Easy Peasy Banana Cake
This banana spice cake with walnuts is perfect for banana dessert lovers who want to kick it up a notch and go beyond just the classic banana bread. Our easy peasy banana cake recipe can be whipped up in under an hour!
The cake is super moist with a hint of spice and just the right amount of sweetness. The warm rich flavor of the spices plus the sweet banana flavor is the perfect combination. Topping it with a thick layer of homemade cream cheese frosting and chopped walnuts is really what makes it so irresistible.
The best thing about this sheet cake is that you can bake, frost, and serve it right from the pan. Not only will this save you lots of time and energy, but it makes this banana spice cake the perfect go-to dessert for any party or get-together. Not to mention, it’s absolutely delicious.
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Banana Cake vs Banana Bread
A lot of people wonder if there really is a difference between banana cake and banana bread. Well, I’m here to tell you that there most definitely is a difference – it's more than just the cream cheese frosting!
Although banana cake and banana bread have many of the same basic ingredients, the biggest difference between the two is their texture. However, they generally also differ in their level of sweetness. Banana cake is much lighter and sweeter and is often topped with frosting while banana bread is more dense and thick and usually less sweet.
Additionally, banana bread is made in a loaf pan and banana cake is usually made in a cake or sheet pan. For example, our banana spice cake with walnuts is made in a half-sheet pan.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
Follow these pro baking tips to get the best banana spice cake every time.
- Use room temperature ingredients to ensure they are fully incorporated and evenly mixed into the batter.
- Mash the bananas using a stand mixer or hand mixer for quick and easy mashing.
- Freezing bananas is a great option if you want to make the cake later! (Yes, they will probably turn black in the freezer. And yes, it’s fine. I promise!)
- Prevent overmixing by mixing the ingredients just until combined. Overmixing can create a dense, tough texture.
- Let the cake cool to room temperature before frosting to keep the frosting from melting.
Each of these key ingredients contributes to the perfect flavor and texture of this banana spice cake.
For the spice cake
- Ripe bananas: The riper the better! The best bananas for this recipe are the ones that have turned totally brown because they have so much flavor – they are also the easiest to mash.
- Pure vanilla extract: Vanilla adds another layer of flavor to the cake and compliments the sweet banana flavor.
- Eggs: Room-temperature eggs are an important ingredient that helps provide structure to the cake and bind all of the ingredients together.
- Flour: We love this banana spice cake with whole-wheat or all-purpose flour. Flour also provides structure and assists with leavening in baked goods.
- Baking soda/baking powder: Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents that make the cake rise, giving it a light and fluffy texture.
- Cinnamon/allspice/nutmeg/cloves: These spices provide additional warm, rich flavors to the cake, enhancing the overall taste.
- Salt: Salt provides additional flavor and brings out the sweetness from the sugar.
- Granulated sugar: Sugar is the main source of sweetness in this recipe but it also keeps the cake soft and moist.
- Oil: Not only does the oil keep your cake extra moist, but it also traps in air to give it a soft and fluffy texture.
- Milk: Milk adds moisture to the cake as well as contributes to the color and flavor.
For the Frosting
- Cream cheese: Cream cheese adds the perfect amount of creaminess and tang that pairs well with this banana spice cake.
- Butter: We like to use salted butter here but unsalted also works too. Just add a dash of salt to balance out the sweetness if you use unsalted butter.
- Pure vanilla extract: Vanilla extract adds another layer of flavor to the cream cheese frosting.
- Powdered sugar: Powdered sugar adds sweetness to the frosting and balances out the flavor of the cream cheese. Sift the powdered sugar to avoid any lumps in the frosting.
- Chopped walnuts: Chopped walnuts add a nutty crunch to this sheet cake. Chopped pecans are also a delicious option. You can omit the nuts if desired.
- Evaporated milk: Evaporated milk creates a super smooth, rich, and creamy frosting. You can substitute it with regular milk or heavy cream if desired.
How To Make This Recipe
Start by preparing the ingredients. Make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature. This allows the ingredients to bind together more easily and contributes to a light and fluffy cake texture.
In a large mixing bowl – I like to use my KitchenAid mixer and paddle attachment – mix the bananas until they are fully mashed. Then, mix in the vanilla extract and the eggs.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, and spices. Add it to the banana mixture and mix until fully combined. Next, add the canola oil and milk. Mix just until fully combined.
Finally, pour the batter into greased 18” x 13” sheet pan (I recommend Nordic Ware Baker’s Half Sheet) and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Let the cake cool to room temperature.
Prepare the cream cheese frosting by adding the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract to a medium mixing bowl. Cream together for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add the sifted powdered sugar to the cream cheese mixture one cup at a time, mixing between each addition until it is fully incorporated. Add the evaporated milk as needed until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
Spread the cream cheese frosting evenly across the top of the cooled banana spice cake and top with chopped walnuts (if desired). Cut into 3” x 3” squares and serve.
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Banana Spice Cake With WalnutsMay 13, 2021
FOR THE CAKE
- 4 ripe medium bananas
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup canola oil
- ¼ cup milk
FOR THE FROSTING
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 2-3 tablespoon evaporated milk
- 1 cup chopped walnuts for topping (optional)
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease an 18×13 inch sheet pan. (We like Nordic Ware Baker’s Half Sheet).
- Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl. ( We like to use our KitchenAid mixer and paddle attachment for this). Mix in the vanilla and eggs.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, and spices. Mix into the banana mixture. Add the oil and milk and mix until fully combined.
- Pour batter into greased sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool before frosting.
FOR THE FROSTING
- Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment. Mix in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until fully combined. Add the evaporated milk as needed for desired consistency.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
- Once the banana cake is cooled completely, spread the cream cheese frosting evenly across the top. If desired, sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
- Cut into 3×3 inch squares to yield 24 servings.
- I recommend using a half-sheet pan (18"x13") for this recipe. Bake time may vary if a different size pan is used.
- Store well-covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.