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Last Updated on August 11, 2020 by Chenée Lewis
This banana cake is the answer to your prayers when you want an easy snacking cake with a truly decadent cream cheese frosting! I make this banana cake whenever I’m in the mood for something sweet, or whenever I have overripe bananas lying around!
If you’re like me, you made banana bread earlier this year. I’m here to tell you: banana cake is WAY better than banana bread! It’s got a lighter crumb, it’s pretty much foolproof, and just look at that brown butter cream cheese frosting.
To put together this banana cake, just preheat your oven to 350 degrees, grease and line your 8-inch round cake pan, and gather your ingredients:
- brown sugar: helps give the cake a richer, warmer sweetness than white sugar, and gives it a denser texture
- two eggs: they should be at room temperature — just take them out of the fridge 30-60 minutes before you start.
- pure vanilla extract: this is the vanilla I use, but any good quality pure vanilla should work.
- mashed bananas: should equal about 3/4 cup.
- vegetable oil: replaces butter to give the cake richness but keep it from drying out. I usually opt for canola oil in recipes like these.
- buttermilk: Perfect for adding a bit more tanginess and making a tender cake. This should also be room temperature. I prefer whole milk buttermilk, but low-fat is fine also. If you don’t have buttermilk, here’s a handy method to make it at home!
- flour: I always measure out my flour to be sure the amount is accurate, but if you don’t have a kitchen scale, you’ll need to fluff or sift the flour and then spoon it into your measuring cup. BUT you should definitely consider getting a kitchen scale! They’re inexpensive and I use mine every day! Check out some of my other essential kitchen tools here.
- baking powder
And from there, this banana cake couldn’t be easier to whip up! Then it’s time for my favorite part: the brown butter cream cheese frosting. You know me — anything brown butter is impossible for me to resist! This brown butter cream cheese frosting is so easy to throw together, and it’s perfect to dollop on top of this banana cake!
You won’t need any special equipment for this easy banana cake, but it will help to have either a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip up the brown butter cream cheese frosting. Here are a few tools I recommend:
Banana Cake Tips
Single layer cake
I love making single-layer cakes like this one, or like my Orange Rosemary Olive Oil Cake. You eliminate so many issues like evening out the batter in each pan, making sure each layer bakes evenly, stacking the layers neatly with the frosting, and doubling or tripling your frosting recipe to accommodate the whole cake. Not to mention, most of my cake-making occasions are for smaller groups, or for people who may be more health-conscious, so all that cake can sometimes go to waste! I’ve found that a single-layer 8-inch cake, while not always as impressive-looking as a layer cake, is perfect for almost any occasion.
That being said, this recipe would hold up well to being doubled and baked in two 8-inch cake pans. Just be careful to give each pan plenty of room in the oven. Let me know in the comments if you try this — I think this cake would be beautiful as a layer cake!
When you have some bananas you need to use up, the advice is usually banana bread — which is a great option. But if you also have the fixings for a tangy, nutty brown butter cream cheese frosting, it would be a shame to miss the opportunity for a rich, moist banana cake! And with a banana cake recipe that’s so easy, you’re just a few whisks away from a delicious dessert worthy of any celebration. Or it’s perfect as just a sweet treat at home!
For this recipe, you need overripe bananas — that is, bananas with lots of dark spots and bruising. The more brownness on your banana, the sweeter they’ll be when you add them to the recipe. And pro-tip: if you have bananas that aren’t quite at that point yet, there are a few shortcuts to get them to ripen in just minutes!
Once you have your bananas ready to go, you’re ready to make this delicious banana cake!
But for the ultimate brown butter snack fix, you have got to try my brown butter white chocolate Rice Krispie treats! They’ve got rich, nutty brown butter and white chocolate ganache mixed right in, and they come together in just minutes!
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper.
- In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, beat sugar, eggs, banana, and vanilla for one minute.
- Mix in vegetable oil and buttermilk until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- Gently fold flour mixture into wet ingredients until just combined.
- Pour into prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick entered into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool in pan for about 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- Prepare brown butter as directed in my How to Brown Butter post. Cool until solid.
- Once cooled, cream butter in a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer for about a minute, being sure to scrape the bowl as needed.
- Add remaining frosting ingredients and beat for 5 minutes.
- Spread over cooled cake.
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