Banana Cake with Cream Cheese or Brown Butter Frosting {You Pick}

banana sheet cake from Our Best BitesSo a couple of years ago when Sara and I were doing Time Out for Women, we got to be good friends with so many of the other presenters and behind-the-scenes people, especially the ones we were frequently traveling with. We kept hearing about Brooke Stone’s legendary banana cake,who sings in a group called Mercy River.

So after a couple of years of all the banana cake talk, I awkwardly requested the banana cake recipe. Turns out Sara did the same thing, so it’s good we’re on the same page here.

It was everything I was hoping for in a banana cake–light and fluffy and moist and banana-y. I topped it with cream cheese frosting, but the whole time, I was wishing I had frosted half of it in the brown butter frosting from this snack cake. I like options.

That said, according to Sara and the instructions, this cake is heavy and dense like banana bread. That wasn’t my experience at all–it was like the lightest, fluffiest, moistest cake in the world. And I liked it that way, so I’m gonna roll with it. I’m going to try and re-create every little thing I did to (unintentionally) procure the moistest and fluffiest cake in all the land.

You’re going to need 1 1/2 cups of mashed, very ripe bananas (the riper the better), 3/4 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature, 2 cups + 2 tablespoons white sugar, 3 room temperature eggs, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 3 cups flour, very lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled with a knife, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 1/2 cups buttermilk at room temperature, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

banana sheet cake ingredients

Grease a 9×13″ baking pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mash the banana

mashed banana

and mix it with the lemon juice. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix flour and baking soda.

In large bowl, mix butter and sugar on high speed for about 90 seconds-2 minutes or until light and fluffy.

butter and sugar

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing in completely after each addition. Add vanilla. Add ½ flour mixture, followed by ½ the buttermilk. Mix until just incorporated, then repeat with remaining flour mixture and buttermilk. Don’t overmix! Add bananas. Pour into prepared 9×13 pan

banana sheet cake batter

and bake for 35-50 minutes (mine was perfect right at 38 minutes, but my oven bakes fast), or until toothpick comes out clean.

banana sheet cake

Cool completely, then frost with cream cheese frosting or brown butter frosting (frosting recipe follows the cake recipe).

banana snack cake with cream cheese or brown butter frosting from Our Best Bites



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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. This cake was delicious! I followed the directions exactly and it turned out great! It baked really quickly – mine was done at about 34 minutes, so you might want to watch it closely. Thank you for such a great recipe!

  2. I have made this now twice and it is delicious! The first time I made my own buttermilk, see above comment, then followed the other directions exactly and it turned out perfectly. The second time I used 1/2 buttermilk and 1/2 regular milk (because I didn’t have very much buttermilk) and it still turned out great! I also put it in a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper instead of a 9×13 (just interested). It was the perfect size and the parchment paper helps it release easily. I baked it at 350 for about 22 minutes. It is about the thickness of a brownie.

  3. I made this yesterday and it tasted great! We didn’t even do frosting. I am an experienced baker and I swear I followed the recipe exactly–not alterations or substitutions but it overflowed a bit out of my Pyrex glass 9×13. I will make it again, though, and just use my slightly bigger lasagna pan. Delicious!

  4. My family has been making banana cake for years… At my brothers birthday parties they would tell their friends that it was ROTTEN banana cake so that there would be more left over:). We always did ours with a buttermilk frosting and it is heavenly.

    1. You can use regular milk and “make it” buttermilk by adding 1 TB vinegar or lemon juice for each 1 c. milk. I did that the first time I made this cake a few weeks ago and it turned out great!

  5. Wow, this was good! I’m not usually into banana stuff, but I can’t stop eating this. I subbed in whole wheat flour for a third of the white, because I like the taste, and it was very moist, although probably not as light as with white. Not being too into frosting on things, I only made a small portion of the brown butter frosting (although I used canned milk rather than cream since I didn’t have any), and as soon as I tasted it, I wished I’d made twice as much! Thanks for the great recipes!

  6. ok, I went back and read the recipe again, because my cake turned out like a cross between gum and a wet sponge. I think the part where it says “don”t overmix!” might be important! But the flavor was amazing. Loved the lemon. Can’t wait to try this again.

    1. ok, I went back and tried this again…and again…and again. It turned out wonderfully light and delicious after that first mess-up. My main problem is catching the bananas at the right ripeness. They’re either green, or the creature from the black lagoon.

  7. My family has this recipe (minus the lemon juice). What we like to do is poke it full of holes when it’s warm and pour a powdered sugar glaze over it. Definitely want to try with the brown butter frosting!

  8. Yes, ditto Brooke. I stole it off a public Facebook convo where I saw Brooke give it to Cheri!

  9. I LOVE that you posted this!! But it was actually the other way around–I gave it to Cherie…she hates cooked bananas.. 😉 And it is rather dense for me too, but that’s one of the things I love most about it! I am DEFINITELY going to try that browned butter frosting stat. Also have you tried it cold yet? Heaven help me. Thanks for sharing the love!

    1. I don’t know why I thought it was the other way around! I’m so sorry! I’m a jerk. I fixed it. 🙂

  10. So glad you posted this! My soon to be 5 yr old daughter requested a banana cake with pink strawberry frosting and My Little Ponies on it. I was afraid I’d end up with something like banana bread. You saved me a ton of trouble! Woohoo! Can’t wait to make this in a couple days!

  11. Thanks so much for sharing! This sounds delicious!
    I pinned to my dessert board.

  12. I love love love the comment of why Becky would rather call it snack cake. She made me laugh! I am going to have to still that concept! I am going to have to try this and see what side of the light or heavy side my rendering produces. I would be happy with either, but it would be more fun to have light a fluffy, because there are banana bread consistency recipes galore.

  13. Looks delicious! The recipe I use from Allrecipes is almost identical to this (not quite as much vanilla and lemon juice) but you cook the cake at 275 degrees for 1+ hour and then immediately place the cake in the freezer for 45 minutes. It is moist and delicious every.single.time. Those who find the cake dry or dense and heavy like banana bread may want to use this method.

  14. This looks delicious!

    Plus, I like it when a cake is called a “snack cake,” because I feel like I can justify eating it more regularly as a snack and not leave it in the Dessert Only category 🙂

  15. You’ve joined the banana cake bandwagon! It’s funny yours turned out light fluffy, the one my friend makes is basically banana bread with frosting. So good, either way.