Banana Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream

Banana snack cake with spiced vanilla frosting
Banana Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream is probably the most luxurious outcome imaginable for those over ripe bananas on your

Banana Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream is probably the most luxurious  outcome imaginable for those over ripe bananas on your counter! If you love banana bread you’re going to flip for this easy banana snack cake.

Photo of Banana Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream with slice taken out of it.

Most of us who love to cook have our own quirky, sometimes random, obsessions. One of mine is definitely banana. If you want to psychoanalyze it (just humor me please) I think it must stem from the fact that when I was growing up I could never eat bananas, they gave me terrible stomach aches. I avoided all bananas like the plague until one day I realized that cooking them solved the problem. That kicked off a lifelong fixation on banana cakes and breads. This one is wonderfully dense and moist, and thickly plastered with the best frosting ever…a creamy vanilla clove. Go ahead — open up the jar in your spice cabinet and take a whiff — I think cloves have been given a bum rap, they get stuck in a ham once a year and that’s the end of it. But seriously their fragrance is so clear and vivid. Just a dash gives this frosting a unique spiced flavor.

Next time you’re whipping up a plain Jane vanilla frosting, consider adding a hint of spice, it adds a soft, warm, distinctively fall touch.

Photo of Banana Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream with one slice being removed.

This banana cake with spiced vanilla buttercream requires just two over-ripe bananas. I skipped the nuts, which I almost always add to my banana breads and cakes, just for a change. I didn’t miss them, although you could certainly add walnuts or pecans. I flavored the batter with cardamom, and that, along with the frosting, gives this a little bit of a spice cake feel.

Photo of Banana Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream being frosted.

The unusual thing about this recipe is that you put the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes immediately after taking it out of the oven. That makes it extra moist. And you’ll store in the fridge, too, which gives the cake a firm, dense quality that is really appealing. I made the frosting with a combination of butter and mascarpone cheese. Cream cheese is fine, too, but the mascarpone is a little more subtle. The recipe makes lots, which is essential for this particular cake.

Photo of Banana Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream with one slice removed and forks on a wooden surface.

This is a great everyday family cake, but it’s also nice to have around for guests during the holidays, or for whenever you need to bring something to a party or gathering, because just about everybody loves banana cake. You might even kick off a few new obsessions…

Phot of a single slice of Banana Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream with a fork on parchment paper.

If you’re sort of obsessed with banana desserts like I am, you need to try my BANANA BLONDIES or BANANA POPPYSEED CAKE WITH VANILLA BEAN FROSTING. Or my super easy COPYCAT TRADER JOE’ GONE BANANAS. Oooooor, if you’re a little more adventurous, how about my BOURBON BANANA BUTTER!


3.83 from 75 votes

Banana Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream

Banana Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream is probably the most luxurious  outcome imaginable for those over ripe bananas on your counter!  If you love banana bread you're going to flip for this easy banana snack cake.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
freezing 30 minutes
Yield 10 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 2 very ripe bananas mashed
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

spiced frosting

  • 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 oz 1 container mascarpone cheese, at room temperature (you can substitute cream cheese)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves you can add more if you like
  • up to 4 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar


  • Set oven to 325F
  • Grease a 9 inch round springform pan (the cake is tall, you will need high sides.)
  • Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer, or by hand. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the vanilla and cardamom.
  • Mash the bananas until smooth, and add the lemon juice. Blend in to the butter and sugar mixture, and don't worry if it looks curdled.
  • Whisk the flour with the salt and baking soda, and add to the bowl alternately with the buttermilk, blending until everything is just mixed.
  • Turn the batter into the buttered pan, and smooth out the top. Bake for about 60-70 minutes, or until the cake is risen, not wobbly in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it.
  • Put the cake pan immediately into the freezer for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the pan when you take it out of the freezer. When it has completely cooled, frost it.
  • To make the frosting, blend the butter and mascarpone cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and cloves. Blend in the sugar, a cup at a time,until you get a smooth, thick frosting. You may not need all of it.
  • I like to store the frosted cake in the fridge.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Don’t forget to pin this Banana Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream!

Banana Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream pin

email sign up prompt

You Might Also Like


    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Ama Godare
    March 15, 2021 at 6:58 am

    5 stars
    Loved the cake. Made it three times since last year. The third time I was so bummed. The cake was dry. I might have over baked ( my oven was fixed recently)or maybe not enough banana?? (2 1/2 small bananas)? Idk.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 15, 2021 at 7:26 am

      Baking is such a tricky business, Ama, it could have been any number of small changes. Over baking will definitely dry a cake out, so that could be it.

  • Reply
    January 4, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    5 stars
    I have been making almost this exact cake for about 15 years, but your version with the spices put it over the top! Every single time I’ve made this one I am asked for the recipe. Also, my family constantly demands it – my little granddaughter is named Annika so now we call this Banannika cake. Usually I make it in 2 square pans (bake for about 35-40 mins) and freeze one for later – I just make half the icing each time. Oh and the icing – so delicious! My kids eat it off the top of the cake like fudge.

  • Reply
    Chris & Jamie Brackney
    October 13, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    5 stars
    This was AMAZING! I only had a mini pop pan thingy bobber so I cut the ingredients in half. It was still perfect! Thank you so much.

  • Reply
    Susan Manbeck
    July 25, 2020 at 9:00 am

    5 stars
    Made this on a Wednesday evening for company Friday. Had to make another one on Thursday evening because the first one was gone! I don’t care for cream cheese frosting so we used cool whip. Everyone loved it.

    • Reply
      July 25, 2020 at 9:07 am

      Thanks for the feedback Susan <3

  • Reply
    Jane banach
    July 9, 2020 at 11:16 am

    Can I skip putting inn the freezer.

    • Reply
      July 9, 2020 at 11:39 am

      Yes, you can.

  • Reply
    May 19, 2020 at 10:45 am

    Followed directions to the letter, baked 70 minutes, I had same results as another , caved in the middle. Oven seems fine and I baked a lot, most times my baked goods cook faster than recommended time. I have put cake back in oven for another 15 minutes and hope it is baked by then

    • Reply
      Jane Banach
      July 9, 2020 at 11:59 am

      Also just Ed happen with my cake, I just put it back in the oven, and hoping I can salvage a piece, I had cooked it 70 mins, tooth pick was clean and it deflated , very disappointed

      • Reply
        July 9, 2020 at 2:40 pm

        It sounds like your oven might not be cooking at the correct temperature, Jane, that happens all the time. I keep a hanging oven thermometer in mine so I can always check.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    5 stars
    SO HAPPY that I made this cake! This will now be a staple banana cake, the fam loved it! I do have to say I love cardamom and was almost compelled to add more, happy that I didn’t. 1 tsp is the perfect amount of that citrusy and fragrant magic! She is spot on with the baking, don’t pull it before it is fully baked. You want a nice spring back because of all the moisture in there. (toothpick in very center of the cake should come out clean) Also the freezer trick is my new fave! I’m an avid baker and have never seen that tip before. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2019 at 8:31 am

    Help! I just made the Banana cake with spiced vanilla frosting. Looked beautiful in the oven after 70 minutes – did not wiggle and toothpick came out clean for all 2”. Put it in the freezer, pulled it out after 30 to find the top collapsed wth about 3 “ of space and a gooey cake below. Going to try to put it back in the oven but I’m pretty sure it’s a goner. Any idea where I went wrong?

    • Reply
      January 21, 2019 at 8:41 am

      I’m guessing that your oven is off on temperature Deb, that’s the most common reason a cake wouldn’t cook in the middle after a long time like that. If you don’t have one I really suggest getting one of those small inexpensive oven thermometers that will tell you exactly what temperature you’re cooking at.

      • Reply
        January 22, 2019 at 6:10 am

        Sue, this cake is amazing BECAUSE I didn’t give up on it. I put it back in the oven for about another 20 minutes. Most of the cake rose to meet the top. It may have looked a bit odd and it had been through some extreme circumstances but in the end it was STILL DELICIOUS!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    5 stars
    I made this for my family!! They loved it!!!!!! I followed the recipe exactly and it fit in a 9 by 13 cake pan btw. Thank you for this wonderful gem of a cake!!

  • Reply
    October 5, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Would this recipe work as a sheet pan cake and would you still recommend putting it in the freezer?

    • Reply
      October 5, 2017 at 6:16 pm

      You would probably have to double the recipe for a sheet pan, and you could skip the freezer step, but I would watch the cooking time carefully!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2017 at 2:02 am

    Hi, this sounds yummy and I can’t wait to try it but I just have a question about putting it in the freezer. Doesn’t the action of putting a hot-out-of-the-oven pan in the freezer greatly reduce the temperature of the freezer and affect other items in the freezer? What is the reason for doing this, I’ve never heard of it before? Thanks

    • Reply
      September 8, 2017 at 5:17 am

      I made this cake last night and did not put mine in the freezer either as soon as it came out of oven .I really don’t know what the reasoning is behind it but I am afraid of the temperature change in freezer, it will make freezer work so much harder to cool down again.I think it halts the cooking process so cake might not sink in middle( mine did), but everything else about the cake looks fine.Have not tasted it yet, but I am sure it will be wonderful.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    This looks amazing. Going to try this for my husbands Birthday. His favorite is Banana Cake, so I’m excited !
    One issue. Can this be made with Gluten Free Flour ? We have gluten allergy.

    • Reply
      March 15, 2017 at 9:07 pm

      I’m not an expert with gluten free flour, Cathy, but from my experience, you can usually substitute it, especially if you use a good mix, like Bob’s Red Mill or something. The texture will be different, but that’s expected. I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Could I make this in 8×8 square pans?

    • Reply
      January 29, 2017 at 11:19 am

      This particular cake will have too much batter for one 8×8 pan, Trisha, and I think not enough for 2, sorry! Switching pan sizes is always a little tricky.

  • Reply
    January 19, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    5 stars
    This cake was amazing!!!!! Thank you! My family loved it so much I made two cakes in one week! I love cardamom too. It paired so well with the banana.

    • Reply
      January 20, 2017 at 7:46 am

      I’m thrilled Mona, especially that you loved the cardamom.

  • Reply
    December 4, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    5 stars
    Best cake I’ve had in years! YUM! I used 1 cup packed dark brown sugar and 1 cup white sugar in the cake, and about 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar and 3 – 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar in the icing. It gave an awesome caramel flavor!

    • Reply
      December 4, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      Just reading your comment makes me so hungry for this cake again Maddy ~ I love the idea of the dark brown sugar in the icing :)))

    • Reply
      December 4, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      BTW, I used two 9″ cake pans and made a layer cake. Baking time was about 40 minutes.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Fabulous looking cake, have you ever tried it in a sheet cake pan? Have a friend who wants banana cake like his mom used to make, this looks amazing.

    • Reply
      November 2, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      I’ve only made it in a round pan, Kristy, but you could probably double the recipe for a larger pan.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    I really really wanna try this frosting on a carrot cake. Can you please tell me how many cups of frosting does it yield with the above mentioned quantity of ingredients?

  • Reply
    September 10, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Hi Sue, thank you for sharing this gorgeous cake recipe. Just a quick question, if I want to use some walnuts in my cake, should I chop them finely and add directly to the batter or just chops some on top of the frosting? Which one would you recommend?
    Thank you!

  • Reply
    September 1, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    for the mascarpone, what substitute can I use for that if I cannot get any?

  • Reply
    March 25, 2016 at 4:14 am

    Could I substitute coconut sugar for regular sugar?

    • Reply
      March 25, 2016 at 7:40 am

      Yes, I think you can substitute that with no problem Amanda.

  • Reply
    Regina McBride
    December 10, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Fabulous photos and recipes? Reminds me of Sara Lees banana cake when I was young ? Thank you Sue ?

    • Reply
      December 11, 2015 at 7:29 am

      This is one of my favorite cakes, Regina. We used to get the Sara Lee chocolate cake all the time when I was a kid, but I’ve never had the banana version.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    I am assuming that Black Cardamon was used. I have never used it before and I have a choice of black or green.
    Looks yummy, I want to bake one tomorrow!

    • Reply
      September 27, 2015 at 6:55 am

      It’s green cardamom, Terry. Black is much stronger and is usually used for curries, etc.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Great photos, I never get tired of this recipe, one of my all-time favourites!

  • Reply
    May 1, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    5 stars
    Great recipe! I actually ran out of sugar for the frosting and will have to frost the cake tomorrow. Do you recommend leaving the cake in the freezer overnight and thawing tomorrow and then frosting or should I follow instructions for the cake only and frost tomorrow after cake has been in fridge?

    • Reply
      May 1, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      I’m not sure, darcy, that’s a tough one. I’d say keep it in the fridge…

  • Reply
    March 15, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    5 stars
    Just made this cake tonight…really awesome. I was a bit afraid of the cardamom and only added about 1/2 a teaspoon, but definitely encourage others to use the full teaspoon because it was very mild. So moist, amazing frosting!!! A+!

    • Reply
      March 15, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      This is one of my favorites, so glad you liked it Nina!

  • Reply
    Kim Lopez
    February 2, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    Does this batter do well as cupcake?

    • Reply
      February 3, 2015 at 7:08 am

      I haven’t tried Kim, it would be fine I think, as long as you keep a close eye on them while they are in the oven and don’t over bake them.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    This cake is seriously stunning! I love banana cake.

  • Reply
    November 1, 2014 at 4:11 am

    Sounds wonderful. At which point do you release the cake from the springform pan?

    • Reply
      November 1, 2014 at 5:40 am

      I took it out after it comes out of the freezer, I’ll edit that to be clear, thanks Zandra.

  • Reply
    October 31, 2014 at 11:43 am

    I’m in love with this cake and that frosting looks absolutely divine!

  • Reply
    October 30, 2014 at 6:54 pm


    • Reply
      October 31, 2014 at 10:31 am

      Coming from you, Amanda, that’s the highest praise I can imagine, thank you! <3

  • Reply
    Alison Arsenault
    October 30, 2014 at 8:13 am

    I love bananas & was overjoyed when I saw cloves added to the recipe.& to my utmost delight I have two bananas sitting on my counter. Off to the kitchen I go to give this one a try. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Reply
    Lauren @ Hall Nesting
    October 30, 2014 at 4:03 am

    This sounds great! Glad you can eat bananas again!

  • Reply
    [email protected]+Mille+Fiori+Favoriti
    October 29, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    I love the way spiced vanilla butterream ,makes your cake look extra enticing Sue!

  • Reply
    [email protected]+Seasons+and+Suppers
    October 29, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    So lovely and love the addition of cloves to the icing!

    • Reply
      October 29, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      Thanks Jennifer, I’m really enjoying experimenting with spiced frostings and glazes.

  • Reply
    [email protected]+Riffs
    October 29, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Amazing looking cake! I love bananas, though rarely have them in cake. Gotta change that, right now! Good recipe — thanks.

  • Reply
    October 29, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Hi Sue, love banana cake and your frosting sounds delicious, you always have such great ideas and tips.

  • Reply
    October 29, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    If I could only stick a fork in and taste this right now! It looks so delicious, Sue, and the frosting with mascarpone is making my mouth water, and I usually don’t like frosting. Pinning.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    October 29, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Won’t mind a few slices decadence sent my way. Not one bit 😉

  • Reply
    October 29, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Love the tip on keeping this moist. I absolutely love banana ANYTHING and this looks incredible!

    • Reply
      October 29, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Thanks Matt — this is a keeper!

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!

Grab my latest e-book

for free!

Subscribe to get first dibs on all my new recipes, plus extra subscriber only benefits!


You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

You have Successfully Subscribed!