Channeling the ever-popular Sara Lee cake, this iced banana cake is topped with a luscious fresh banana buttercream frosting.

Slice of iced banana cake on plate with fork.

If you have fond memories of enjoying the Sara Lee cake of the same name, you’ll be transported back with one bite of this delicious cake. The fresh banana buttercream icing is the perfect complement to the moist, delicious banana cake!

What you’ll need

Bananas – For the best flavour, start with ripe, well-spotted bananas. You will need 3 bananas in total – two for the cake and one for the icing.

Buttermilk – I always suggest using real buttermilk when possible. If you can’t, you can substitute regular milk that has been soured with lemon juice or white vinegar. For the 1/3 cup required for the base recipe, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1/3 cup of regular milk.

Brown Sugar – You can use either light or dark brown sugar. I generally use light brown sugar.

Lemon Juice – You can use either freshly squeezed lemon juice or lemon juice from a bottle. If you don’t have lemon juice on hand, you can omit it.

Butter – you can use salted or unsalted butter. Simply adjust the amount of added salt accordingly as detailed in the Recipe Card.

You will also need – all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, vanilla, egg, icing/confectioners’ sugar –

How to make Iced Banana Cake

Adding flour mixture to the batter.
1
Adding the milk to the batter.
2
Finished batter in mixing bowl.
3
  1. Cream together the butter and both sugars. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternately with the buttermilk.
  2. Add the buttermilk in two additions with the flour mixture.
  3. Stir in the mashed bananas and lemon juice.
Batter added to the prepared baking pan.
4
Adding the icing sugar to the icing mixture in a mixing bowl.
5
Icing spooned on top of the cooled cake.
6
  1. Spread the batter into a prepared 8×8-inch baking pan. Bake and allow to cool completely before icing.
  2. Make the icing by combining all the ingredients and beating until light and fluffy.
  3. Spoon the icing onto the cooled cake and spread to cover evenly.

Recipe tips!

  • It’s often tempting to rush the icing stage (to get to the eating :) but for best results, be sure the cake is completely cool before making and icing the cake. Even the slightest bit of warmth will melt the icing.
  • To really channel the Sara Lee cake, use an icing spatula with a rounded end. Once the icing is spread, run the rounded end through the icing in parallel lines, leaving a ridge of icing between the lines.
  • If you are a lover of sweet and salty, try sprinkling a bit of flakey salt (such as Maldon’s) on top of the icing!
  • For a less-sweet icing, reduce the icing sugar to make more of a thick glaze. It’s not as pretty, but it will be less sweet over-all.
  • Need to feed a crowd? Double the recipe and bake it in a 9×13-inch pan.
Iced banana cake slice on plate with fork.

Storing and freezing

I like to store this cake covered in the refrigerator, as it keeps longer and I enjoy eating it cold. It should keep well in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

For longer storage, cut into serving pieces and freeze in an airtight container. To enjoy, simply remove a piece and allow it to thaw at room temperature for 1-2 hours.

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Slice of iced banana cake on plate with fork.

Get the Recipe: Iced Banana Cake

Channeling the ever-popular Sara Lee cake, this iced banana cake is topped with a fresh banana buttercream frosting.
5 stars from 2 ratings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cooling Time:: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and levelled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, well-shaken *see Note 1 below for DIY buttermilk
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

For the banana buttercream icing:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups icing/confectioners' sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350F (regular bake setting/not fan-assisted). Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan, then line it with a sheet of parchment paper that covers the bottom and two sides, extending over the top of the pan slightly. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine well then set aside.
  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat it in well. Mix in the vanilla.
  • Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk until combined. Stir in the mashed bananas and lemon juice.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread to level.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden on top, the sides of the cake have pulled away from the side of the pan and a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before topping with icing. Tip! Make sure the cake is cooled completely! Even the slightest bit of warmth in the cake will melt the icing. You can refrigerate the cake in the pan to cool it more quickly.
  • When the cake is completely cool, prepare the icing. Using a bowl and an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat together the butter, banana and lemon juice on medium speed until well combined. With the mixer on low, add the icing sugar and mix in, then increase the speed of the mixer to medium and mix until light and fluffy. Tip! You can adjust the consistency of the icing by adding additional icing sugar (if too thin) or a splash of milk (if too thick). You want the icing to be spreadable, but thick enough to hold its shape.
  • With the cake still in the pan, spread the icing onto the cooled cake. For a pretty presentation, use an icing spatula and run the rounded end through the icing in parallel lines, leaving a ridge in between the lines.
  • I like to cover and refrigerate the cake in the pan at this point. I enjoy this cake cold from the fridge and it also keeps longer if refrigerated. For longer storage, cut into squares and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the cake slices at room temperature for about 1 hour to enjoy.

Notes

Note 1: I always suggest using real buttermilk when possible. If you can’t, you can substitute regular milk that has been soured with lemon juice or white vinegar. For the 1/3 cup required for the base recipe, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to 1/3 cup of regular milk and let stand for 10 minutes.
If you are a lover of sweet and salty, try sprinkling a bit of flaky salt (such as Maldon’s) on top of the icing.
For a less-sweet icing, reduce the icing sugar to make more of a thick glaze. It’s not as pretty, but it will be less sweet overall.
Need to feed a crowd? Double the recipe and bake it in a 9×13-inch pan.
Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card for more tips on making this recipe. You’ll also find step-by-step photos that you might find helpful.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Dessert
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 394kcal, Carbohydrates: 75g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 47mg, Sodium: 265mg, Potassium: 183mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 55g, Vitamin A: 337IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 1mg
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Adapted from the Bite Me cookbook