This Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is my go-to recipe for this classic treat. Made with sour cream, so it's always moist and topped with a generous layer of cream cheese frosting.
Everyone needs a go-to banana cake recipe and this is mine. I actually made this particular cake before Christmas, to deal with some over-ripe bananas, but it got lost in all the Christmas posts. So I'm just going to quietly put this one out here now. With apologies to anyone on a New Year diet.
There's nothing fancy about this banana cake, but it's everything you expect a banana cake to be. Lots of banana flavour in a moist, but not too dense cake. And of course, on top is a generous layer of cream cheese icing, because it's just ... well, the icing on the cake!
I garnished my cake with some chopped walnuts, since I happened to have some around left-over from holiday baking. You can skip if you like, or use pecans instead, if you like them better. I have always loved the slightly bitter flavour of walnuts with the sweet icing myself.
Cook's Notes for Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Be sure to have your ingredients at room temperature, as noted in the recipe. This is particularly true for the frosting. Take your cream cheese out of the fridge well ahead, to be sure it has time to come to room temperature. It won't whip up well if it's cold (it will be lumpy).
Starting with really over-ripe bananas will create the most banana flavour in this cake, so be patient and wait until they are good and dark.
And no, it's not a typo. It really does bake at 300 degrees F. As for baking time, use it a rough guide. Simply bake it until it tests clean with a cake tester, as long as that takes :) Some bakers have had to bake up to 1 hour and 50 minutes. So be patient and test the center regularly after about 80 minutes.
Observant readers may note that I scored the top of my frosting in to "slices". I kind of like the look. If you'd like to do that, simply score the top of the frosting into triangle-shaped "slices" by running your knife from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock, then from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock, then finally score each of the quarters into 3 slices, for a total of 12 "slices". Again, I'm just scoring the very top of the frosting, not actually cutting in to the cake. I then scatter the walnuts in to the "slices". It's a little thing, but it looks pretty and actually helps with me with portion control, so I'm not tempted to take an overly generous slice :)
Simply Perfect Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3/4 cup butter (at room temperature)
- 2 cups white sugar
- ½ cup sour cream (full fat recommended)
- 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 2 large bananas)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup milk (at least 2%)
For Cream Cheese Icing (for 10-inch round cake. See recipe below re 9x13 amounts):
- 6 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 3 Tbsp butter (at room temperature)
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 2 1/4 cups icing/confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
- For the cake: Preheat oven to 300 F.
- Grease an 10-inch round springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. (Alternately, you can bake this as a 9x13 cake. It will be a little shorter and will bake in the 60-65 minute range. You may want to up the frosting amounts to 8 oz. cream cheese/4 Tbsp butter/ 2 tsp vanilla and 3 cups icing sugar, if you want a nice thick layer of frosting).
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the sour cream and mashed bananas and mix until combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the side of the bowl, as needed. Stir in vanilla.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until thoroughly mixed.
- Add the flour mixture to the batter in three additions, alternating with the milk in between flour additions, until all is added and just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake cake in preheated oven for anywhere from 1 hour and 20 minutes - 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (test and be sure!). Remove from oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes, then cover the top with aluminum foil and place in to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or until completely cool.
- For the frosting: In a medium bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter. Add the vanilla and icing sugar and beat until smooth and glossy.
- Remove cake from refrigerator and remove the foil from the top. Spoon the prepared frosting on top of the cake and spread completely over the top in an even layer. Sprinkle top with finely chopped walnuts, if using. Gently run a knife around the edge of the pan, then loosen the outer ring of the springform pan. Carefully run a knife around under the cake, between the ring bottom and the parchment paper. When loosened, slide the cake, still with the parchment on the bottom, onto a serving platter.
- Can be stored at room temperature or the fridge.