Banana Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream

Banana snack cake with spiced vanilla frosting

Banana Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream is 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.

a banana cake obsession…

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…

the frosting makes this banana cake special

It’s 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.

it’s banana cake meets spice cake

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.

an unusual freezer technique keeps this cake moist

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.

more banana desserts

3.90 from 80 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
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Yield 12 servings
Calories 707kcal
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 mascarpone cheese, at room temperature (you can substitute cream cheese)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves, or more to taste
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar


  • Preheat 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.


Calories: 707kcal | Carbohydrates: 104g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 247mg | Potassium: 170mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 77g | Vitamin A: 977IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg
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.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    October 6, 2021 at 11:00 pm

    5 stars
    Off to the kitchen I go to give this one a try. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • 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

        5 stars
        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!!

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