Bake or Break

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

A dense, moist banana cake is delicious on its own, but topping it with sweet-and-tangy cream cheese frosting makes it next-level amazing!

Closeup shot of square of banana cake topped with cream cheese frosting and chopped walnuts

An Easy Frosted Banana Cake Recipe

When you think “banana cake,” you’re probably imagining something similar to banana bread. While this recipe does have that same cozy flavor and moistness, the similarities end there. While banana bread might masquerade as a health food (even though we know it’s totally not!), there’s no mistaking this banana cake for anything other than a dessert. It’s incredibly dense, much sweeter than bread, and the icing on the cake is, well…the icing on the cake!

Cream cheese frosting is definitely the best pairing with this cake because it balances out that sweetness with a touch of tanginess, and the creamy, whipped texture is a foil to the dense layer of cake beneath. If you’re making this for a get-together, you can jazz up the top by garnishing with chopped nuts or a drizzle of homemade dulce de leche, but it’s really perfect as-is.

What You’ll Need

If you have overripe bananas and a well-stocked pantry, you probably have most of what you need to make this recipe!

For the cake:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter – Take it out of the fridge and let it soften before you start the recipe.
  • Canola oil – Vegetable oil works if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs – Bring the eggs to room temperature.
  • Egg white – Yes, the egg white needs to be at room temperature too!
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ripe bananas
  • Milk – I prefer baking with whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk.

For the frosting:

  • Cream cheese – Take your cream cheese out of the fridge while the cake cools.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Toasted nuts – These are optional.
A square of banana cake on a white square plate on a green and white striped table cloth

How to Make Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ready to roll up your sleeves and get started? Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Prepare. Preheat your oven to 375°F and spray an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.

Mix the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Mix the wet ingredients. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, oil, and sugar. Beat in the eggs and egg white one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.

Mash the bananas. In a third bowl, use a fork to mash the bananas with the milk.

Make the cake batter. Gradually add half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then stir in the bananas. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan.

Bake and cool. Bake the banana cake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese and vanilla using an electric mixer on medium speed. Reduce the speed and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar.

Frost the cake. Spread the frosting onto the cake and sprinkle with nuts, if using.

Tips for Success

Here are some tips to help you make the perfect banana cake.

  • Don’t overmix the batter. It’s okay for there to be a few streaks of flour in the batter; that’s always better than mixing too much and ruining the texture of the cake!
  • Consider mix-ins. The nuts can go in the cake instead of on top if you like, or you can add chocolate chips.
  • Make it into cupcakes. Reduce the baking time by half to make banana cupcakes.
Overhead view of the corner of a banana cake in a metal baking pan, topped with frosting and chopped nuts

How to Store

Because it has cream cheese frosting, you’ll need to store this cake in the refrigerator. Tightly wrapped, it will last for 2 to 3 days.

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze this cake! Wrap it well and freeze it for up to 2 months; thaw it in the refrigerator before serving. If you’d like to freeze individual pieces, I recommend freezing them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper until the frosting is frozen through, then transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. This keeps the frosting intact.

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield 16 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

This Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is the perfect snack cake!

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg white, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup (59ml) milk

For the frosting:

  • 4 ounces (113g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/2 cups (165g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted nuts (optional)

Instructions

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, oil, and sugar. Beat in the eggs and egg white, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with the milk. Set aside.
  5. Gradually mix half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Mix in the bananas. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan.
  6. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack.

To make the frosting:

  1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and vanilla. Reduce the speed and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar.
  2. Spread the frosting on the cake. Sprinkle with nuts, if using.

Notes

Recipe slightly adapted from All You magazine.

Recommended Products

Bake or Break is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Share this:

    104 Comments on “Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. Omgosh, I can’t tell you how fun it has been browsing through all of your recent posts. Every recipe is absolutely mouthwatering! I pinned this recipe, I know everyone would LOVE it!

  2. yummy.is it required to use only canola oil?can we use any other oil as well?

  3. Merin, I usually use canola oil and that is what the original recipe recommended. You should be able to use another kind of oil if you’d like.

  4. Wow, this looks amazing. Thank you for the great alternative to the good old banana bread.

  5. I just placed this into the oven…can’t wait for it to cool and then frost. The batter was a good clue of how delicous this is going to be!

  6. I just died a little! Already saved the recipe so I can do it right after Christmas. It looks great and I can’t wait to make it!

  7. I love the sound of this and cannot wait to try it. I wonder (being a non-baker), if peanut butter icing would be good. Could you just add a dollop of peanut butter to the cream cheese?

  8. Just wanted to let you know I made this cake for a luncheon at work this week and it was an absolute hit. People were asking for the recipe and taking bowl of it back to their desks. Another great recipe! I attached the link to my post if you want to take a look. Thanks again!

    http://lifessimplemeasures.blogspot.com/2012/01/banana-cake.html

  9. I just made this cake and it came out extremely dense…I have NO idea what I did wrong…the only thing I can think of is that I blended the ingredients too long..any ideas?

  10. Mine also came out very dense…more like bread not cake.

  11. You can add my attempt as also turning out quite dense. I bake quite a bit and haven’t had this happen in quite a while. I know the rule is generally 1 tsp. of baking powder for every cup of flour which this recipe does follow. Don’t quite know how to fix this one.

  12. I will definitely be making this again, so I will try and see if I can fix the problem. Not that it was a very big problem, because it was still delicious!! Thank you for the recipe!

  13. Mine also came out dense. Kinda like banana bread.

  14. This was not a hit at my house.. IT was very dry (tasted like flour)and more like a bread then a cake! maybe 2cups of flour is a little much.

  15. This was very tasty! Based on others’ reports of the cake being a bit dense, I added 1/4 tsp of vinegar to the milk and let it sit for 5 minutes before adding (pseudo butermilk) to help the baking powder do it’s thing. I also added a small amount of chocolate chips and a little butter to the frosting. It was a hit at our dinner party!

  16. I think it might have needed 1 tsp baking soda to make it less dense. I have a similar recipe and that was the only real difference. I used your ingredients and it was very dense, will try adding the baking soda next time.

  17. I am going to try this today. I was wondering if it can be doubled and baked in a 9×13 dish instead? I am debating on trying that or just making two different batches.

  18. I made this recipe and it was so yummy!! I did end up doubling it and putting it in one 9×13 dish. I also substituted buttermilk for the regular milk because buttermilk makes everything better. 🙂 I also added about a cup of peanut butter to the icing. Yum yum yum! Thanks for the recipe!!

  19. This was really good but like other comments I couldn’t get it like a cake. It was much more like banana bread.. It was still very tasty though 🙂

  20. … and then i tried this, died & went to heaven. thank you so much for posting this. yes, the cake is more dense than your typical cake BUT, it works so well with the depth of the cream cheese frosting. i shared on my blog and credited you entirely for it’s awesomeness. thank you again for sharing… simply delicious!

  21. I made this today for Mother’s day dinner at my house. I thought it turned out good (my 2 1/2 yr old loved it!). I was wondering, though, when I was mixing it all together, was I supposed to keep mixing it with the mixer to incorporate butter/eggs, etc. with the bananas and flour mixture (or was I supposed to stir/mix by hand)? I’m not a big baker, so I used the mixer with the eggs and sugar part, but wasn’t sure about with the flour mixture. I did use the mixer for all of it and wondered if that’s why mine was a little dense.
    Just wondering…Thanks for any tips!
    🙂

    • Erin, you can mix or stir the flour mixture. Either way is fine as long as you don’t over mix. The cake is supposed to be dense, so it sounds like you did everything right!

  22. I found this today on Pinterest and made it and it is SO GOOD. I used buttermilk just because I had some. It is dense, but perfectly so. Will definitely make it again….thank you so much!

  23. I love your website! This is the first thing I have made from it. Is this cake suppose to be sweet? I’m not a big fan of frosting so I left that off. I’m thinking maybe I needed it! This was not a favorite, but I am excited to make other other things!

  24. Abbe, thank you! This cake is just a bit sweeter than banana bread. I think the frosting is just perfect, but I am a confessed cream cheese frosting fanatic. Happy baking!

  25. I baked this yesterday, and was really disappointed. It was so dense that I was even questioning whether I forgot to add the flour! I don’t understand how it can turn out “perfect” for some, but not for others. Hmmm. Oh well, it DID taste good. Hubby had a small slice with some vanilla ice cream. 🙂

  26. This sounds delicious. I love baking and will try this one. I think my 2 year old would love it.

  27. I really want to try this because it sounds like something my family would love. Before I make it I was wondering if the bananas should be black. I know for banana bread its best if you make it with really ripe black bananas, I’m wondering if it’s the same for this? I have never baked anything with banana in it so I’m a little clueless, I would love any suggestions :]

    • Hayley, you just need overripe bananas, not necessarily black. Usually, I deem them ready for baking when we are no longer willing to eat them. That generally means the bananas have a lot of black spots on them.

  28. Looking to make this soon, think I can use frozen bananas?

  29. My family LOVED this recipe! We didn’t find it too dense at all. Thanks so much for posting this new family favorite:)

  30. I have been thinking about this little cake since you posted it..I had too many over ripe bananas and froze them. Each time I open the freezer, there is my reminder to make the little cake. So today is the day!

    For those in comments asking about frozen bananas, just freeze the overripe bananas in their skins and when you want to use them, simply place in a bowl or small dish to thaw, remove the skins and mash! Easy peasy!

    Happy baking everyone!

  31. Made this today & it is amazing. I didn’t have three eggs so I substituted 1/4 cup applesauce for one egg, used vegetable oil instead of canola and added peanut butter to the frosting. It was delicious!!

  32. I have a similar recipe for banana cake that came from better homes and gardens mag that has a browned butter frosting. it is out of this world!!! it just has butter browned in a skillet, powdered sugar, vanilla and a touch of cream. i dont know the exact recipes.

  33. can this be baked in a 9×13 pan without doubling ?

  34. Karen, a 9×13 is essentially twice the volume of an 8×8, so you’d need to double the recipe.

  35. Using gluten free flours I converted this recipe for my husband. It was wonderful! Baked so nice! Even my mother who is sometimes skeptical to try try my gf goodies loved it! Thanks for a great recipe!

  36. My daughter requested I make this recipe for her bday cake for tomorrow’s celebration. Very easy! Although, I used two 8 x 3.5 loaf pans instead of one 8 x 8 pan. Just added 5 more minutes at 300*. Perfect!!! Will check back tomorrow after we blow out the candles.

  37. Im making this cake right now, and the edges of the cake are getting burnt while the center is still doughy.

  38. Just made this today! I’m really not a big fan of banana bread, but this has a nice mix of banana flavour and cream cheese. About the cake being too dense, I added 1/4tsp of baking soda. It came out fine, although I think the outside bakes much more quickly than the inside. So the inside was a lot doughy and had to be baked at a lower temp for longer. It came out pretty good though. I used a bundt pan and drizzled it with frosting, walnuts and pecans.

    Good recipe. I cut the confectioner’s sugar in frosting by half, though, was too sweet for me!

  39. Just baked this today and…yummy! Swapped the oil for vanilla fat free greek yogurt and still very moist. I doubled the recipe to make a layer cake, I only had 6 large bananas, so I added a few extra tablespoons of yogurt and it still has very good banana flavor. I think Deej’s comments on the temperature or bundt pan are great as I had a small doughy center as well. Thanks!

  40. Made this tonight, and while I think the flavor of the cake is awesome, it needs a little help. It is very dense, definitely not cake consistency, and the bottom and sides browned too quickly while the center remained gooey. I suggest a lower oven temp, but as for the density I’m at a loss. Also, I decreased the sugar in the icing to just a 1/2 cup, just a personal preference. 🙂

  41. Added 4T butter to the icing. Yummy! Thank you.

  42. I had a friend and her children over this weekend and had many over ripe bananas so I went to my Pinterest board and decided to make this cake. My gosh it was sooo good. super easy to make. I followed to recipe to a T… almost I had to use egg substitute as my son is anaphalactic to eggs and tree nuts. It was very moist and had a light sweetness about it. The topper was the cream cheese icing. I will def make this again.

  43. The cake was extremely dense. Followed the recipe to a tee. I will look for other recipes. Disappointed. Frosting was very tasty.

  44. I would love to make this into a 9 inch round cake. Will the bake time need to be adjusted?

  45. Hi, Jeannette! You shouldn’t have to adjust the baking time. The volume of the two pans is very comparable, so the cake should have the same thickness in either pan.

  46. Best. Banana Cake. Ever. Based on other reviews, I added 3/4 tsp vinegar to the milk. I also added a teaspoon of baking soda to alleviate the issue with it being too dense. It was amazing!!! Thanks for the great recipe!!

  47. Hi Jennifer,

    I too found this recipe on Pinterest and am so glad I didn’t read the comments before I baked it. The cake came out very moist. My husband loved it! He suggested next time to add the nuts in the cake instead of on top, and no frosting…this cake stands on its own! Will post on my blog with a link to yours! I am looking for recipes that will become family favorites, and this one will definitely be! Thanks!

  48. I gotta try this. I have to ask though…how do you make this banana cake without the flecks? I just hate those in my banana bread or cake. This one looks lovely – all fluffy and moist.

    • Hi, Jean. Those dark flecks are just cooked banana. If I had a super close-up shot of a slice of this cake, you’d see that there are plenty in there.

  49. Great recipe. I read in previous comments that the cake turned out to be too dense. The recipe calls for 4 bananas but I only had 2. The cake came out nice and fluffy! The density could be due to the density from the bananas. Thanks for sharing!

  50. I just put it in the oven, doubled the recipe, opted for brown sugar and white sugar mix, so I’m hoping not comes out good. My fingers are crossed

  51. I just tried this recipe and It was a epic FAIL! Way to dense I thought maybe I missed something so I read the recipe again, I have no idea what happened.

  52. Made this banana cake tonight it is PHENOMINAL!
    I substituted 6 tbsp. of canola oil instead of using the butter , still came out fluffy and moist. Will be making this again !

  53. I was looking for a nice light fluffy banana cake…..this was not it. Very dense. I bake for catering, so it’s not me or my skills……

  54. I made this cake & it’s cooling!it looks delicious. It did crack on top but I can’t wait to smother it with cream cheese frosting!!

  55. I just doubled recipe and added a pineapple to blended banana mixture and some to frosting! Topped with pecans and coconut, YUM

  56. Ok, my cake was not all that great. It was more like a gummy heavy banana bread texture, and the frosting was more like royal icing. A buttercream would probably go better. Either way, I’d probably use that type of frosting, and I’d use cake flour, instead of regular, so it won’t be soooo dense.

  57. This looks so goo…I have a similar recipe that was my mothers’s but I only tried making it once. I live at high altitude, and it turned my banana cake into a banana brick…didn’t taste bad, but boy was it dense…any adjustments for altitude available?

  58. I will be using mashed bananas that were previously frozen. How much mashed banana is the equivalent of 4 large bananas?

  59. Help!!!!!!!
    Please, to gif a German Rezept!
    Tanks Martina

  60. My roommate made this cake! It was absolutely delicious! She did not include the egg whites, and substituted confectioner’s sugar with granulated sugar and corn starch. Most importantly, she baked it for 20 minutes! Highly recommend it!

  61. Mine was sticky I baked for twenty minutes over and everything….what did I do wrong?

    • Hi, Rachelle. It could one of several things. Did you change anything about the recipe? Even a small change can cause big problems. Have you used an oven thermometer to verify your oven temperature? If it took longer to bake, that could be the problem. Did you weigh or measure your flour? Sticky sounds like it might need more flour.

  62. Thank you for posting this recipe. I tried it last night and it came out great! After reading the comments here I decided to add a tsp of baking soda. I also changed the temp to 350 and shielded the cake with aluminum foil once it started browning. The result was a delicious moist cake.

  63. I baked this cake tonight and it turned out amazing! I did make a few changes since I was afraid of a dense cake. I used a bundt pan at 350 which finished in 30 minutes (though my oven tends to be a bit on the hot end). I also added 1 tsp of baking soda and used laban (fermented yogurt/milk) in place of regular milk. for the frosting, I reduced the cream cheese frosting in half starting with 1/2 cup of conf. sugar and adding until it was mildly sweet and runny in consistency since I also prepared a dark chocolate frosting to glaze the cake. It had the perfect amount of sweetness to please everyone in the house. I will definitely save the recipe for another occasion.

  64. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. I want to double it though. How long would you recommend that I bake it in a 9×13? Thanks!

  65. I made this today and it is divine! It is dense, not too sweet, and the frosting is the perfect touch. I doubled the recipe and made two of them, one to pop in the freezer. I used two ripe bananas, the rest were previously frozen and thawed today. I have a new favorite way to use up over ripe bananas now! Thank you!

  66. I’m not a great baker but I made this cake and it came out perfect! it was a complete success, I’m making it again today for a friend’s birthday. Thanks a lot for this recipe!

  67. I followed the recipe and the cake is now in the oven. Praying it will turn out great 🙏

  68. Before giving this a try, I’m just curious….for those who added 1 tsp baking soda to the cake…. Did you omit the baking powder? I don’t have any baking powder & really don’t want to waste all the other ingredients by ruining the cake. I don’t know what to do…help!

    Thanks

  69. Just about ready to take this out of the oven & ice it. I don’t have nuts in the house, would toasted coconut work….or would that be a conflict of flavors?
    Thank you!

  70. Took note of all the posters who said it was a dense cake…..made 2 cakes one with baking soda and one without and it’s true…..the one with baking soda came out lighter, still a little dense but very moist. I’ve always made banana cakes with baking soda and I think it really needs the addition of this ingredient. Very nice but not the best banana cake I’ve tasted. Thanks for posting though I’m always up for trying new recipes.

  71. Hi, I would like to make this for my soon to be 3 year old’s birthday party but wanted to cut down on the sugar. Would you have any recommendations? Could I use applesauce to sweeten instead of sugar? What proportions would you recommend? Thanks!

    • Hi, Becky! I don’t do much sugar substitution, so I can’t give you an experience-based answer. I would suggest finding that kind of substitution information from a source with good, proven experience with those kinds of substitutions.

  72. this is very similar to another banana cake I make, same amount of flour but I use a 9 by 13 pan, I think maybe it’s dense because 8 inch pan might be too small? also I use baking soda so I’ll stick with that, this recipe does look very good

  73. I made this last night and followed the recipe as directed, unfortunately mine too came out very very heavy. I was hoping for a light cake like recipe.

  74. its so nice to have recipes for 8×8 pans. Most are to big for the two of us. I’m making this tomorrow! Thanks!!!

  75. I have a few tips for this dense cake/ banana bread recipe. use butter milk if you don’t have it use 1 cup milk and add 2Tbls vinegar or lemon juice and let it sit 5-6 min. you can also put it in the freezer after baking for 10-15 min for the cooling processes it helps keep it moist just don’t forget it. when ever your baking banana bread, cake, or muffins USE BUTTERMILK you have to activate the baking powder, if it doesn’t call for both baking powder and baking soda most banana baking recipe’s call for baking soda….

  76. It was more than dense… I threw it out. The frosting was also much thinner than any cream cheese frosing I’ve ever made.

  77. ALL the love and ALL the feels for the supreme density of this lightly glazed gem!! It gives the same euphoric feeling as noshing upon a thick warm cinnamon roll! I was so pleasantly surprised! I gave my 21 month old son a little smackerel of the cake and I’ve never heard him say “Mmm!” like he did! Thank you so much! No more wasted bananas EVER!!!
    I subbed coconut sugar for the white, 5 small/medium bananas for the 4 large, and added about 1/2 cup more confectioner’s sugar in the icing (singing while adding to the KitchenAid a 1/4 cup at a time). PERFECTION!! 

  78. I made this today and it came out very dense…to the point it was doughy in the middle like it wasn’t done….although the toothpick tested clean and baked according to the recipe.   I was very disappointed as I would love to find a light and airy banana cake recipe.  Sorry….I won’t make this again.

  79. Good Grief, this was delicious!  I was looking for a bar cake so I took your recipe exactly as it was and spread it out on a 9 X 13 baking sheet.   Only needed 30 mins baking time.  It came out about a half inch thick.  Perfect!   Then I doubled the icing recipe to cover the entire sheet and sprinkled with toasted walnuts!  Everyone loved it!   Thank you Jennifer!  Oh and the comments about it being dense crack me up.    It has 4 large bananas in it, of course it will be somewhat dense, that’s what makes it great!

  80. This cake is delicious! I only used 3 bananas because it was all I had left and it was just enough. I used a whole stick of butter instead of a half and 2 tbsp of coconut oil. After reading the comments, I put a dish of water in the oven as the cake was baking to make sure it was moist and it truly is!

  81. Hi, do you know what substitutions I would need to use to make cupcakes instead of cake? Thank you.

  82. This cake was way too dense. It was not a hit with my 4 teenagers. 😕

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *