Skip to Content

We Wrote a Cookbook!

Learn More

Banana Walnut Cake

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min
  • Calories: 763
banana walnut cake on a cake stand with two slices on plates

Moist and fluffy, this banana cake recipe is sweetly celebratory—even if all you’re celebrating is the fact that you baked a cake!

Oh This? It’s Nothing. Just A Little Thing We Call The Best Banana Cake Recipe, Ever.

Name a major milestone event—wedding, baby shower, birthdays big and small—and we’ll tell you we served this banana layer cake. Banana cake may sound like a humble thing, but the way we make it, the cake is a milestone all of its own! Loaded with caramelized bananas and walnuts, made wonderfully moist by the addition of creamy buttermilk, this banana cake recipe is all kinds of special. Topped with a zillion candles, graduation message or simply a layer of whipped cream frosting, this cake is guaranteed to please any crowd that needs pleasing!

caramelized banana in a white pot
a bag with walnuts spilling out of it on a counter

What You’ll Need To Make A Truly Moist Banana Cake

While banana bread is sort of a plain Jane food—one that we happen to love—there’s something wonderful about a banana cake that walks that tightrope between familiar and unexpected so well. It’s familiar—everyone knows what bananas taste like—and most people have positive associations with the mild, sweet flavor of banana bread. But it’s also unexpected—a banana layer cake? What? They expect carrot, chocolate, funfetti, lemon—but banana? Hold the phone. It’s surprising in the gentlest way, and we’ve found that it’s always a big hit. Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy banana cake:

  • Bananas
  • Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Butter—always use unsalted butter for baking.
  • Sugar—you’ll need both brown and white sugar.
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Buttermilk
  • Walnuts
raw banana cake in 2 9 inch baking pan
banana cake in a 9 inch baking pan
whipped cream frosting on top of a layer of banana cake
whipped frosting cream and banana slices on top of a layer of banana cake

How To Make Banana Cake

We’ll give it to you straight—a layer cake is always a bit of an undertaking. But the good news is that making this banana nut cake is time consuming, not complicated. You just need a little patience, and you’ll be able to totally nail it. Here’s how to make a banana cake:

  1. Prep your cake pans. This is a must! First, thoroughly coat the pans with butter. Then, sprinkle flour into the greased pan and shake it around to cover the entire pan with a nice layer of flour. This will prevent sticking, which is super important.
  2. Caramelize the bananas in some butter and brown sugar. Try not to eat them all before smashing them and mixing them into the cake batter.
  3. Make the cake batter! The usual order of things applies—dry ingredients sifted together. Cream the butter with the sugars, then add the eggs, then the smashed caramelized bananas. Slowly add the dry ingredients a little at a time, and alternate between adding dry ingredients and buttermilk. Finish by gently folding in the walnuts.
  4. Bake the cake!
  5. Let the cakes cool in their pans.
  6. Make the frosting!
  7. Frost the cake! You can decide if you’d rather leave the cake layers whole for a two-layer cake, or slice them in half to make a four-layer cake. Whatever you do, though, don’t try to frost the cake until the cakes are completely cool.
  8. Eat the cake! YAY!
a 4 layer banana cake with whipped cream frosting on a cake stand

Banana Cake Frosting

A lot of people love to frost banana cake with cream cheese frosting, but we’re all about this simple whipped cream frosting. It’s just so light and luscious, and compliments this humble, surprising cake in a way that we adore. Plus, it’s as un-fussy as can be. You’ve made whipped cream before, right? That’s basically all that this is. All that’s in our banana cake frosting is:

  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract
hand sprinkling walnuts over a homemade banana cake with whip cream frosting
banana walnut cake on a cake stand
banana walnut cake on a cake stand

More Cookie and Cake Recipes To Try

Ever thought that maybe you needed to make a little more space in your life for dessert? Yeah, us too. Here are a few we’ve been lusting after lately:

Tools You’ll Need:

banana walnut cake on a cake stand with two slices on plates
banana walnut cake on a cake stand with two slices on plates
banana walnut cake on a cake stand with two slices on plates

Any Day is A Special Day When There’s Layer Cake Involved!

You know how just making it to dinnertime sometimes feels like something to celebrate! We’re 10000% in favor of making this banana layer cake recipe anytime you feel like it. When you make it—whatever you’re celebrating—let us know how it goes OK? Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Banana Walnut Cake

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min
  • Calories: 763

Ingredients

  • 6-7 Bananas, divided (2 cups, sliced for layers / 3 whole bananas for caramelizing)
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Butter, room temp, divided
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp Packed brown sugar, divided
  • 3 Large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup Walnuts, chopped, divided
  • 4 oz White chocolate, shaved

Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 1 quart Heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract

Method

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8" or 9" cake pans.
  2. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup butter, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 sliced bananas to the pan. Cook until the bananas are sweet and caramelized, about 5-7 minutes. Mash caramelized bananas with a fork and set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add white sugar and remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar and beat on high for 2 minutes until creamed together.
  5. Add the eggs and the vanilla. Beat until combined. Beat in the caramelized bananas.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the buttermilk and dry ingredients alternating in three additions. First the flour mixture, then buttermilk, then flour mixture etc. Do not over mix.
  7. stir in 3/4 cup walnuts.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Baking times may vary. The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove the cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
  10. Carefully slice the tops off both cakes, to even them out for stacking and frosting. You can make a two layer cake, or slice each layer in half to make a 4 layer cake.
  11. While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the chilled heavy cream, vanilla and 1/4 cup sugar together on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  12. spread each cake layer with whip cream frosting and banana slices. Cover the outside of cake with frosting and decorate with remaining walnuts and white chocolate.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 763
  • Protein 10 g
  • Carbohydrates 69 g
  • Total Fat 51 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2 g
  • Cholesterol 185 mg
  • sodium 460 mg
  • Added Sugars 38 g

Banana Walnut Cake

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

or
  • Liz

    How ripe should bananas be for caramelizing? You usually want overripe for banana breads and cakes, but I'm imagining those would just fall apart in the pan.

    They're smashed after they are caramelized, so it's OK if they're a bit overripe!

  • rebecca

    What does it mean that the sugar should be divided?

    It just means (you will see in the recipe steps) that some of the brown sugar goes into the caramelized bananas and some of it goes in the cake batter. Enjoy.

  • Violet H

    Beautiful photos! This sounds so yummy, especially with those caramelized bananas!

    Yes! Banana cake is our fave!

    Well, how was it?

    Tried this recipe once or twice (or many, many more times than that)? Click the Write a Review button above and let us know how it went!