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

Categories

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Comments

81 Responses
  1. Julie Rodgers

    I made this cake today and it is amazing!!! So moist and delicious. My hubby isn’t a huge banana fan but he loved this cake. Will be making this again. I followed the recipe exactly and it came out wonderful. Thank you for this recipe.

  2. Sheila

    Hello Thank you for sharing your cake .my daughter wanted a banana cream cake for her wedding but wanted it to look like a naked cake would it be okay to leave it out a few hours before the wedding starts? And would it stay pretty and white?

  3. Diane

    Can this cake be made in a 9X13 pan or a bundt pan????
    Where is recipe that that lady did for pineapple center/layers??

    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.
      Jessica

      I believe it would be too much batter for a bundt pan, but will work in a 9×13.

      Sorry, I’m not sure who you are asking about the pineapple center/layer. But sure, you could always add some pineapple in the center if you would like!

  4. Marna Klaft

    Can’t wait to have it tonight for my Dads 95th birthday! The frosting is delicious from licking my fingers

  5. Susan

    I was going to make a banana cake yesterday but didn’t. I went to look for the recipe today on Pinterest, and the photo didn’t quite meet my expectations as to the moisture. I know this might sound crazy, but I feel the pictures taken and posted on Pinterest, makes a difference for me in choosing who’s recipe to make. I am an aficionado on banana bread and cakes. My all time favorite cake. I made a banana cake one day and wanted to eat a piece w/frosting immediately (mouth drooling…lol), so I wrapped the pan in foil and stuck it in the fridge. Have been doing it ever since. I haven’t tried the freezer yet, there’s almost always no room. I sooooooooooooo cannot wait to make this! Thanks!

  6. Vonda Coy

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

    1. Nina

      This is such a wonderful cake! I’ve made it several times and always with fabulous results. Did it used to be called Banana Dream Cake? Or am I imagining things?

      Also, my cakes come out better when I use some parchment in the bottom of the cake pans.

      Thank you for a tried and true recipe!

      1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.
        Jessica

        Hi Nina! Yes, it used to be called Banana Dream Cake! I had to change it for google, but it’s the same cake it has always been! 🙂 So glad you love it as much as we do!

  7. 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.

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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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