Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting ~ this is an old fashioned kind of cake.  A wholesome, whip it up in a jiffy and eat it any time of the day or night kind of cake.  Low to the ground, nothing to hide.  An unassuming little 8×8 inch square made with a mere cup of flour and a couple of mashed bananas, all slathered with an honest lashing of cream cheese and vanilla bean goodness.

Banana Cake like you've never had it before!

That handful of everyday ingredients pulls together to make a really special cake…I’m not sure if it’s the extra ripe bananas, the poppy seeds, the sour cream in the batter, or that frosting with a virtual galaxy of vanilla bean specs.   But in the end, does it really matter?  This cake is perfect, that’s all we need to care about, right?

Vanilla beans are expensive, but you can also use vanilla bean paste, which is one of my favorite new discoveries.   It gives you that same flavor and beautiful specs at a much lower cost.  The heavy vanilla presence in this frosting really makes a difference, and extract just doesn’t cut it.

THE BEST Banana Cake!

Of course you could double the recipe and made a grand layer cake, but I like it this way, it’s more approachable, more snackable.  And I could never eat a layer cake for breakfast ;)

Banana Poppy Seed Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Ingredients

    the cake
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    the vanilla bean frosting
  • 3 to 4 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature (about half the 8 oz package)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • the seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • milk or cream for thinning the icing
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and sour cream together. Beat in the egg, bananas and vanilla. (Make sure the bananas are completely mashed smooth first)
  3. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda into the wet mixture. Mix together just until thoroughly combined. Fold in the poppy seeds.
  4. Spread the batter into a greased 8x8 square baking pan. I lined mine parchment paper (or foil) so I could remove it easily for a neater presentation and cutting.
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes until a toothpick just comes out clean.
  6. Cool before frosting.
  7. To make the frosting--- mix everything together until you have a thick, creamy, spreadable consistency. Taste to adjust your lemon juice.
  8. Heap onto the completely cooled banana cake and swirl it around thickly.

Notes

Recipe is adapted from Butteryum

https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/banana-poppy-seed-cake-with-vanilla-bean-frosting/

I know this is going to become your favorite…

‘Nuf said.

The BEST banana cake I've ever tasted!

Save

52 Comments

  • Reply
    Tina Basu
    May 3, 2017 at 11:32 am

    This is delectable Sue. I like old fashioned cakes – i find them homely and wonderful!

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 3, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Me too, Tina!

  • Reply
    Esther
    March 13, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Made this and my husband said it was a new favourite!!!! Love this cake! Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 13, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      Yay!! :)

  • Reply
    jess
    September 29, 2016 at 7:17 am

    This looks delicious! Love anything with poppyseeds. can’t wait to try it out!

  • Reply
    Allison
    September 20, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    My almost 7-year-old and I are excited to make this for her birthday cake, as a double layer with chocolate zucchini being the second layer! Would I need to double the recipe to make it into a 9×13″ cake? Has anyone had luck in doing so? What would the bake time be for that? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 20, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      Wow, your 7 year old has a sophisticated palate!! I think you can double this recipe for the larger pan, but I’m not sure how much longer you’d need to bake it, you’ll have to pay close attention to that and check with a toothpick.

  • Reply
    Melissa Becker
    September 2, 2016 at 4:35 am

    Curious- What is the reliance of the “3” before the 4oz of cream cheese? You have “(about half the 8 oz package)” which would be 4 oz. The three would indicate you need a total of12 oz or you are trying to say 3/4?? Thank you. Btw, the banana poppyseed is in the oven as I type. Can’t wait to try!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 2, 2016 at 7:27 am

      Hey Melissa, I changed it to clarify, it’s 3 to 4 ounces. Hope you like it!

  • Reply
    Justine
    August 22, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Best banana cake ever omg? This recipe is a révélation! First time i used vanilla beans and its totaly worth it! Thanks à lot for creating my latest obsession ;)

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 22, 2016 at 10:40 am

      I’m so happy I could give you a new obsession, Justine :))) Not to be an enabler, or anything, but I have LOTS more great banana cake and bread recipes on the blog…

  • Reply
    Adriann
    May 2, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Hi, this looks wonderful, and just what I’m looking for to send my mother for a more personal touch to her Mothers Day gift! However, this is the first time I’ve lived so far away, so I’ve never sent any food before, and it would be more than I could afford to overnight it. So my questions are; firstly, does it need to be refrigerated? And if not, would it last 2-3 days (in mostly cold temperatures) to make the trip? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, I’m having a bit of trouble with general searches on the matter. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 2, 2016 at 8:53 am

      The problem is that this is a frosted cake, Adriann, and that’s never the best choice for shipping, unless you’ve got fabulous packaging and plan to ship it super quickly. In this case I really think cookies, or shortbread, would be a much better choice…sorry! I think it’s such a sweet idea!

  • Reply
    Allison
    May 2, 2016 at 5:56 am

    Mmm this looks super tasty!

  • Reply
    Amy
    March 10, 2016 at 8:05 am

    hi! this looks delicious and would be perfect for my twins who celebrate their 4th birthday on Easter. I am just wondering if you have ever made cupcakes using this recipe? if so, what adjustments did you make, if any? thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 10, 2016 at 8:08 am

      I haven’t Amy. I’m sure you could, but it has the texture of a moist dense bread rather than a fluffy cake, if that makes sense. I think it would work, though, as long as you watch the cooking time.

  • Reply
    Monique Galvan
    February 25, 2016 at 9:08 am

    What other fruits could you use in place of bananas? Could you use blueberries or strawberries instead, and if so how many?

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 25, 2016 at 10:00 am

      Well, the banana is mashed, so I wouldn’t advise replacing it with those other fruits, Monique.

  • Reply
    Bridget
    September 30, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Just had to tell you, this is the best recipe. I use it as my “Go To” for banana bread. The cake is awesome! I just omit the frosting when I bake it in a loaf. Love it! I like that it has barely any butter or sugar. I was out of eggs but had a few whites left from another dish, turned out great. Thanks for the recipe. Super easy. I think I’ve made it 4 times since finding the recipe this month.

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 30, 2015 at 8:08 am

      I never thought of doing it that way, thanks Bridget!

  • Reply
    Cheryl
    June 30, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    How much vanilla bean paste would you use to replace the seeds of 1 vanilla bean?

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 30, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      About a teaspoon, Cheryl.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    April 6, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Do you think I could use a 9inch round pan? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 6, 2015 at 10:22 am

      Yes, sure, Amanda, just check it carefully as it’s baking.

  • Reply
    Max
    March 29, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    I know this is a crazy question on a cake recipe, two years after you posted it, but do you have any idea what removing the sugar would do to the cake? Ripe bananas are so sweet already, so it’s more the texture than the flavor that I’m concerned about. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 29, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      Gosh, you’ve got me there, Max. I think that’s a baking ‘chemistry’ question, and I don’t know. But now you’ve got me interested and I’m going to research it!

  • Reply
    Bonnie
    October 23, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Just wondering if anyone has tried making this without the egg? (Egg allergy)
    It seems like it could be made without, just not sure.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 24, 2014 at 7:47 am

      You could certainly try it, Bonnie, maybe use just a little more banana to replace it.

      • Reply
        rhobley
        June 4, 2015 at 7:51 pm

        You can use flex seed meal for egg substitute. Look on the bag.

  • Reply
    andy
    January 18, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Hi !
    Wow, this cake look lovely !
    How thick is the cake ? I made this today (using a different recipe) but the cake was only just over an inch thick :-(
    Also, I am in England. Would it be possible for you to include Imperial measurements in your recipes ?
    Thanks :-)

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 18, 2014 at 8:00 am

      Thanks, Andy — this cake is about 2 – 2 1/2 inches, as I remember. I would very much like to include universal measurements in my recipes, at least for the basic ingredients like butter and flour. As for the other things, it would be pretty difficult to convert everything, but I like the idea and I’ll give it some thought!

  • Reply
    Meg
    January 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    This cake was awesome! The only problem is that it’s kind of small! :) I am not a banana fan per se, but this was really addictive. The frosting and the cake were a perfect combo. So much so that I didn’t mind walking around with seeds in my teeth! I had a lot of extra frosting, so I’m making another one today. Your blog is one of the best. I literally want to make everything I see on here. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    January 13, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    My gosh, that looks delicious! I’m rather excited to see my bananas get ripe now :)

  • Reply
    grace
    January 11, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    finally, poppy seeds get to mingle with a fruit other than lemon! :)

  • Reply
    From Beyond My Kitchen Window
    January 11, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Oh boy, what a simple cake. I can almost taste how good this one is. The frosting is what I would love to have a spoonful of.

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    January 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    poppy seed is one of my all time favorite breads- now you go making it beyond extraordinary by adding in banana! i love it- more importantly I love the icing on top! LOL!

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    January 10, 2013 at 2:06 am

    Poppy seed cake is one of my favourites – I usually make it with a lemon icing for bite (Maggie Beer has a great recipe). Must try with the banana and cream cheese – sounds great.

  • Reply
    Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
    January 10, 2013 at 2:02 am

    Aw yeah…this looks amazing. I think I’ve told you before that I’m a sucker for anything studded with poppyseeds – just gorgeous.

  • Reply
    Erica
    January 10, 2013 at 1:16 am

    It looks beautiful!!!! I love banana cakes or breads and this recipe sounds delicious….I always have ripe bananas and always looking for different ways to use them. I am printing this one!Happy New Year!

  • Reply
    shannon weber
    January 9, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    i love unassuming cakes! obviously i trumpet the layer cake quite a bit, but truth be told, simple cakes like this are my most favorite. and i’m changing my status on facebook to “in a relationship” with your vanilla bean frosting. ooohhhhhh…

  • Reply
    Amy @ Elephant Eats
    January 9, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    There’s something about anything with vanilla bean seeds in it that I seriously adore. I never think to put poppy seeds with anything other than lemon desserts, but this totally works! I want some!!!

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    January 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    I have wanted to make that butteryum banana cake forever! It stalks me. Everywhere I go, I see it. And your version with poppyseeds would be a huge hit with my parents, they’re poppy seed lovers! I personally want that frosting :)

    If you could guess what the cake would be like without the poppy seeds, is it everything the butteryum post and comments promise it to be? Like the most amazing banana cake ever? I love really dense cakes, more like cakes-as-breads and super moist. Just curious your thoughts on it!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      January 9, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      That’s so funny, I’ve been haunted by it forever too…why do you think that is? It’s such an unassuming little cake!
      The cake was good for a couple of reasons, one, like I said, there is a lot of banana in it, more than in most breads and cakes, which I liked. Also, it’s super easy to whip up, which is nice. It is dense, and moist, but from the banana, not from butter or oil. I think the amazing part comes from the combo of the cake and the frosting, not the cake itself, if that makes any sense.

    • Reply
      Patricia @ ButterYum
      May 6, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      So nice to know my humble little cake haunts people haunts and stalks people ;). It’s the craziest thing ever – my photo wasn’t even that great but people have gone completely gaga over that cake (it’s even on Foodgawker’s favorite – most gawked page). Love your addition of poppy seeds – I must give that a try. Take care!!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ saving room for dessert
    January 9, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I can’t get the vision of that creamy icing out of my head! So pretty.

  • Reply
    Inside a British Mum's Kitchen
    January 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Oh my goodness it looks sensational – LOVE that creamy looking cream cheese frosting.
    Mary x

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      January 9, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      I was on the fence about whether to make a cream cheese frosting, or just make a vanilla buttercream. I’m glad I went with the cream cheese because it gives a little bit of zip to the cake.

  • Reply
    Mary Younkin
    January 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    once again, why won’t you be my neighbor?! This sounds perfect right now!

  • Reply
    Kate
    January 9, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    I love poppy seeds and there are always bananas around that are ready! Great idea, thanks.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      January 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      It seems like I’m throwing poppy seeds into everything these days, they are so pretty and I keep thinking, why not??

    Leave a Reply

    Share
    Pin
    Tweet
    Stumble
    +1