Cake Mix Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

The easiest banana cake recipe you’ll ever make! Because you start with a cake mix, banana cake is perfect whether topped with a smooth and rich cream cheese frosting or a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Homemade doesn’t have to take all day!

overhead shot of frosted banana sheet cake pieces on plates with a cup of coffee.
Make a cake mix banana cake for your next party!

True story: Grandma Nina used to try and force beg me to eat bananas because “you need potassium, Lori.” (I was 10. What the heck kind of potassium did I need?) Now if Gram had made this cake mix banana cake?

I would have been a banana convert for life. And she would have loved how easy this banana cake recipe is.

What you need for banana cake

boxed cake mix in a white mixing bowl with a tray of eggs, bananas and a spoon of cinnamon on a wire rack and blue and white napkin
Ingredients for cake mix banana cake start with a cake mix and some ripe bananas!

To make banana cake, you’ll need:

  • Cake mix. Yellow cake mix is preferred. Read below about the difference between yellow and white cake mix.
  • Ripe bananas. The riper the better!
  • Cinnamon. Because with cinnamon, this cake doubles as a banana breakfast cake.

It doesn’t get much simpler than that!


Difference between yellow and white cake mix

It’s all about the eggs! A yellow cake mix calls for whole egg and white cake mix typically calls for egg whites only.


Tips for baking with bananas

piece of banana sheet cake on a black and white plate with a fork.
Save overripe bananas to make a simple banana cake with a box mix!

Using overripe bananas

When your bananas are pretty dark and spotty, that’s the time to bake with them. Or if you don’t have time to bake with them, you can freeze them for use in smoothies, pancakes, cakes, muffins or breads. And a potato masher does a beautiful job creating the perfect texture for baking.

Using frozen bananas in baking

  • Defrost frozen bananas overnight in the fridge, if possible. If not, defrost in the microwave, on low, in 30 second increments until thawed.
  • Do not add any of the excess liquid or water the frozen banana releases as it defrosts in baking as it could affect the outcome of your cake.

TIP

3 very ripe bananas mashed = approximately 1 cup

-Josie + Nina

How to make cake mix banana cake

potato masher standing up in a bowl of mashed bananas and a spoon of cinnamon in the foreground.
Mash bananas in a bowl.
stand mixer with cake mix and eggs and a cup of milk and mashed bananas in a bowl.
Follow the package directions for the boxed cake mix.
mixing bowl of banana cake batter with fresh mashed bananas inside and a small bowl of cinnamon and an empty bowl with a spatula.
Add the bananas and cinnamon to the cake mix batter.
uncooked banana cake batter in sheet pan with a spatula on a gray blue background.
Pour the banana cake batter into a 9×13″ sheet pan and bake.
  • Mash the bananas with a masher kitchen tool. I love this potato masher from Oxo and use it to mash avocado as well. (It’s ok if the bananas aren’t completely smooth).
  • Start with pouring your boxed cake mix into a bowl and add the wet ingredients.
  • Using a stand or hand mixer on medium, mix the cake according to the package but DON’T OVERMIX. Overmixing develops the gluten making for a super dense cake.
  • Add the mashed bananas stirring with a wooden spoon. Pour the cake into a prepared baking pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean.

How to get really moist banana cake

Place the cake in the freezer for 45 minutes right after baking for the best banana cake.

Boxed cake mix pro tips

frosted banana sheet cake with a piece taken out and one fork.

There are lots of professional bakers out there who regularly use boxed cake mixes. Super Moist is a fav of many professional chefs.

A few boxed cake tips from the pros:

  • substitute milk for water
  • substitute butter for oil
  • watch your baking time. Set your oven at least 5 minutes sooner than the box suggests and use your nose and cake tester to tell you when it’s done.

Best cream cheese icing for banana cake

Cream cheese frosting ingredients including butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla on a gray blue background.
closeup of cream cheese frosting in a mixing bowl with a black spatula.

To make a really creamy cream cheese frosting, you’ll need:

  • Cream cheese. Room temperature, please!
  • Plain powdered sugar
  • Unsalted butter. Also at room temperature
  • Vanilla extract. 100% vanilla – no imitation.

Hints for creamy and smooth cream cheese frosting

whole banana sheet cake with a spatula holding cream cheese frosting on it

There’s nothing worse looking at or eating a cake with bumpy cream cheese frosting. Here’s how to avoid lumps in your next batch of homemade frosting:

  • Sift or whisk your powdered sugar before using. Use a flour sifter for super airy results but if you don’t have one, you can use a whisk as well.
  • Set your creamed cheese and butter on the counter until it’s soft and reaches room temperature. It shouldn’t feel cold anywhere. Cold ingredients are the enemies to smooth homemade frosting.
  • Whip on high speed to quickly incorporate all the ingredients.
  • Cool your cake completely and use an icing spatula to frost your cakes for a smooth finish.

Storage and freezer suggestions

Store. Lightly cover any leftovers with a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Freezer. Unfrosted banana cake can be frozen up to 3 months, cooled, covered with plastic wrap and then double wrapped in foil.


Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


piece of banana sheet cake on a black and white plate with a fork.
5 from 7 votes

Banana Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Use a yellow cake mix to make an easy banana sheet cake. Topped with a smooth Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Servings 16
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Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 1 boxed yellow cake mix, I use Super Moist
  • 1 cup milk, can use water if necessary
  • cup butter, softened, can use oil as well
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed, approx 1 cup

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature,softened
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons milk, more if needed
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Follow the package directions to prepare the cake mix adding the mix and eggs (as recommended by the box directions) but use butter instead of oil and milk instead of water to a mixing bowl. Use the measurements for all the ingredients delineated by the package.
    1 boxed yellow cake mix, 1 cup milk, 1/3 cup butter
  • Mix either with a hand mixer, whisk or stand mixer on medium for 2 minutes until thoroughly combined. Don't overmix to avoid making too dense of a cake.
  • Add cinnamon and mix. Then add mashed bananas in by hand with a wooden spoon. Again, don't overmix.
    1 teaspoon cinnamon, 3 ripe bananas
  • Pour cake mix into a prepared 9×13" pan, spreading to even out.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes until cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and place the cake in the freezer for 45 minutes. Trust me – this will make the cake very moist. Remove from the freezer and finish cooling on a rack before frosting.

For Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Read all the instructions below thoroughly before starting.
  • In a medium bowl. whisk or sift the powdered sugar until fluffy and almost no lumps remain. Set aside
    3 cups powdered sugar
  • Add butter and cream cheese to a different mixing bowl and cream them together with a hand or stand mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium high. Stop to scrape down the sides as needed.
    1/2 cup butter, 8 ounces cream cheese
  • Alternate adding powdered sugar with milk to the cream cheese/butter mix, ending with the milk and stopping the mixer in-between additions, Mix on low and ramp up to medium high with each addition (this is to avoid a big mess…you're welcome).
    2 Tablespoons milk
  • Add more milk or powdered sugar as needed to achieve the desired spreading consistency.
  • Add vanilla and the pinch of salt at the end.
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Plop large spoonfuls of frosting equally across the cooled cake and spread an even layer of frosting using an flat icing spatula.

Notes

  • Don’t skip the freezing step to cool the cake. This makes for a really moist cake.
  • Make sure to have your frosting ingredients at room temp for smooth frosting.
  • Double the frosting as needed for larger or layer cakes.
Course: brunch, Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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8 Comments

  1. Oh my delish…this was wonderful. Passed tense cuz I ate every piece that you gave to me. I can’t wait to make it and plan to do so this weekend when I’m with my Mom in Michigan. I believe this to have healing powers……
    Thank you so very much!
    Bonny5 stars

    1. Hi Bonnie – great question – I’ve not tried that but I don’t see why not. It may result in a slightly thicker batter but I think buttermilk would add such a nice tang to the recipe. If you try it, please let me know how it works! Thank you!

  2. HI Lori !!
    I absolutely LOVE banana cake! But I once had a delicious cake like banana cookie with frosting; wish I had gotten the recipe. I was wondering if you know a delicious banana cookie recipe with frosting? Just curious, as I would love to try making it. Anyway, I hope you are all safe and healthy!! Thanks, Jill Griffin.

    P.S. Hope to see you again soon 🙂

    1. Hey Jill!! Ooo – I’ll have to go on the hunt for you for a banana cookie! Or I’ll have to make one 😉. I have an oatmeal cookie base coming out this summer and maybe I’ll try adding banana to it bc I think that combo wld be so good! Hope you are well! And yes…hope to see you soon too!