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Very Moist Banana Cake – My Baking Addiction

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This super moist banana cake is topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting for a dessert or afternoon pick-me-up that’s impossible to beat. You’ll never believe the secret to this amazing cake: the freezer!

Slice of banana cake topped with cream cheese frosting on a speckled plate.

Let me start by saying I hate the word moist. Always have, always will. It’s one of those words that makes my nose wrinkle.

However, I must use the word moist throughout this post because, well, there is really no other way for me to describe this banana cake.

I have mentioned before that we have a problem with buying bananas and never eating them in their yellow state. 

Instead, I wait until they are a nice shade of rotten before contemplating their fate. Once they hit the stage just before “really probably ought to be thrown away,” I start searching.

Most of the time, I’ll whip up Dominique Ansel’s banana bread or my favorite banana crumb muffins, but occasionally I’ll reach deep into the archives and make the best banana cake I’ve ever had.

Halved slice of banana cake on a white plate. A bite has been taken from the corner of the cake and a fork is set on the edge of the plate.

THE SECRET TO A SUPER MOIST BANANA CAKE

The first time I shared this recipe with you was in 2008. 

I had only been blogging a few months at the time, but this banana cake has remained one of my favorite recipes for well over a decade now.

This recipe has an interesting preparation method. After you bake the cake at a low 275°F, you immediately chuck the cake into the freezer for 45 minutes.

Sliced banana cake in a cake pan.

Sound weird? Well, apparently this is what makes this cake so…well, moist! 

I’ve actually tested this cake recipe without using the freezer method to cool the cake, and there is definitely a noticeable difference in the texture of the cake. If you can spare the room in your freezer for 45 minutes, it’s totally the way to go.

The cream cheese frosting on top is to die for and adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the cake. 

If you have some browning bananas and are looking to make a delicious treat, look no further; this moist banana cake is a winner!

Mashed banana in a glass bowl.

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

This is a pretty straightforward cake recipe – aside from the freezer part, that is! Let’s walk through how to make it.

Ingredients you’ll need

Most of the ingredients for this cake are pretty standard and things that you’ll probably already have in your refrigerator and pantry. You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3-4 bananas)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Cake batter in a white mixing bowl next to a bowl of mashed bananas.

Just like with black magic cake or the best chocolate cake, buttermilk is a key ingredient in this recipe. 

Even though the freezer cooling method is a big part of what makes this cake so moist and incredible, the buttermilk helps there, too! It also keeps the cake tender and gives a nice bit of tang.

If you’re out of buttermilk, don’t worry. I’ve used my buttermilk substitute many times in this recipe and it works great.

I also recommend that you review how to measure flour properly to set yourself up for success from the start!

Banana cake batter spread into a cake pan, ready to be baked.

Making this cake

The first step to making this moist banana cake is to mash the bananas with the lemon juice. Set that aside for later.

Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and salt. Set that aside as well.

Using an electric mixer, go ahead and cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. This will take about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanillas.

Alternate adding the flour with the buttermilk. Add half of the flour, all of the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour. Finally, stir in the mashed bananas.

Add the batter to a greased and floured 13×9-inch cake pan and bake for about an hour. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan in the freeze for 45 minutes.

Baked and cooled banana cake on a wire rack.

Frosting options

I like to top my banana cake with a cream cheese frosting, similar to my pineapple cake. I think that cream cheese frosting goes so well with fruit-based cakes!

If you prefer less frosting on your cake, you can halve the amount of frosting quite easily.

If you don’t care for cream cheese frosting, you can use my buttercream frosting instead, or even just dust the cake generously with powdered sugar.

Bowl of cream cheese frosting set next to a baked banana cake.

MORE BANANA CAKE RECIPES

If you, like me, are always looking for ways to use up bananas that have gone way past their prime, I’ve got some more great banana cake recipes for you to check out:

Fork taking a bite from the corner of a slice of banana cake set on a speckled plate.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3-4 bananas)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.
  2. In a small bowl, mix mashed bananas with the lemon juice; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy; about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 teaspoons of vanilla.
  5. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour, until just combined. Stir in mashed bananas.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 60-75 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. This could take longer than 75 minutes depending on your oven.
  7. Remove from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake extremely moist.

Make the Frosting

  1. While the cake rests in the freezer, make the frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  2. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth.
  3. Spread over cooled cake. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes

    If you prefer less frosting, feel free to cut the frosting ingredients in half.

    If you’re out of buttermilk, don’t worry. I’ve used my buttermilk substitute many times in this recipe and it works great.

    I’ve tested this cake recipe without using the freezer method to cool the cake, and there is definitely a noticeable difference in the texture of the cake. If you can spare the room in your freezer for 45 minutes, you absolutely should.

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Nutrition Information

Yield 16

Serving Size 1 slice

Amount Per Serving

Calories 493Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 88mgSodium 323mgCarbohydrates 73gFiber 1gSugar 52gProtein 6g


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