a big difference to the final texture of the cake.
  • Ensure Eggs and Butter are Room Temperature: this will also help make the banana cake super moist.
  • Measuring Flour: too much flour can make this cake dense. To avoid this, spoon the flour into your measuring cup and then level it off with a knife.
  • Which Cream Cheese to Use: use brick-style cream cheese instead of the kind that comes in a tub to avoid runny frosting.
  • How to Ripen Bananas: if you don’t have any over-ripe bananas, put some yellow bananas in a paper bag a day or two before you bake the cake. This will help them ripen faster!
Slice of banana cake on a plate.

How to Store Banana Cake

Banana cake can be stored in the refrigerator for about 5 days, but I find it is at its’ best within those first 3 days. Be sure to cover it tightly with plastic wrap, or store it in an airtight container.

Can I Freeze this Cake?

Yes you can! Once the cake has cooled, you can store it in the freezer in an airtight container for 2-3 months. When you’re ready to eat it, let it thaw overnight in the fridge, frost it, and then enjoy!

You can also freeze individual slices that have already been frosted. Just make sure that you wrap them tightly with Saran Wrap and then a second protective layer like a plastic ziplock bag or foil. You want to make sure the cake doesn’t dry out. Let a slice thaw overnight in the fridge, or on the counter for a couple of hours if you are in a rush, and enjoy!

Slice of banana cake with a fork on a plate.
Yield: 12 servings

Best Banana Cake

Slice of banana cake cut from the whole cake.

This epic Banana Cake is seriously the BEST banana cake recipe, ever! It's incredibly moist and fluffy and topped with a dreamy cinnamon cream cheese frosting. It has a secret method that might sound a little crazy, but keeps this cake super moist and with the perfect soft crumb texture. This homemade banana cake is definitely not to be missed!

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

Banana Cake

  • 1 cup mashed over ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/8 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz applesauce
  • 1 cup whole milk

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 12 oz (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 275°F (135°C). Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans, set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix mashed bananas with lemon juice, set aside. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla, sour cream and applesauce. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk. Fold in the banana mixture.
  4. Divide batter (about 2 1/2 cup batter in each pan) into prepared pans. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Place the cake pans right into the freezer after taking them out of the oven. Be careful what you set the cake pans on as they can melt something like plastic. Let cakes cool completely before frosting, this takes about 30-40 minutes in the freezer! (You can also let them cool at room temperature on the counter. However, popping them into the freezer stops the cooking process much faster and keeps this cake super moist!)
  6. For the frosting: In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth.
  7. Assemble the 3 layers with a thick layer of frosting in between each layer and frost the cake as desired. Sprinkle on a little cinnamon around the outside and store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 647Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 428mgCarbohydrates: 118gFiber: 2gSugar: 90gProtein: 12g

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Comments

63 Responses
  1. Vonda Coy

    I make a similar cake and make a pineapple filling for between the layers. Add moisture and gives it a tropical flavor.

  2. sue

    Forgot to mention in original post that I added a bag of dark chocolate chips. You will need at least 3 cake pans. Makes a large cake , very dense. No where near done
    after baking 50 min. I did bake at 275 but took closer to 90 minutes. Was still very moist.

  3. Sue

    Made this cake for a birthday. WOW! This is amazing. Added a bit more vanilla and cinnamon than recipe called for. Everyone wanted 2nds. My new favorite dessert recipe.

  4. Maggie

    Absolutely NUMMERS!  The best banana cake ever and wonderful frosting!  Little tip:  Don’t try to bake in two 8 inch cake pans!  Just sayin, not looking forward to cleaning the over flow in the oven!  But so worth it to taste such deliciousness!  Out to purchase my 3rd cake pan!  Next time I’ll follow all directions!  Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!

  5. Sophie

    I just made that superbe cake! The taste is amazing but i have to say my frosting ans the cake look more light brun then white, but other then that, its the best banana cake i ever made! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Rita Guill

    Just made This tonight and it was absolutely delicious. I did not have the ingredients to make the frosting so I merely put powdered sugar over it and it was a hit!

  7. Morgan

    I’ve made this cake multiple times for my boys’ birthdays. It is their favorite! I have never been able to get that dense cake look though when I cut it. You know, that nice clean cut where the cake all holds together. Mine looks more crumbly, closer to the first time you posted this recipe. I’ve tried many cakes that have a similar look to yours and never achieved those results. Some people mention freezing the layers to keep a cake moist. Do you do this? Do you have any advice on how to get that nice clean cut?

    1. Jessica

      Hi Morgan! So glad you all enjoy it so much! To cut the cake for photos I freeze it to get the cleanest cut possible for photos, but I wouldn’t recommend that for taste purposes. It’s best not frozen. 😉 

      1. Dena

        Thanks for your honesty Jessica! Many bakers wonder how to get that clean cut that’s in photographs and bakers seldom admit to freezing.

  8. Peggy Bauman

    Hi, 
    I just made this as we speak, and I just used 2 – 9″, pans. How will that affect the baking time? I didn’t have 3 pans of the same size, so I had to resort to the 2 pans. Also, should I bake it at a higher temperature instead of 275 degrees? 
    Thank you!
    Peggy 

  9. Liz

    Hey there! Found this on Pinterest and looks amazing! My daughter is turning 4 and can’t have dairy so I told her I’d make her a separate cake for her bday. She asked for banana cake and here I am. This recipe looks like the best however I am unsure of the substitutes I am about to make. What do you think about substituting dairy free plain yogurt for sour cream? Plain almond milk for milk?? I might just cross my fingers and go for it! Would love your input! Thanks a ton! 
    Liz

    1. Jessica

      Hi Liz! I think it’s worth a shot! I don’t have a ton of experience, but I believe both of those substitutes should work well! If you try it, I would love to hear how it turns out. Happy 4th Birthday to your daughter!! 

  10. Lauren

    Just made this for my son’s 2nd birthday tomorrow, can’t wait to eat it!! The batter and the icing tasted AMAZING. Bananas are his favorite! 

    Quick question though….it says 275 in the recipe but when I cooked it for 50 mins at 275 and it was still soupy. Did you mean 375, or did I do something wrong? I bumped the oven to 375 and cooked it for an extra 15 minutes and it looks ok. Fingers crossed!! 

    1. Jessica

      Hi Lauren! 

      Nope, I mean 275! Did you use one larger pan instead of three 8-inch pans? I hope it eventually baked up well and everyone enjoyed it — especially our son! 🙂 

  11. Alli

    I can’t wait to eat this cake! I used a 9×13 pan & baked it for 1 1/2 hours, I had no trouble removing from the pan…frosted generously, topped cake with mini vanilla wafers…and WOW, what a beautiful cake!

  12. Kathy

    I made this cake last weekend and the taste was wonderful, but the texture was really super dense. I got no complaints from the family, but I’m wondering if its supposed to be that way. I think I’d personally like it a little lighter. Might there be a way to lighten it up?

  13. Chan

    Hey there Jessica. That cake looks absolutely scrumptious!!!
    I’ve added it to my list of cakes to make. Actually this bad baby just may be for my next dinner party. A truly decadent dessert. So simple too. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Felicia

    Hi Jessica! Just wondering here we dont really have applesauce do u have a suggestion with what I can replace it with?? Hehe thanks! I reallyyyyy wanna make it…

    1. Jessica

      Hmm. I would suggest trying 3/4 cup sour cream (total – so an additional 1/4 cup) and adding 2 tablespoons of oil in place of the applesauce.

    2. Annette

      you can make applesauce too pretty easily – I would just look for a quick recipe on that – Applesauce is a great side dish too and you can eat it by itself!

  15. Cait

    Is the 275F correct? I have never baked a cake at that low of a temp… Is that why the extended baking time? Why not the standard 350? Thanks! 

  16. Carolina

    Can I make these into cupcakes? Having a banana themed 1st Bday for my son and would love to try…how many do you think this recipe would turn out?

    1. Jessica

      Hi Carolina! It would be great as cupcakes. I do not have an exact number, but it would definitely make at least 24 standard cupcakes.

  17. Marnee Denny

    I hope this doesnt sound silly, but what do you mean by apple sauce. Do you make it yourself and is it just cooked apples? By the way, i love the cake. It really looks lovely.

  18. Amber

    Just wondering if you think this would work with flax eggs? My son has an egg allergy and I like baking! Thankfully, he’s grown out of his dairy allergy!
    The pictures of this cake are gorgeous! The flavor combinations have me salivating already. I may just go ahead and try it with the flax eggs. If I do, I’ll let you know what happens!

    1. Jessica

      Hi Amber, I wish I had an answer, however my experience with egg substitutes is small. Please comment back if you try it and let us all know how it goes! 🙂

  19. Lori

    I know it is probably sacrilege, but for someone who is not patient and not a baker….how long would you bake in a 9X13 dish? Thanks

    1. Jessica

      I would say probably 1 hour and 15 minutes or so, but I am not positive. Just keep a close eye on it and test it with a toothpick when it looks done! 🙂

    1. Jessica

      It would bake a few minutes less – 5 to 10 minutes less max. Just make sure a toothpick interested in the center comes out clean and you are good to go!

  20. Antika

    Hi, first off thank you for an AMAZING blog that I’ve been following for a long time. I wanted to ask about putting the cake pans (after baking) straight into the freezer–as I did when making the banana dream cake many times. For this cake, was there a reason you chose not to? I really liked how moist the cake was–will it still be moist without putting it in the freezer? THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

    1. Jessica

      Hi Antika! Thank you! I ended up finding that I didn’t really need to cool the cake in the freezer, it had the same result either way. You can still pop it in the freezer if you want – but it isn’t necessary! 🙂

  21. Amy J

    This looks like an amazing cake! Do you know if maple syrup or honey could be used instead of white sugar? I always sub in banana breads but wasn’t sure about cake!

  22. Georgina Benally

    I just made this and it looked nothing like your pics so I was flummoxed My frosting looks totally different. So I took a look at your original post and that’s what mine looks like, except the frosting which is brownish pink. I noticed that your frosting looks white in both and that your original recipe calls only for cinnamon for sprinkling. I was wondering if that’s what you did for both. And also why is your sponge so different from the original ?

    1. Jessica

      Hi Georgia! These updated photos don’t show the same “sponge” look because I baked it in a bunch of small layers. I wanted a different look than the traditional look I usually go for. 

      As for the frosting, not sure why yours would look pink. That’s really strange with nothing pink added to the frosting.

      I did add the cinnamon into the frosting as well as on the sides. However, 2 teaspoons is not that much cinnamon in that much frosting — so the camera didn’t pick up on it as well. However, if you look closely in the last photo you can see the speckles of the cinnamon in the icing in between the layers. 

      I hope you still enjoyed it as much as we do! This is one of my favorite cakes! 🙂

  23. Laura Ferrick

    I’m going to make this for my ladies tomorrow at church. A good banana cake is not an easy thing so I’m excited to try this one!

  24. Stef

    Hello! Excited to make this cake and use up bananas- quick question, the gorgeous photos show four cake layers, the instructions call for three pans. Did you have extra batter? Just wanting to make sure I do it correctly. Thanks so much!!

    1. Jessica

      Hi Stef! I usually make it in 3 layers, so that’s how I wrote the recipe. If you want to do 4 layers, they will take about 10 minutes less to bake. You can do 3 layers or 4 layers…up to you!

  25. Kacey @ The Cookie Writer

    Been there with the butter (and sugar, and flour…) But I must say, I have never seen a more beautiful cake!! I am serious, this is gorgeous!

  26. Erin R.

    Oh, my goodness. I like about a 1:1 frosting to cake ratio, so those layers look sublime to me. Beautiful cake!

  27. Patric Häkkinen

    Oh I love banana dream cake but it was such a long time since I had one.. Maybe it’s time to make one? 🙂

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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.
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