There’s no shame in admitting that sometimes, you just need a piece of cake. And is there anything better than digging a fork into a simple square slice? We’re firm believers that cake is ideal for any occasion, whether you have something to celebrate or you’re simply just looking for a sweet little snack. And this banana cake recipe may be the perfect fit to check all of those celebration or snack cake boxes.
Not only is this banana cake recipe a great way to utilize leftover, over-ripe bananas, but it’s also wildly delicious. It’s perfectly moist with a wonderful crumb, and it’s jam-packed with banana flavor. And on top of it all, it’s paired with a tangy, dreamy cream cheese frosting to serve as the ideal pairing.
We know, sometimes whipping together an entire cake from scratch can seem intimidating, but we promise that this recipe is 100 percent attainable. Using only simple, easy-to-find ingredients, you can whip up a banana sheet cake in under an hour to share with the whole family, whether you’re celebrating a birthday, a promotion, or just a regular Tuesday.
Gather the ingredients for this banana cake recipe
The first step to making this delicious banana cake recipe is to be sure you have all of your ingredients on hand. There’s nothing worse than diving in on a baking recipe and realizing you’re missing one key ingredient.
To make this banana cake, you’ll need a handful of easy-to-find ingredients. Start by gathering a stick and a half of butter, softened, a cup of white sugar, three-quarters of a cup of brown sugar, three eggs, one teaspoon pure vanilla extract, four very ripe bananas, mashed, two cups of flour, two teaspoons baking powder, half a teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of nutmeg, and three-quarters of a cup of milk. These ingredients will be used to bake the banana cake.
To top your banana cake with cream cheese frosting, you’ll need an additional stick of softened butter along with one brick of softened cream cheese, an additional two tablespoons milk, and five cups of powdered sugar. You’ll also need crushed pecans or walnuts for topping your cake, if desired.
Mash the bananas for this banana cake recipe
To get started on making this banana cake recipe, you’ll want to first kick things off with the bananas. These are, after all, the star of the show for this particular recipe.
It’s important to utilize incredibly ripe bananas for this banana cake recipe. As bananas ripen, the sugars in the fruit develop further. You can tell your bananas are ripening when they begin to turn brown. Bananas with brown spots on their peels are ideal for this recipe. Using over-ripe bananas that you tucked away in the freezer is another great option.
Start by peeling all of your bananas and putting them in a small bowl. Use a large fork or a potato masher to mash the bananas well until smooth. You don’t want to leave large chunks, or they’ll end up leaving gooey clumps in your cake. Once the bananas are mashed, set them aside until you’re ready to incorporate them into the banana cake batter.
Cream the butter and sugars for this banana cake recipe
Once you have all of your ingredients gathered and the bananas are mashed, it’s time to start making this banana cake recipe. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
To start making the batter for this banana cake recipe, first put the bowl on your stand mixer and fit it with the paddle attachment. If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand mixer will work just fine. Add the butter into the bowl of the mixer and mix on medium speed. While mixing, add in the white sugar and brown sugar and cream until well combined. Once the butter and sugars are well incorporated, add in the eggs one at a time with the mixer running.
While mixing, add in the vanilla extract, and then mix in the mashed bananas. Continue mixing until the wet ingredients mixture is well incorporated before moving onto the next step.
Mix in the dry ingredients and milk for this banana cake recipe
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg, and stir the ingredients until well combined. Once the wet ingredients mixture is ready, it’s time to incorporate the dry ingredients into the batter, while alternating them with the milk.
Start by pouring a third of the dry ingredients mixture into the bowl with the mixer running. As the dry ingredients are incorporating, add in half of the milk. Add in another third of the dry ingredients, and then pour in the rest of the milk. Finish off by adding in the remaining dry ingredients.
Mix until the dry ingredients are just combined. You don’t want to over-mix the batter at this step. Over-mixing the batter will cause the gluten to develop too much, ultimately leaving you with a cake that’s not as light and fluffy as desired.
Bake the banana cake recipe
Once the batter for this banana cake recipe is mixed and ready, it’s time to bake it. Prepare a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper. To help the parchment paper better stick to the pan, spray the pan lightly with cooking spray before tucking the parchment paper into the pan. This will help to keep the cake from sticking while baking, along with making it much simpler to remove. If you don’t have a glass baking dish on hand, a metal 9x-13-inch cake pan will work just as well. Utilizing two eight-inch round cake pans is also another option for this recipe.
Once the baking dish is prepped, pour all of the batter into the dish. Use a spatula to spread the top until smooth if needed. Bake the banana cake for 35 to 40 minutes until lightly golden brown on top. You’ll be able to tell the cake is done when there is no liquid or gooey spots on top. Once the cake is fully baked, remove it from the oven and allow to completely cool.
Make cream cheese frosting to top this banana cake recipe
While the banana cake is cooling, it’s the perfect time to prep the cream cheese frosting to go on top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, start by creaming the butter and softened cream cheese. It’s very important the cream cheese is softened to room temperature for this step to avoid any clumps.
Add in two cups of powdered sugar and continue mixing on medium speed. Add in the two tablespoons milk, and then continue adding in powdered sugar until the mixture begins to form a smooth frosting. If needed, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Once the mixture comes together to form a frosting, turn the speed up on the mixer to whip the frosting until completely smooth.
Once the banana cake is completely cooled, use an icing spreader or flat spatula to spread the cream cheese frosting on top. Sprinkle the cake with brown sugar, crushed pecans, or crushed walnuts if desired.
Can you add other mix-ins or toppings to this banana cake recipe?
The beauty of this banana cake recipe is its adaptability. Certainly, the cake is delicious on its own with the top covered in cream cheese frosting. However, if you’d like to up the flavor ante just a bit, there are plenty of options for mix-ins and toppings.
For this banana cake, we used crushed pecans as a topping, offering a tiny bit of crunch and serving as a great garnish. Other great topping options include crushed walnuts, caramel sauce, or even chocolate sauce.
The batter of this cake also allows for additional mix-ins. If you want to add a surprise inside your banana cake, add in mini or regular-sized chocolate chips for a bit of chocolate flavor. Crushed walnuts or pecans make a great addition in the actual cake as well. Other options include shredded carrots or coconut for great flavor and texture. The options are endless!
- 1-½ sticks butter, softened (plus 1 more for cream cheese frosting)
- 1 cup white sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ¾ cup milk (plus 2 tablespoons for cream cheese frosting)
- 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, softened (for cream cheese frosting)
- 5 cups powdered sugar (for cream cheese frosting)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, add the very ripe bananas. Mash with a fork or potato masher until smooth. Set aside.
- In another small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Stir, then set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Mix until smooth and well combined.
- Add in the eggs one at a time. Add in the vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
- Mix in the mashed bananas until well incorporated.
- Add in the dry ingredient mixture gradually while alternating with the milk. Add in ⅓ of the dry ingredient mixture, ½ of the milk, another ⅓ of the dry mixture, and then the remainder of the milk. Mix in the remaining ⅓ of the dry ingredient mixture. Mix until just combined. Be sure not to over-mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared 9×13-inch baking dish. Use a spatula to spread the top until smooth if needed. Bake cake for 35 to 40 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to fully cool.
- While the cake is cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and softened cream cheese. Add in two cups of powdered sugar and continue mixing. Add in the two tablespoons milk, and then continue adding in powdered sugar until the mixture begins to form a smooth frosting. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Once the mixture is combined, turn the speed up on the mixer to whip the frosting until smooth.
- Once the cake has fully cooled, spread the cream cheese frosting on top using an icing spreader or flat spatula. Sprinkle with crushed pecans if desired.