Old fashioned homemade banana cake is hard to beat! Make your own cake with ripe bananas and a hand mixer, it’s so easy. 

Square piece of banana cake with cream cheese frosting on a white plate.

Moist, with lots of real banana flavor, this easy cake may become your go-to dessert. It’s a perfectly delicious way to use the overripe bananas sitting on your counter at home.

My mom makes this cake frequently. I think she overestimates how many bananas she’ll use in a week now that it’s just her and my dad at home. No one complains though because banana cake is so good! I think she got the recipe from an old Better Homes and Garden cookbook although knowing my mom, she’s made a few changes along the way.

Try it topped with fluffy homemade cream cheese frosting. Everything’s good with cream cheese frosting, even graham crackers. Mom often tops her banana cake with lemon cream cheese frosting, too, especially in the summer months.

Frosting draped over the side of a slice of cake.

No time for frosting? Sprinkle a layer of chocolate chips on the batter before baking the cake and there’s no need to frost it. Or just put the chocolate chips right in the cake, like I do with this Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Don’t wait for a special occasion to bake banana cake. Treat your family to a tasty homemade cake for dessert. Today would be a great day to show a little extra love, don’t you think? I guess every day is a great day for that!

Fork taking a bite of cake away from a square piece of cake.

About this recipe

For a dessert, this recipe is relatively healthy. Okay, I see you rolling your eyes. It’s a cake, it has butter and sugar. And probably frosting, too, unless you can resist that temptation. But it does have three bananas in it (healthy fruit!) and you can make it with whole wheat flour. Let’s take win where ever we can find it.

Along with the ingredients listed below, you’ll need a hand mixer and a mixing bowl. The complete printable recipe is on the recipe card below. Use a 9 x 13 inch cake pan or two 8 or 9 inch round pans for a layer cake.

Overhead view of a cake topped with cream cheese frosting, sliced bananas, and chopped walnuts.

What you need

  • Bananas: Use the overripe bananas sitting on your counter. Bananas that are speckled with brown, or even all brown on the outside are exactly what you need because they add so much sweetness to the cake. This is not the time to use the bright yellow/green bananas that crunch when you bite into them.
  • Flour: The recipe is written for white whole wheat flour but all-purpose flour or a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat works well, too.
  • Sugar: Use regular white granulated sugar. You can cut the amount of sugar by a third (to 1 cup) if you’re watching your sugar intake.
  • Butter: The butter should be softened, or at room temperature. Substitute shortening if you like.
  • Eggs
  • Buttermilk or Sour Milk: If you don’t have either one, make your own buttermilk by mixing regular milk with white vinegar. The chemical reaction that takes place when an acidic substance is mixed with baking soda is what leavens the cake.
  • Baking Powder: another leavening agent so your cake turns out light and fluffy.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Cream Cheese Frosting 
Overhead view of ingredients, including ripe bananas still in peels.

How to make it

Make sure you have the bananas mashed, everything else measured out, and ready to go. Preheat your oven and grease the pan. A light spritz of nonstick spray is fine.

Be confident! A homemade cake isn’t much harder to make than a boxed mix and it tastes way better.

Using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer if you have one), beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until the mixture is fluffy. Don’t skimp on the time here. It’s important to beat it well so your cake turns out light. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.

Butter, sugar, eggs, in a clear glass mixing bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients, including the bananas. Just dump it all into the bowl.

Unmixed ingredients in a glass mixing bowl.

Blend on low speed half a minute until everything’s combined, and then at medium high speed for three minutes.

Cake batter in mixing bowl.

Spread the batter into the pan and bake it into a lovely cake.

Four pictures of cake, one unbaked, one baked, one frosted, one frosted and topped with slice bananas.

You’re going to be so happy with your cake. I can’t wait for you to try it!

A very important tip: If you are going to frost the cake, let the cake cool completely! Do not frost a warm cake, you won’t be happy with the result. Even a little bit of residual heat is going to be bad for your frosting, unless it’s this broiled nut icing from Bless This Mess. I know how hard it is to wait. Believe me, I’m talking from experience here.

FAQ

What’s the difference between banana bread and banana cake?

Banana cake and banana bread share many of the same ingredients but cakes are generally lighter and softer in texture. You use a different process to make cake, beating the batter with a mixer to add lots of air and lightness. If you’re looking for a banana bread recipe, try my healthier banana bread made with applesauce and whole wheat flour.

How can I make my cake moist?

You’ll love this recipe — the three bananas guarantee that the cake will be moist.

Overhead view of frosted cake on a plate, one bite off to the side.

How to make this recipe your own

  • Make a chocolate banana cake. Replace a half cup of the flour with a half cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. Frost with chocolate cream cheese frosting
  • Make the cake with whole wheat flour, white whole wheat flour, or white all-purpose flour, or a combination.
  • Add a teaspoon or two of apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice for a banana spice cake.

Make-Ahead Ideas

Make the cake ahead and freeze it, unfrosted, for up to three months. Take a look at these tips for freezing cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Storage Tips

If you frost your cake with cream cheese frosting, cover it well and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep up to a week although you’ll find it’s best when fresh.

If the cake isn’t frosted, you can leave it out of the fridge as long as it’s covered well, for a few days. 

Slice of cake on a plate, bananas in background.

More cake recipes

“Let them eat cake!” Marie Antoinette wasn’t being kind or helpful when she allegedly coined this phrase but why not eat cake? Bring cake to a friend to cheer them up, bring a cake to your book chat or potluck, or invite a neighbor over for coffee. Try:

Banana cake with white cream cheese frosting, topped with bananas and nuts.

The Best Banana Cake

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

Old fashioned homemade banana cake is hard to beat! Make your own cake with ripe bananas and a hand mixer, it's so easy. 

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (3 medium size bananas)
  • ½ cup buttermilk or sour milk (or ½ cup milk mixed with 1 tablespoon white vinegar)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cream cheese frosting

  • 1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese, softened (reduced-fat will work, we don’t recommend fat-free)
  • 1/4 cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon milk, more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

Instructions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 9 x 13-inch cake pan by spraying with cooking spray, or greasing and flouring.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer at medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. 
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, about 30 seconds each.
  4. Add remaining ingredients. Beat 30 seconds at low speed to combine; continue to beat at medium high speed for 3 minutes. Batter should be light colored, smooth, and somewhat fluffy.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of cake comes out clean. Baking time will vary depending on type of cake pan used. 
  6. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

  1. In a large bowl, with electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy, 2 minutes.
  2. If frosting seems too thick, beat in additional milk, ½ teaspoon at a time. If frosting is too thin, add powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time. 
  3. Frost completely cooled cake. Frosted cake should be refrigerated.
  4. Note: For 9 x13 inch cake, a half batch of frosting is usually enough, unless you like a lot of frosting.

Notes

    • For a layer cake, divide batter between two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans. Bake 30-35 minutes.
    • Nutrition information is for cake only,
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 piece
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 248Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 325mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 3gSugar: 33gProtein: 6g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

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