Banana cake recipe for beginners – This banana cake is the simplest to make, tastes delicious with a super light, moist and fluffy texture. This cake is baked time and again at my home & has been our family favourite for so many years. It is similar to those light and airy fancy cakes sold in the bakeries. This banana cake has a similar taste and texture of a rich butter cake.
If you do not have a oven, you can refer to my pressure cooker cake post and bake it. This recipe makes a large 8 by 8” cake that serves 16. If you are a newbie, simply halve the recipe and bake in a 6 inch pan. Since smaller cakes won’t last even for 2 days in my home I always bake in an 8 inch pan.
About this recipe
The best thing about this banana cake recipe is you can make it with whole wheat flour or white wheat flour. Due to the addition of eggs the banana cake won’t have the taste of wheat flour in it.
Also this is made with butter as I personally don’t prefer using much oil in my cakes. Though the recipe is easy, there are some key points to focus to make the best banana cake. So read the tips and notes mentioned below.
There are 2 ways you can make this soft and delicious banana cake. The first method is to cream the butter and sugar until creamy. Then beat the eggs. Lastly flour is incorporated to make the batter. The second method is just to mix up the wet ingredients and then mix the dry ingredients.
The difference between these 2 is the texture. The first one yields a super light and airy cake whereas the second one makes a slightly denser cake.
Creaming butter and sugar requires some effort so it is best to use a hand or stand mixer. However you can also cream them with a whisk and this takes about 3 to 4 minutes depending on your effort.
But if want to skip this step completely then follow the second method which just requires you to mix the ingredients. When I first posted this recipe, I followed this method and made with whole wheat flour. I have the stepwise pictures of the same as well.
I have also shared a simple vanilla frosting in the recipe card which I sometimes make for this banana cake and butter cake.
Bananas : Use only ripe bananas. I use the large yellow bananas. You can use pureed or mashed bananas. With mashed bananas you will have those specks of banana fibers seen your cake (as visible in my pictures).
Flour: This recipe works with all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, white wheat flour, pastry flour and even with atta (chapati flour). But if you prefer to make a light bakery style cake, then do avoid flour to which extra bran has been added. Though this kind of flour works it makes the cake slightly dense.
You can also use a combination of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour.
Butter: Use unsalted butter for this banana cake recipe. I feel the flavor of & the freshness of salted butter is not the same as unsalted. However if you still want to use it, then skip the salt mentioned in the recipe.
Baking powder: This recipe uses baking powder. It cannot be substituted with baking soda. Please recheck the expiry date of baking powder before using. Also use baking powder that has no aluminum content.
Spice: I usually add ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon to the batter as we love the warm & sweet flavors of cinnamon. The combo of ripe bananas and cinnamon goes really well. Use it only if you like the flavor.
Sugar: Some readers mentioned the cake being too sweet for their taste. However it depends on the bananas and the personal preferences. If you prefer your banana cake less sweeter then simply reduce the sugar by ¼ cup.
How to make banana cake (method 1)
1. Keep the eggs, butter and all other ingredients out of the fridge a little before you begin to work on the recipe. Use all of them at room temperature except butter that needs to be cold, yet soft and should hold its structure. Here are the quantities:
2 cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour. Fluff up the flour with a fork in the pack. Spoon it to the measuring cup and level it with a straight edged spoon or knife.
100 grams unsalted butter
½ cup milk + 2 .5 tablespoons (160 ML)
1 cup mashed bananas (use only ripe bananas)
2. Preheat the oven to 170 C or 340 F for at least 15 minutes. If you have a fan forced oven, then preheat to 160 C or 320 F.
3. Grease a 8 by 8 inch square cake pan and line with a parchment paper. If you do not have a parchment paper then simply dust some flour all over the cake pan including the sides. Shake well and invert it and dust off the excess in your kitchen sink.
4. Before you begin to make the batter, ensure the butter is soft but still cold. To check press the block of cold butter with your finger, it should dent slightly yet hold its solid structure and should not be too soft. More importantly it has to be still cold. This is the kind of butter we want here. Add 1 cup sugar and 100 grams butter to a mixing bowl. You can also use your stand mixer.
5. Beat them together until light, pale and fluffy. When it is done, the whole mixture will look light in color. Sugar will not be dissolved at this stage. If you live in a hot place and feel your butter is about to melt then simply keep the bowl in the fridge for a while. Then continue to beat. It is important for the butter not to melt at this stage.
6. Now add 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1 egg. Mix gently until combined and then beat until well incorporated & creamy.
7. Then add the other egg and beat just until creamy.
8. This is the texture we want and do not over beat at this stage.
9. Place a sieve over the mixing bowl. Add 2 cups wheat flour or all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon salt & 2½ teaspoons baking powder. Gently mix them well first with a spoon. Then sieve them to the creamed butter and egg mixture.
10. Mix it gently with the whisk. Then pour ¼ cup milk and mix gently. Next add another ¼ cup milk.
11. Mix just until well combined on a medium speed. You will need another 2.5 tablespoons milk while mixing. Add that as well. Avoid over mixing. Scrape the sides and bottom. Check if everything is well combined.
12. Then add 1 cup mashed bananas.
13. Mix again until well combined. Avoid over mixing.
Bake banana cake
14. Pour this to the lined caked tray. Tap the tray to the counter a few times to release air bubbles.
15. Bake for 25 to 30 mins if using a 8 by 8 square pan. Adjust the timing slightly if needed. If using a different size pan, then the timings vary. A skewer/ tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean when the cake is done. If you see moist crumbs on the tester, you may bake for a little longer.
16. Place the cake pan on a wired rack and cool for 10 mins so the cake doesn’t sweat at the bottom. Then invert the pan gently to remove the cake.
Cool completely before slicing.
Method 2 – without creaming
I halve the recipe here so even beginners can try it.
Preheat the oven to 170 C for at least 15 minutes. Grease a 6 inch pan or 8 x 4 x 2.5 inches loaf pan. Line it with a parchment paper or sprinkle some flour all over evenly. Dust off the excess in your kitchen sink.
1. Sieve together 1 cup wheat flour (120 grams), ¼ teaspoon sea salt (or pink salt) and 1¼ teaspoon baking powder. Sieve them thrice so the banana cake comes out light.
2. Ensure all the ingredients are at room temperature. Melt ¼ cup butter to a liquid state. Crack open the 1 egg to a bowl and beat with a fork so you have a uniform mixture. Mash bananas to make ½ cup. Measure ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk.
3. To a mixing bowl, add mashed bananas, beaten egg, melted butter, milk, 6 to 8 tablespoons ( ½ cup) sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix all of them.
4. Then add flour in 2 batches mixing just until combined.
5. You should have a uniform batter with no streaks of flour in it. Use a spatula to clean out the sides of the bowl while you mix. Do not over mix as the cake can end up being gluey.
6. Transfer this to the prepared pan. Tap the pan to the kitchen counter.
7. Bake at 170 C for 30 mins if using a 6 inch pan, if using a loaf pan (8x4x2.5 inches) then bake for about 35 to 36 minutes. When done, a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. If the skewer comes out with batter or wet mixture, bake it a little longer until it comes out clean. You need to adjust the baking temperature depending on the bakeware and oven.
Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove it to a wired rack. Cool completely before slicing. Avoid slicing hot banana cake.
Pro tips & notes
Creaming butter and sugar: This most important step is to beat the butter and sugar right to a creamy consistency as this helps in making the cake light. To beat it right, the temperature and texture of the butter is important. It has to be cold, yet soft and hold shape. They are creamed together to incorporate air.
If your butter is not cold then it will begin to melt & the air bubbles will collapse. If it is too cold and firm, then you won’t be able to incorporate air into it.
Avoid overmixing and just mix until well combined at every step. Overmixing will lead to flat cakes. The cake may rise and then sink.
Measure flour correctly by following the 3 steps – fluff up the flour, spoon it to the cup and lastly level it. This gives accurate results.
Pan size: Most time I make this cake in a 8 inch square pan. On occasions when I did not have enough bananas, I cut down the ingredients to half and bake in a 6 inch pan. It takes the same time even if you bake in a 6 inch pan.
Banana cake is lighter and is made much similar to the traditional butter cake by creaming butter and sugar. But banana bread is denser in texture as there is no creaming involved. The dry ingredients are simply incorporated into the wet ingredients.
Use ¼ cup buttermilk or homemade yogurt for every egg in the recipe. Avoid using Greek yogurt as it is too thick to use as a substitute.
Using too much of leavening agents can cause the cake to sink. The cake rises a lot due to the excess leavening and then it collapses so it sinks.
Yes. This banana cake recipe works with whole wheat flour or even with atta (chapati flour)
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 2 cups wheat flour or all-purpose (refer notes)
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt (or ⅓ teaspoon table salt)
- 1 cup fine sugar (prefer organic)
- 100 grams unsalted butter (soft & cold) (around ½ cup)
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 160 ml milk
- 1 cup ripe banana mashed
- Bring all the ingredients to room temperature except butter before you begin to prepare the batter.
- Butter has to be cold, yet soft and should hold its structure. To check press the block of cold butter with your finger, it should dent slightly yet hold its solid structure and should not be too soft.
- Grease a 8 by 8 inch cake tray and line with parchment paper. If you do not have a parchment paper, you may sprinkle flour all over the tray including the sides. Invert and dust off the excess in your kitchen sink.
- Preheat the oven to 170 C or 340 F for at least 15 minutes. If you have a fan forced oven then preheat to 160 C or 320 F.
- Fluff up the flour in the jar/ pack with a fork. Then spoon it to the measuring cup and level it with a knife or a straight edged spoon. Sieve flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
How to make banana cake
- Make sure butter is soft but still cold before this step. Add butter and sugar to a mixing bowl. Using a whisk, beat together until light, pale & fluffy.
- Pour vanilla extract and add 1 egg at a time and beat just until creamy.
- Add the other egg and beat again just until creamy.
- Next add the sieved flour, salt and baking powder. Mix it gently.
- Adding milk in 2 batches, mix the flour on a medium speed until smooth. Do not over mix it.
- Add banana puree and mix until just combined. Avoid over mixing.
- Pour the batter to a lined cake tray and knock it against the counter a few times. Bake for 25 to 30 mins if using a 8 by 8 square pan. If using a different size pan, then the timing varies.
- A skewer/ tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean when the cake is done.
- Place the cake pan on a wired rack and cool for 10 minutes. Then invert the banana cake on the wire rack.
- Cool completely before slicing. Serve banana cake plain with milk or tea.
- whole wheat flour (slightly dense but delicious)
- white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour.
- A combination of any of the above flours in any proportions.
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 to 3 tbsp. Soft butter
- 3-4 tbsps. milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
This recipe was first published in December 2015. Updated and republished in January 2021.