Last Wednesday, I turned 27, accepted the fact that I simultaneously have subtle wrinkles and not-so-subtle zits, ran out of fingers counting my blessings, and baked myself a big, beautiful Banana Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.

Banana Cake with Toasted Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting served on a plate

I don’t know at what age it becomes inappropriate to a) open all of your birthday cards at the breakfast table with self-appointed pomp and ceremony or b) insist on birthday cake, but 27 is not it. From Ben surprising me with flowers, to the wonderful friends and family who mailed cards, to the barrage of Facebook wall-post love, my birthday left me with a happy case of the warm fuzzies. Treating myself to unnecessarily large cheese and chocolate croissants didn’t hurt either. Not that I’m spoiled or anything…

A photo of red roses next to a photo of a pastry and Starbucks coffee

Growing up, my Grammy would fix the “birthday person” whatever dessert she desired on her special day, be it an outrageously complicated Baked Alaska (yes, I really did request this once), peach cobbler (my sister’s annual pick), or Boston Cream Pie (asked for that one too). Clearly, my birthday spoilage was engrained early.

Since moving away from home, I’ve extended my Grammy’s tradition by baking birthday treats for friends. Ben, a traditionalist, always chooses classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting, but I’ve honored requests for sweets that range from pumpkin pie to funfetti cookies. Don’t even attempt to tell me not to bake anything; I never miss a good excuse to eat dessert.

Especially if that dessert is banana cake with coconut cream cheese frosting.

A slice of banana cake with frosting on a white plate

I had almost as much dreaming up this birthday cake as I did eating it. Though I’m typically a chocolate-cake kind of lady, the tropical duo of banana and coconut wiggled into my sugar-sensitive subconscious and refused to budge. “Birthday?” crooned banana. “You know we like to party,” finished coconut. The two did not disappoint. My taste buds danced like maniacs.

A photo of bananas next to a photo of shredded coconut

How to Make a Banana Cake from Scratch

If you don’t have three overly ripe bananas lying on your counter right now, you are far more organized in your fruit purchasing than myself. You also need to run and buy a big ol’ banana bunch immediately. We need to bake this cake and get it into your mouth ASAP. Be sure to grab some cream cheese and coconut too. We’ll be topping our moist, rich banana cake with outta control toasted coconut cream cheese frosting. Make extra.

What do you put on a banana cake? Toasted coconut cream cheese frosting, of course! It might be the secret to happiness, the fountain of youth, and/or the road to El Dorado. Before you realize what’s happened, you’ll be licking the leftovers right out of the bowl. Maybe you’ll use a spoon. Maybe not. Whatever your method, I support you.

Banana cake with coconut cream cheese frosting is one of the most moist and flavorful cakes I have ever baked. And it is EASY. I made the cake batter in one bowl and didn’t even bother with a mixer. The mashed bananas give a wonderful sweetness, true fruit flavor, and tenderness to the cake; the toasted coconut cream cheese frosting is proof of pure goodness in the world.

In my usual style of developing healthier twists on comfort foods, I swapped some of the white flour for whole-wheat pastry flour and used light cream cheese in the frosting. Don’t worry. All you will taste is moist banana-coconut magnificence.

Three photos that show how to decorate banana cake with toasted coconut

How to Store Banana Cake

  • To Store. Cover the cake and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Freeze.Wrap the cake tightly, and place it in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving. If you plan to freeze the cake, wait to frost it until after you’ve thawed it.

More Delicious Banana Desserts

A slice of banana cake with toasted coconut frosting on a white plate


Banana cake is worthy of any occasion, be it a birthday celebration or a simple Tuesday night. After all, a marvelous, moist, and flavorful cake like this deserves a party any night of the year, as do we my friends.

Let’s bake banana cake with coconut cream cheese frosting just because life is sweet, and the sweet life calls for cake.

A slice of fluffy banana cake with toasted coconut frosting

Banana Cake with Toasted Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 7 votes
A lighter, healthier recipe for moist, rich banana cake topped with toasted coconut cream cheese frosting. This magnificent cake is easy to make, worthy of a special occasion, and no one will believe you used whole wheat flour.

Prep: 45 mins
Total: 2 hrs 30 mins

Servings: 12 servings


For the Banana Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk*

For the Toasted Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2/3 cup light 1/3 fat cream cheese (6 ounces) softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup flaked, sweetened baker’s coconut


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Whisk in the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and fold in by hand, just until combined. Gently stir in buttermilk. Fold in remaining dry ingredients, just until blended, being careful not to over mix. Divide batter evenly between the two pans.
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until cake tops spring back lightly when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Carefully peel off wax paper and set aside to cool completely.
  • Toast coconut: Heat a wide skillet over medium-low. Once the pan is heated, add the coconut in an even layer. Continually stir and fold over the coconut in the pan so that it cooks evenly. Continue to fold and turn until the coconut is a light, toasty brown and your kitchen smells amazing, 3-5 minutes (will vary depending upon the sugar content of the coconut). Watch the pan carefully to prevent burning, then remove coconut immediately to a plate once ready. Let cool.
  • Prepare frosting: In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts. Reduce speed to low, then gradually add the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating just until combined.
  • Once layers have cooled completely, assemble and frost layers with the cream cheese frosting. Top cake generously with toasted coconut. Slice and enjoy.


*Ingredient Note: If you do not have (or do not want to purchase buttermilk), swap sour milk instead: To make, mix 1 and 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice with 2% or whole milk. Let sit 5 minutes, then use in the recipe as directed.
*Serving Size Note: The above recipe yields two 9-inch rounds. To make a smaller batch, I halved the recipe, then baked in two 6-inch baking pans instead, reducing the baking time to 18 minutes. Choose whichever option yields the right amount for you.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Hi! Can I use cake flour for this recipe? I need to make a cake using cake flour for my school project but im afraid the texture wont be as good. Thanks! hope you’ll reply as youve post this a long time ago

    1. Hi Lenny, I have never made this with cake flour, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work! Good luck with your project.

    1. Carly, I am SO sorry about that and glad you commented! There was a weird technical glitch that made it not display. You should be able to see it now (if not, try clearing your browser cache).

  2. Delicious. My kids and I made for Fathers Day. I did it with gluten free flour mix and it was very good. I think it did not rise quite as much as it would have with non-GF flour but still really delicious. I may have eaten too much.5 stars

  3. My partner mentioned to me earlier on in our relationship that he loves banana cake so for his birthday, 2.5 months into dating, I made this. Has very quickly become his absolute favourite (and his colleagues’!).

    And I’ve made it at least 5 times in the last year!

    I may or may not have another one ready to be frosted on the kitchen counter as I type this. He brought home some overripe bananas from his office specifically for this cake hahaha! Safe to say, we are grateful for this recipe :D5 stars

  4. Great recipe! Although I tweaked the cake a bit – 1/2 almond flour 1/2 all purpose flour but it still came out wonderful. Also, with 2 cups of flour, I could get only an inch heightened 6 inch cake.
    But totally enjoyed the process of baking & will try again. I wish i could post a pic. Will follow more recipes from the website !!5 stars

  5. Made this banana cake with my nieces over the Memorial Day weekend and it is off the charts good! We haven’t even finished eating the first one and I may bake another one tomorrow! The combination of banana and toasted coconut is to die for! Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  6. This looks delicious. Could this be a 9×13 sheet cake? How long would it need to cook for? Thanks! I may make this this week. Mouth watering.

    1. Hi Tonya! I’ve only tested the recipe as written, so it would be an experiment to try it out in a 9×13 pan. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

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