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Banana Cake

This delicious Banana Cake is a crowd pleaser! It’s so soft and moist – and it’s a lower sugar recipe too. It’s equally tasty served naked for lunchboxes or dress it up for dessert with a delicious frosting. This is a simple, traditional recipe that is easy enough to bake with the kids. 

OK Banana Cake lovers…this cake is for you! It’s:

  • soft ✔️
  • moist ✔️
  • delicious ✔️

And this cake has such a great flavour. Creamy, banana-ery (🙃) with a hint of cinnamon. It’s also made with a lot less added sugar than some recipes which means that it’s an absolute winner for school lunches.

The key to baking this cake is to use extra ripe bananas which add maximum sweetness and flavour. If they are only just yellow – they are not ripe enough. You want bananas that are soft, vibrantly yellow and even mottled with brown spots. As bananas ripen, they get sweeter – and you want sweet bananas to elevate the flavour of this banana cake recipe. 

Cut banana cake on a plate with forks

And while I know popular memes would say that you guys HATE personal stories about recipes, allow me to digress for a quick moment…this cake truly makes me feel super nostalgic. Probably because banana cakes were the first cake I ever learnt to make growing up. And now my kids love making this cake too – the circle of life. OK, now I will move on…(that wasn’t too bad was it?!) 

Ingredients and substitutions

The best thing about banana cakes is they use standard pantry and refrigerator ingredients which you are likely to have at home already. You will need: 

  • Butter – adds a creaminess to the cake. You will need to soften the butter for this recipe. If your butter is hard from the fridge, grate it with a cheese grater to speed up the softening process. If you would prefer, you could substitute with a low flavoured extra virgin olive oil, however the taste will not be as flavourful. Also the cake will have a denser texture as creaming the butter and sugar aerate the mixture. So it might be preferable to use a quality dairy free table spread.  
  • Brown Sugar – I love the depth of flavour and softness that brown sugar adds to baking recipes so would recommend using brown sugar. You could use white sugar if you needed to, but the texture of the cake may differ. 
  • Caster Sugar – you can substitute with more brown sugar (preferably) for a similar textured cake or white sugar if required. 
  • Eggs – adds texture and moisture to this banana cake recipe. 
  • Milk –  in this recipe I heat the milk first and make a mixture with the baking soda which ensures the baking soda is properly dissolved. This is how I was taught to make banana cakes but I often see recipes without this step. Based on this, I am assuming these cakes work well without it…but I am going to stick to the old fashioned way.
  • Baking Soda – as above, I dissolve in heated milk which will activate the baking soda so when it’s added to the mixture it will distribute evenly. 
  • Overripe Bananas – this is one ingredient you just cannot substitute in this recipe. The key with this cake is to use extra ripe bananas so you get a flavourful and sweet cake. 
  • Vanilla Extract – use a quality extract as opposed to essence. Vanilla essence is artificially flavoured and highly processed. You could also use vanilla bean paste in this recipe.
  • Plain Flour – a refined all purpose flour. You could use wholemeal or a whole wheat flour but it would change the texture of the cake. 
  • Baking Powder – leavens the cake and ensure it rises. 
  • Cinnamon – adds a delicious warmth and brings out the sweet flavours in the recipe. You can also omit if you do not have any.  
  • Salt – is optional so just omit if you would prefer, but it will help to elevate the other flavours in the cake.

How do you make a banana cake? 

Banana Cakes have to be one of the easiest cakes you can make. Firstly, preheat your oven to 170c and grease and line a 20cm square cake tin. Mine is 20.4cm x 20.4cm x 7.8cm in dimensions. I like to use a square tin as it’s easier to portion if sending to school.

In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until the mixture is creamy and fluffy. This will take around 2 minutes. Then add in the eggs and mix with the electric beater again until combined. This will take less than a minute. The mixture will be aerated, soft and looks similar to a thick whipped cream.

pictures to illustrate creaming process in this banana cake recipe

In a small heatproof bowl or jug, heat the milk in the microwave until hot. Depending on your microwave this should take around 40 seconds. Add the baking soda and stir to dissolve. Add the baking soda mixture into the creamed mixture along with the bananas, cinnamon and vanilla extract and stir to combine. The texture of the mixture will look a little funny – but don’t worry…it will look much better following the next step.

Next add in the flour, baking powder and the salt (if using) and fold until just combined, taking care not to over-mix.   

Process shots for making the banana cake

Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and spread gently so it’s evenly covering the base of the pan.

Picture of prepared batter and cake batter in the pan

Cook at 170c on fan bake for around 40 minutes until just cooked through. Take care not to over-bake as this will dry out the cake. So keep an eye on your cake as all ovens bake differently! You will know the cake is done as a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake will come cleanly out and the sides of the cake have pulled away slightly from the pan. 

How do you store banana cakes? 

It is best to avoid refrigerating cakes because it will strip the moisture from the cake and make it dry. The best options are to store in an airtight container at room temperature, keeping it out of the sun. It should last for around 3 days at room temperature. You can also wrap tightly in cling film and freeze. This cake will store well frozen for around 2-3 months.

What icing goes with banana cake? 

There are so many frosting flavours that work well with banana cakes.

  • chocolate 
  • lemon
  • traditional cream cheese
  • cinnamon cream cheese

But this recipe is equally as delicious without any icing. Today I have made using a cinnamon cream cheese icing.

To make this icing, with an electric hand beater cream together 140g softened cream cheese and 1 tbsp softened butter with 2 1/2 cups of icing sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. You can add a splash of milk to loosen the mixture if needed. Please note the nutrition information below excludes icing. 

Iced Banana Cake

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Cut banana cake on a plate with forks

Banana Cake

  • Author: Bernadette - Goodie Goodie Lunchbox
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 16 slices 1x
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Western

Description

This delicious old fashioned Banana Cake is a crowd pleaser! It’s so soft and moist – and it’s a lower sugar recipe too. It uses simple ingredients and it’s an easy cake to make with kids. This recipe can be served with or without icing.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 115g softened butter
  • 100g (1/2 cup packed) brown sugar
  • 50g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large mashed bananas (or three small)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g (1 3/4 cups) plain all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 170c and grease and line a square baking tin (see note 1)
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a hand beater until the mixture is creamy and fluffy. This will take around 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the eggs and beat into the creamed butter to combine for around a minute. The mixture will look more like a thick whipped cream.
  4. Heat the milk in a microwave until quite warm – around 40 seconds. Then add the baking soda into the milk and stir to dissolve.
  5. Next add the milk and baking soda mixture along with the mashed bananas (see note 2) and the vanilla extract and cinnamon and mix again until well combined.
  6. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the wet ingredients and fold through until just combined, taking care not to over-mix.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and spread in an even layer gently to the edges. Bake for around 35-40 minutes (see note 3) or until just cooked through. You don’t want to over-bake as this will result in a dryer cake. When the cake has cooked through the sides of the cake would have pulled away slightly and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake will come out clean.
  8. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before taking out of the tin. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before icing or cutting.

Notes

  1. If you do not have a square tin you can use a round tin, but square tins are easier for portioning in lunchboxes.
  2. I like to mash my bananas with a fork or potato masher on a clean chopping board. If your bananas are on the smaller side use three bananas in this recipe.
  3. Take care not to over-bake to avoid a dry cake. Keep an eye on your cake and test with the skewer method. This time is a guide and it could take more or less time depending on your oven.

Keywords: Banana Cake; Low Sugar Banana Cake; Traditional Banana Cake; Old Fashioned Banana Cake

I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you do make it, please share with me on Facebook or Instagram, I love to see you baking my recipes! Happy baking, 

Bernadette x

 

 

 

14 Comments

  1. This was fairly easy to make and turned out reasonably well. My oven may have been a bit hot so next time I might lower by 5 degrees as it was just slightly dry. Maybe a little vegetable oil might make it a bit more moist? Definitely keeping this recipe though – great way to use up those bananas that have gone brown!

    • This one (like most cakes) definitely can be dry if cooked too hot or too long. Try reducing your oven temp and even checking it a little sooner than the recipe directions. Bernadette x

  2. Another delicious recipe that the kids have loved. We’ve also tried adding choc chips which was a hit.
    Super easy and yummy!

  3. what butter icing topping did you put ontop or was it cream cheese topping ?

    • Hi Alison – it’s a cinnamon cream cheese icing. If you scroll up from the recipe card I have included the recipe in the text of the blog post. Bernadette x

  4. Great and delicious 🍌🍰 Made it glutenfree by adding an extra banana, extra 20g butter and additional 2 tablespoons gluten free self raising flour.

    • Yay! Thanks for baking and sharing your gluten free adaption – I am sure people will find this so helpful. Bernadette x

  5. This was excellent! I followed the recipe to the letter and it was so moist and flavorful. I recently tried another recipe that was too dry. This one will be a go to!

  6. Just made my second this week. So delicious!!

  7. Made this today and nothing was left on the plate once the kids/hubby arrived home. Printed recipe and added to the favorites folder 😊

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