Plush, tender, and speckled with the sweet, fruity taste of ripe bananas, this easy Banana Cake recipe boasts old-fashioned flavor, slathered in a dream of cream cheese frosting.

a slice of easy moist banana cake on a plate with fork

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While I’m all for a scrumptious loaf of Healthy Banana Bread, it’s not the kind of thing you can put candles on with the same festive air as you can a mega-moist, frosting-slathered cake.

When the occasion calls for dessert—be it a birthday, a dinner invitation to a friend’s, or a potluck when you want to bring everyone’s favorite dish—this easy moist banana cake delights.

It’s homey and familiar—the kind of dessert your grandmother would make—but also a little unexpected. The perfect treat to share.

slices of a light and fluffy banana cake recipe with cream cheese icing and toasted coconut

5 Star Review

“Made this banana cake with my nieces and it is off the charts good! The combination of banana and toasted coconut is to die for!”

— Lisa —

While I am the #1 fan of this layer cake’s pillowy texture and how sweetly the banana shines, let’s be honest here.

It’s just as much (more?) about that cream cheese frosting.

If you’re wondering what frosting for banana cake is best, it is a rich and creamy cream cheese icing.

The tang is delightful with banana (just ask this Cream Cheese Banana Bread).

Simple cream cheese icing might just 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.

a slice of old fashioned bana cake that is light, fluffy, and moist

How to Make the Best Banana Cake

Banana cake with cream cheese frosting is one of the richest, most moist cakes I have ever baked (this Lemon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting is a close second).

And it is EASY.

Made in a single bowl with healthy swaps, such as whole-wheat pastry flour and light cream cheese in the frosting, this is one banana cake you’ll want to snag a second slice of before it’s gone.


The Ingredients

  • Banana. The mashed bananas give a wonderful sweetness, true fruit flavor, and tenderness to the cake. (If you love banana treats, try these Banana Bread Brownies next).
  • Flour. To add some extra fiber, iron, and whole grain goodness to this cake, I’ve swapped half the all purpose flour for whole wheat pastry flour (just like in this Healthy Carrot Cake). It’s lighter than regular whole wheat flour so it doesn’t make the cake overly dense or stodgy.

Substitution Tip

If you don’t keep whole wheat pastry flour stocked, you can also make this cake exclusively with all purpose flour or use white whole wheat flour.

  • Sugar. A combination of granulated white sugar and brown sugar sweeten the cake, add extra moisture, and make it tender.
  • Eggs. Soften the cake and help it rise.
  • Oil. While I love a nice cake made with butter (hello, Lemon Poppy Seed Cake), I opted to make this banana cake with oil to give it as much moisture as possible and let that banana flavor shine.
  • Buttermilk. Gives this cake a lovely subtle tang (like in this Buttermilk Cake).

Ingredient Note

If you do not have (or do not want to purchase buttermilk), you can make your own instead. To make homemade buttermilk, mix 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice with 1/2 cup of 2% or whole milk. Let sit for 5 minutes, stir, then use as directed in the recipe.

  • Baking Soda + Baking Powder. Our leaveners that give this cake its lovely high rise and contribute to its light and fluffy texture.
  • Sweetened Coconut. A sprinkle of toasted coconut on top of the cream cheese frosting adds a touch of crunch and nod to the tropics. Could top with chopped walnuts as well.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting. Made with light cream cheese to make this cake a little less indulgent and mixed with butter, powdered sugar, and a few drops each of vanilla and almond extract, this skinny cream cheese frosting is proof of pure goodness in the world.
a frosted old fashioned banana cake with cream cheese frosting with slices cut

The Directions

  1. Preheat your oven and grease and line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
beating together the wet ingredients for a moist banana cake recipe
  1. Mash the bananas and whisk in the wet ingredients, except for the buttermilk.
a mixing bowl of banana cake batter
  1. In a separate small bowl, mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then gradually fold them into the banana mixture with the buttermilk.

TIP!

To keep this banana cake light and fluffy, take care to not overmix the batter. A few lumps and bumps are totally fine.

banana cake batter in a two 9 inch cake pans before baking
  1. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans.
a freshly baked healthy banana cake cooling on a wire rack
  1. Bake until the tops spring back lightly when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.
toasting coconut in a skillet
  1. Toast the coconut.

TIP!

The total time it takes to toast the coconut will vary depending upon the sugar content of the coconut. Watch the pan carefully to prevent burning.

beating a simple cream cheese frosting together in a mixing bowl
  1. Beat together the cream cheese frosting ingredients until smooth.
spreading a banana cake with cream cheese frosting
  1. Assemble the cake by frosting the layers with the cream cheese frosting. Top generously with toasted coconut. Slice and ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • 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 container that is freezer-safe 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.
a moist banana cake recipe sliced on a plate with a bite taken out of it

What to Serve with Banana Cake

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Mixing Bowls. I love the varying sizes of this nested set of glass mixing bowls. They’re my favorite for everyday baking.
  • 9-Inch Round Cake Pan. This trusty pan has never failed me. From Strawberry Cake to Mocha Cake, they can do it all.
  • Wooden Spoons. No need for a stand mixer with this easy banana cake recipe. This is one cake I like to mix the old-fashioned way by hand.

The Best Hand Mixer

If you prefer a hand mixer, this Kitchen Aid hand mixer has worked like a charm for me! Lock the cord to the side, and enjoy lots of fun color options.

A slice of fluffy banana cake with toasted coconut frosting

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

a two-layer banana cake with coconut nad cream cheese frosting on a stand

Your ripe bananas are awaiting their true calling: to be baked into easy moist banana cake!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make a Banana Sheet Cake With This Recipe?

Absolutely! To bake this recipe as a banana sheet cake, spread the batter into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. You may need to extend the bake time by a few minutes, so keep an eye on it.

Can I Make Banana Cake Gluten Free?

I have never made this banana cake gluten free before, however, several readers have reported success doing so by swapping the flour for their favorite 1-to-1 gluten free baking mix.

Can I Make this Banana Cake with Cake Flour?

While I have not tried making this banana cake with cake flour before, I suspect it could be done. It will have a less sturdy texture, since there is less protein in cake flour than all-purpose flour.

a slice of old fashioned bana cake that is light, fluffy, and moist

Banana Cake

5 from 6 votes
The BEST moist banana cake recipe. This light and fluffy banana cake with cream cheese frosting and coconut is perfect for birthdays. So easy!

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 2 hrs 30 mins

Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients
  

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:

  • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cups flaked sweetened coconut

Instructions
 

  • 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 prepared pans.
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the top of the cakes 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 the parchment paper and let cool completely.
  • While the cakes cool, toast the 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 until the coconut is a light, toasty brown and your kitchen smells amazing; about 3-5 minutes. Remove coconut immediately to a plate once ready. Let cool. Note the total time to toast the coconut will vary depending upon the sugar content of the coconut. Watch the pan carefully to prevent burning.
  • To prepare the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy in a large bowl. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and then reduce the speed to low. 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.

Notes

  • 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.
  • *INGREDIENT NOTE: If you do not have (or do not want to purchase buttermilk), you can make your own instead. To make homemade buttermilk, mix 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice with 1/2 cup of 2% or whole milk. Let sit for 5 minutes, then use as directed in the recipe.
  • 6-INCH CAKE: The above recipe yields two 9-inch rounds. To make a smaller batch, you may halve the recipe, then baked in two 6-inch baking pans instead. Reduce the baking time to 18 minutes. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 12)Calories: 493kcalCarbohydrates: 83gProtein: 6gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 48mgPotassium: 280mgFiber: 3gSugar: 62gVitamin A: 279IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 1mg

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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 wellplated.com 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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18 Comments

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  1. THIS IS MY FIRST TIME ON YOUR BLOG AND I MADE THE BANANA COCNUT CAKE. IT CAME OUT SO MOIST AND DELICIOUS….AND WHEN I SAW YOU USED CREAM CHEESE FROSTING WHICH IS MY FAVORITE, I KNEW THIS CAKE WOULD BE GREAT!!!!!5 stars

    1. HUZZAH!!!!!! Aida, this is one of my all-time favorite cakes, and I’m so excited that you loved it too! Cream chese frosting is where it’s at. Thanks so much for trying the recipe and for taking time to leave your review. You rock my socks!

  2. I am making this as we speak for Easter and I can’t wait to eat it with family tomorrow. Quick question – since I am making it a day ahead, should I keep it in the fridge overnight? I don’t know if it’s best to keep the cream cheese frosting cold. 

    Thanks! 

    1. Carin, i’m so excited that you are making this cake and I hope you love it! I would definitely refrigerate overnight (and go ahead and refrigerate the leftovers too.) You maybe can get away without plastic wrap, but I would cover it just to be safe.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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!