This is, hands down, the BEST banana cake I’ve ever had. It’s soft, moist and rich all at the same time! Once cooled this cake is topped with a totally irresistible lemon cream cheese frosting for a perfect dessert your family will love.
I love a good banana cake, it just reminds me of being a kid because my Grandpa and Grandma made the BEST banana cupcakes. I can still smell them baking in my grandma’s kitchen, waiting impatiently with my sisters.
This cake is reminiscent of my favorite banana cupcakes. It is soft and fluffy and incredibly moist and topped with my favorite ever lemony cream cheese frosting.
As much as I love a fluffy banana cake, I love it even more when it’s topped with an amazing cream cheese frosting! I add in a little bit of lemon zest and lemon juice for extra flavor in my cream cheese frosting but if you prefer, you can leave out the lemon and substitute vanilla.
Regardless of how you top it, once you try this cake, it’ll be your go-to. Every time you have overripe bananas on the counter you’ll want to make this recipe! In fact, I often buy extra bananas to ripen and make this cake!
Tips to ensure a soft moist result:
- Ensure your ingredients are at room temperature (eggs and butter)
- You need the acidity from the lemon juice (& milk) mixture. Subbing in just milk or cream won’t work. (You can use buttermilk in its place if needed).
- When mixing your butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla, beat the mixture until VERY fluffy, almost the consistency of a fluffy buttercream frosting. This should take about 5 minutes.
- When adding the flour mixture you want to mix until just combined. Over-mixing will cause a dense chewy result.
- The cooking time on this cake can vary! Check your cake at 55 minutes, if it isn’t ready, continue cooking until a toothpick comes out clean (this can be up to an additional 20 minutes depending on your oven). The result will be a moist and irresistible banana cake.
The Best Banana Cake
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 2 ½ tablespoons lemon juice divided
- 1 ⅓ cup mashed bananas
- ⅔ cup butter softened
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- ⅓ cup butter softened
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest from 1 lemon
- 3-3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.
- Place 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice in a measuring cup. Top to 1 ½ cups with milk. Set aside.
- Mix together mashed banana with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, set aside.
- Beat together butter, brown and white sugar until combined. Add in eggs one at a time and vanilla. Mix on high until light and fluffy (almost the texture of frosting).
- Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Alternate adding flour mixture and milk to egg mixture stirring just until combined. (Do not overmix). Fold in bananas. Pour into prepared pan.
- Put into the oven and reduce heat to 300°F. Bake 60 – 70 minutes (see note below) or just until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (do not over bake).
- Remove from oven and place in the freezer for 45 minutes to make the cake extra moist. Cool completely before frosting.
- Cream together butter & cream cheese until fluffy. Add in lemon zest and juice.
- Add powdered sugar a little at a time until you reach desired consistency. Spread over cooled cake.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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This recipe has been retested and updated 11/20/16.Very slightly adapted from food.com
Can I use over ripe bananas like you would use in banana bread?
Very good cake. I used buttermilk in place of the lemon juice and milk mix and I added a bit of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg for a bit of spice. I baked it up in two thick 6” rounds 650 g each and a half dozen cake doughnuts. It took about 13 min for the doughnuts and about 50 for the rounds, they were quite thick. I sliced the rounds in half filled with whipped ganache and topped with cream cheese frosting.
Can I make this ahead of time and leave it in the freezer up to a week when I put it in there to cool?
That should work. You will want to be sure to take it out the night before to let it defrost before frosting and serving.
Hello! If using a 9” round pan to cook, would cooking time still be the same as the 9×13?
Hi Fiona, I haven’t tried making this recipe in a round cake pan but others readers have had great results. I would check the cake around 30 minutes into baking for doneness and gauge the cooking time from there. We would love to hear how it turns out for you.
My milk curdled with the lemon- I hope that is ok?
Hi Beth, It is “soured” so it can look a little curdled and it should be a bit thick. Just give it a stir and as long as the milk was fresh it should work great.
I love this recipe! I haven’t actually tried the cake yet – as I made it for Mothers Day. I wanted to ask, how should I keep the cake until tomorrow? Is it best covered and left out on the counter, or should I keep it in the fridge?
Hi George, it can be kept on the counter or in the fridge (I usually leave it on the counter). If you do refrigerate it, I would recommend removing it from the fridge at least one hour before serving.
I haven’t tried this recipe yet but it looks very good. I was wondering if I could use a bundle pan instead of a 9×13.
We haven’t tried this recipe in a bundt pan, but other readers have with success. We would love to hear how it turns out for you!
I added some sour cream and about a cup of nuts. Delicious!
Can you make this as a layer cake?
I haven’t tried this as a layer cake so I can’t say for sure Tracy. If you do make it, please let us know how it turned out for you.
I can’t wait to try this recipe as a birthday cake! Do you think I could use a round shape pan??
And also, how many bananas more or less? 3?
Thank you so much!
About 3 large bananas, you may need more if your bananas are on a smaller size. The cake should bake well in a round pan. We haven’t personally tried but other readers have had success with round pans.
Best recipe I have tried! Our new favorite!
This is hands down the most moist banana cake I have had. I made it on the eve of good Friday and we are ¾ way done. My husband was the biggest fan and he asked for more after this one is finished.
My only adjustments were using 1 cup of dark brown sugar and ¼ cup regular sugar and adding some pecans because, I mean, who doesn’t like pecans in their banana cake.
Thank you so much and I can’t wait to make it almost weekly now.
Turned out perfect. Easy to follow recipe. Will make it again for sure.
Where does milk fold into batter?
Hi Sue, in Step 5 we alternate between adding the flour and the milk mixture to the egg mixture.
I’ve made this recipe many times and it has been a favourite every time. So moist and lots of flavour. If I f do not have ripe bananas I roll a banana on the counter in the skin and that mushes it perfectly for this recipe.
Look like a great recipe, but can you substitute out the regular flour with a gluten free one ? Thanks
Hi Rochelle, we have not made the recipe with gluten free flour, but other readers have with great success! You can find more details in the comments. Enjoy the banana bread!
I keep over ripe bananas in freezer…can these be used?
Hi Judy, I think they should work just fine.
Do you put it in the freezer right out of the oven in the hot pan? Also, do you cover it while it’s in the freezer?
Hi Veronica, we do put the hot pan directly into the freezer, although if you have a glass pan, you can let it cool for 15-20 minutes before transferring to the freezer. If it’s cold where you are, you can also pop it outside! I do not cover it.
Absolutely delicious! I have made this cake 3 times now and it comes out perfect every time. One time I think I did over-mix it and it was less fluffy, but still great. The only difference I make is to add about 1.5 cups of chopped walnuts as my husband loves nuts. I seem to add a bit extra lemon zest to the frosting as well (just as a preference), but otherwise follow the instructions exactly as they are and you will end up with a delicious cake. Cook time for me is 1 hour 10 minutes. I noticed some readers asked about salted or unsalted butter. I didn’t even think about this and just used salted as that’s all I typically have. The cake was still perfect as far as I’m concerned :)
Are you using salted or unsalted butter in the cake? I know unsalted is the default for baking, but am unsure as you don’t specify in the icing either.
Hi Deirdre, we use unsalted butter for this recipe. Hope that helps!
Will this recipe work well for cupcakes and will the cream cheese frosting be ok to use with edible cupcake design discs? I’m making these for my daughters baby shower, this weekend.
While I haven’t made this into cupcakes, many readers have. I would suggest filling your cupcake liners ⅔ full and baking for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. As for the edible cupcake design discs, I have never worked with them so I am not sure how they would turn out. We would love to hear how it goes for you!