This easy banana cake recipe is tender and loaded with flavor. Finish with a fluffy cream cheese frosting for an extra treat.
There’s so much to love about this easy banana cake recipe. It only requires one bowl. You don’t need to soften butter (the recipe calls for oil, giving the cake a soft and delicate texture.) And it’s finished with a lovely cream cheese frosting. If you’ve got overripe bananas on the counter and want something “a little different” than banana bread, try this cake.
Banana Cake vs Banana Bread: What’s the Difference?
Good question! While the flavors are similar, there are differences between banana bread and banana cake. Banana cake is similar to yellow cake or chocolate cake. It’s light, sweet, and great for birthdays. Banana bread has a denser crumb and is less sweet than banana cake.
Easy Banana Cake: Important Ingredients
You don’t need any special ingredients for this simple cake. Here are the key players.
Really Ripe Bananas. The backbone of this recipe is overripe bananas. Let your bananas get nice and brown with black spots. The darker the bananas, the more pronounced the banana flavor in the cake. You’ll need two to three overripe bananas (about one cup of mashed bananas).
Granulated Sugar. While I love brown sugar banana bread, this recipe uses regular granulated sugar.
Eggs. Two eggs give the cake body and a tender crumb.
All-purpose flour. Regular all-purpose flour works great in this cake. There’s no need to use cake flour. (If that’s all you have in the kitchen, go ahead and use it!)
Canola Oil. Using oil in this recipe is not only easy, but it also makes for a moist and tender cake. Melted and cooled butter can be substituted for the oil. However, you’ll get a better result using oil.
Baking Powder and Baking Soda. The combination of baking powder and baking soda gives the cake lift and helps it to brown.
Cinnamon and Vanilla. A little ground cinnamon and some vanilla extract adds flavor.
Cream Cheese Frosting. To finish the cake, make a simple cream cheese frosting. All you need are cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla. If you don’t like cream cheese frosting, top the cake with vanilla or chocolate butter. Or skip the frosting altogether!
How to Make an Easy Banana Cake
Heat the Oven and Prep Your Pan.
Before you begin measuring ingredients and mixing the batter, preheat the oven. Baking a cake in a preheated oven ensures the best rise.
Use either an 8×8-inch square or a 9×9-inch square pan for this recipe. Grease it generously with nonstick cooking spray or grease the pan with shortening and dust with flour.
I have a nonstick pan. Do I need to grease it?
Yes. To prevent the cake from sticking, grease your pan, even if it’s nonstick.
Make the Batter
- Mash the bananas. Start by mashing the bananas. I like to use my mixer for this. Simply place the bananas into your mixing bowl and mix on medium-low speed. Mash until only a few lumps remain.
- Add the sugar, eggs, and oil. Once you’ve mashed the bananas, add the sugar, eggs, and oil and mix until smooth.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Stop the mixer and add the remaining ingredients. Mix until the batter is smooth. This takes about 45 seconds.
Bake the Cake
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, this takes about 25 minutes. The top of the cake will look very brown. This is normal.
Cool and Frost
Let the cake cool in the pan. This takes about an hour or so. Once it’s cool, make the cream cheese frosting and spread it onto the cake. That’s it!
How to Store
Keep this cake covered on the counter for up to four days. Or freeze the cooled and frosted cake for up to two months.
Easy Banana Cake
This one bowl banana cake recipe makes a delicate and flavorful cake. Frost with fluffy cream cheese frosting for an extra treat.
- 2-3 large ripe bananas, about one cup mashed (8 ounces; 227 grams, mashed)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (5 ¼ ounces; 148 grams)
- ⅓ cup canola oil (2 ⅓ ounces; 66 grams)
- 2 large eggs (about 2 ounces; 56 grams out of shell)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (4 ½ ounces; 127 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup cream cheese softened, (4 ounces; 113 grams)
- ¼ cup butter softened (2 ounces; 56 grams)
- 2 cups powdered sugar (8 ounces; 226 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Prepare the Cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×9-inch square (or 8×8-inch square) pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease with solid shortening and dust lightly with flour.
Mash the bananas in a large bowl until almost smooth. (Use an electric mixer, fork, or potato masher to mash the bananas.) Add the sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until smooth.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until smooth.
Spread batter into pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Cool cake completely in the pan, about two hours.
Prepare the Frosting. Beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy. If the frosting seems too stiff (thick) add one teaspoon of milk.
Spread frosting on cooled cake. Store cake covered on the counter for up to four days or freeze for up to two months.