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Best Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting

This is the best banana cake we’ve ever eaten! Super moist and scrumptious. And the chocolate buttercream frosting is perfect with this cake if you’re a chocolate lover.

I made this cake for friends and family dinner last week and it was a huge hit. After giving away a [stingy] piece to my sister, I froze some of the leftovers, ate the rest and then promptly took out the part I froze and ate that too. So good.

piece of banana cake with chocolate frosting on plate

The moistness trick

I found this highly rated recipe on two different websites – food.com and allrecipes.com.  They both had instructions to freeze the cake for 45 minutes right after removing it from the oven. They claimed it made the cake super moist.

I don’t know if that’s true, but I followed the directions and the cake was indeed super moist and the best banana cake EVER. So I’m sticking with that.

The only changes I made to the recipe were to reduce the sugar a bit and replace the icing.  They used cream cheese icing (typical for a banana cake) and I used my own chocolate buttercream which I love dearly. Chocolate and banana is a fantastic combination I think.

This cake feeds a lot of people. It’s quite substantial, making it perfect for potlucks and parties. In my humble opinion, this is a deliciously moist banana cake recipe like no other.

Other tips

  • Start with overripe brown bananas – or at least soft, ripe bananas with some brown spots. The riper the bananas, the sweeter and more banana-y the cake. 
  • To avoid a dense cake, use room temperature butter and don’t over cream the butter and sugar. 1-2 minutes is plenty. Buttermilk or sour cream also helps make a fluffier cake. And when you add in the flour, mix just until combined – don’t over mix. 
  • Don’t overbake the cake or it will become dry. It is done when the cakes springs to the touch, a tester comes out clean and the cake just pulls away from the sides of the cake pans. Start checking the doneness, 5-10 minutes before the total baking time. Every oven is different. 

How to make the best banana cake with chocolate frosting

bananas, butter, eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla, milk, lemon
 ingredients: flour, baking soda, eggs, bananas, buttermilk (or milk and lemon), sugar, vanilla, butter.
3 separate bowls of mashed bananas, wet and dry ingredients
set aside bowls of ingredients – bananas, buttermilk, sugar and unsalted butter
banana cake batter
cream butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla
adding dry ingredients through sieve to wet ingredients
add dry ingredients, alternating with buttermilk
bananas cake batter 2
banana cake batter
mashed bananas added to batter in bowl
stir mashed bananas into batter
baked banana cake in freezer
Bake cake then place it immediately in freezer on a tea towel.
 Banana Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Icing
piece of banana cake with chocolate icing on plate

Tailor to Your Taste

  • Add-ins:
    • a teaspoon of cinnamon in the batter
    • a 1/2 cup chocolate chips added to the batter
  • Frosting: here’s a classic cream cheese frosting if you prefer that to a chocolate buttercream

Make Ahead

  • This cake will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days, covered in plastic or in an airtight container.
  • It also freezes very well for 2 months.
Best Banana Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Icing
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4.44 from 39 votes

Best Banana Cake with Chocolate Icing Recipe

This is the best banana cake we’ve ever eaten! The chocolate buttercream icing is perfect with this cake. Super moist and scrumptious – a real winner!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 15 generous servings
Author: Cheryl

Equipment

  • 1 sheet cake pan , Note 1 9 x 13 inches/23 x 33 cm

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups overripe bananas (for a strong banana flavor) (about 3 large bananas)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or add 1 tablespoon lemon to milk to make 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 cups white sugar or brown sugar (or a bit less)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate buttercream frosting, Note 2

  • 1/2 cup softened butter (1 stick)
  • 1 3/4 cup icing sugar sugar also called confectioners' or powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 275F/135C. Grease (or spray with oil) and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan (22 x 33 cm).
  • PREPARE BANANAS: In a small bowl, mash bananas with a fork, mix with 2 teaspoons lemon juice and set aside.
  • PREPARE BUTTERMILK: Measure out the buttermilk (or milk plus lemon) in a medium bowl or measuring cup. Set aside.
  • PREPARE DRY INGREDIENTS: In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • MAKE BATTER: In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk a bit at a time – and beat until smooth. Stir in banana mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • BAKE AND FREEZE: Bake the cake for 1 hour or just until a toothpick comes out clean. As ovens vary, start checking after 55 minutes. Remove cake from oven and place it directly in the freezer, uncovered, on a tea towel for 45 minutes. This apparently makes the cake very moist – and it works!
  • MAKE FROSTING: Using a food processor: Add all buttercream/frosting ingredients into the processor and process until smooth, about 2 minutes. If too dry, add a small amount of extra milk (1 tablespoon) or, if too thin, add a bit more icing sugar – until you get the consistency you want. (Alternatively, use an electric or hand mixer and a mixing bowl – beating butter first, adding icing sugar and cocoa next, then vanilla and milk.) When the cake is fully cooled, frost the cake.

Notes

  1. Baking pans
    • Instead of a 9 x 13 inch (22 x 33 cm) pan, use two 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) pans or two 9 x 9 inch (22 x 22 cm) pans for a two-layer cake. You may need to lower the baking time a touch with the 9 inch pans.
  2. Cream cheese frosting
  3. Make Ahead:
    • This cake will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days, covered in plastic wrap or in an airtight container.
    • It also freezes very well for 2 months.
Nutrition values are estimates for generous portions with chocolate buttercream frosting.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 340mg | Potassium: 184mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 574IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

Best Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting was originally published on Two Kooks In The Kitchen in Feb 2017.

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18 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    The best cake ever! I call this “banana snacking cake” when I make it, because I don’t even frost it, and we just enjoy it like it is. The freezing after baking must be the magical trick to make it so moist and dense and give the top a little crunch. This is the most delish banana cake ever!
    (I also sub GF flour blend and reduce sugar and replace half that using monkfruit sweetener and it still turns our crazy yummy! I’ve also added kefir in with the buttermilk mixture! Still delicious!) 🍌

  2. I made this cake last night for Valentine’s Day, it’s the first time I’ve baked a cake at lower temperature, I must say the best banana cake I’ve ever made, was so so moist and Yummy.
    Thanks for sharing.

    JODY

  3. I have made this cake several times now as my friends and neighbours who have tried it keep asking for more, even my local corner shop owner gives me, free of charge, his ripe bananas that he can not sell to ensure he has a slice. I am making two of these cakes today to make sure there is enough for everyone, or my life won’t be worth living. I also find that mine takes longer to cook. The only question I have is, when you put it in the freezer, can you leave it in the cake tin. I remove mine (with great difficulty) as you state to put it on a towel? Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

    1. Hi Jacqui. So fun about your neighbours and corner store! Glad it is a hit! As for the freezing part, yes, leave the cake right in the baking dish/tin while you do that. I set it on a towel on top of other food in the freezer just so I don’t defrost the other food. Not necessary if you have a free spot in your freezer. As for the cake taking longer to bake, everyone’s oven is different unfortunately. If you like to bake, you might want to get a cheap oven thermometer to place in the oven to test its accuracy. Baking tins also make a difference. You mentioned tin which bakes faster than glass. Aluminum is a good choice. Here’s a good article from Bon Appetit on baking equipment. But, no worries, you can use what you have and adjust. Hope that helps.

    2. 5 stars
      Hi. The first time I made it I left it in the kitchen and put it on a towel in the freezer. I wonder though, if the cold on the bottom of the warm 10 caused moisture as my cake had a slightly soggy bottom. This time I lined my cake pan with parchment. I put a towel on top of a baking sheet, then grabbed the parchment paper and lifted the cake up and put it on the towel and put the baking sheet in the freezer. Problem solved!! Turned out perfectly!

      1. Perfect! Whatever works. It’s possible your cake was slightly underdone the first time. Or you just found a great option. Glad it turned out!

  4. I love finding new recipe pages and this looks great – but oh the overload of ads 🙁
    I know you need revenue but it’s impossible to view, such a shame

    1. Sorry about all the ads Anne. I know they are intrusive but you’re right. That’s how we make income to be able to provide free recipes. I hope you’ll still try the banana cake. I promise it’s really good! 😊

  5. 5 stars
    Banana Cake with Chocolate frosting was the best ever! My mom wanted this cake from Magnolia for her 69th bday but due to COVID….so I researched recipes and decided on this one as I would drive 10 hours to Maine with it for her bday. Everyone decided it was the BEST cake ever–even my brother who is total foodie and VERY particular. We ate it over the course of 4 days and it stayed incredibly moist the whole time. I was nervous it was going to be too sweet but it was subtle and perfect and not like banana bread. Only change I made was double the frosting recipe just to be safe!

    It was also my 1st cake from scratch (I don’t even own a mixer so didn’t use) and will be my go to forever more!

    1. Oh my. What a lovely story Alissa. I’m honoured that you chose our recipe for your mom’s special event. And that it was a hit! Thanks very much for taking the time to leave us a comment. And congrats for making your first cake a great one!

  6. I made this cake and it was absolutely amazing. Thank you for the recipe. It took a lot longer to cook for me, may have been my oven. But highly recommend! I also added choc chips

    1. So glad you liked it. It’s one of my faves. I agree about your oven temp. You may have to increase it a bit next time. Or just know it will take longer in your oven. Thanks for leaving a comment. We love to hear from readers.

  7. 5 stars
    This is da bomb. Making it as a birthday cake. I used less sugar as suggested (maybe closer to 1.5 cups) and it for some reason took a lot longer to bake but still fabulous and moist.