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!
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
To make banana cake, you’ll need:
It doesn’t get much simpler than that!
Tips for baking with bananas
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.
3 very ripe bananas mashed = approximately 1 cup-Josie + Nina
How to make cake mix banana cake
- 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
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
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
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?
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Banana Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 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 aside3 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.
- 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.
About Lori Murphy
Lori has over 30 years in the food industry as a marketing strategist, culinary instructor and chef for three kids with discerning palates. As the chief content creator at Josie + Nina, Lori is dedicated to helping home cooks create food memories through fresh ingredients and Italian flavors.